Al Batt: Some light reading — with a deer

Published 5:38 pm Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Echoes From the Loafers’ Club Meeting

I see you have a new bearskin rug.

It was me or the bear.

I’m glad it worked out. You’d make a lousy rug.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me. A fellow told me he’d hit a deer with his Honda. It was the third time that car had collided with a deer. The vehicle must think its Civic duty is to cull the herd.

To make sure, I didn’t have an unfriendly encounter with a deer, I sat in my car, planning to read a book until I needed to be somewhere else. It was sunny but cool. A boy shot baskets on a nearby court. His goose pimples were getting suntanned.

He dribbled. Thump, thump, thump or maybe it was whump, whump, whump. I’m never sure which. The hoop had no net. There could be no sweet sound of basketball swishing in nothing but nylon. He shot. The hoop rattled. No basket. Colorful leaves skittered by, powered by a brisk wind. The radio had told me it was 16 mph. He shot again, adjusting for the wind. The hoop rattled again. He was making do with what he had and preparing for the best.

It’s difficult to overlook rotting windows

If you don’t get the weather you like, like the weather you get. But batten down the hatches. Stuff the cracks of the house to prepare for winter. We had bad windows installed in our home. They decayed quickly. A representative of the company came to the house and told us we had too much humidity in the house. He mansplained that the problem was we showered, did laundry and washed dishes. Holy cow! What were we thinking? I was hoping for compensation, but he told me we were entitled to condensation.

Those thrilling days of yesteryear

We had a 5-second rule for dropped food items in our home, but it didn’t matter. We had a 3-second dog.

I was one of the first kids to be picked up by the school bus in the morning. I boarded early because I was an Elite Premium Gold Royalty member. That meant I was privileged to ride longer on a seat that bucked as if in a rodeo.

Customer comments

Beth Knudson of Hartland  shared this bit of wisdom, “You get eyeglasses for yourself and you get hearing aids for others.”

Marian Bahl of Faribault had this to say about her husband, “Hezzy had a phrase to describe some sourpusses: They’re not happy unless they’re sad, and then they’re not pleased!”

I’ve learned

Anyone with a cellphone camera can become an unauthorized biographer.

If I button my shirt incorrectly, people expect less of me.

Nature notes

According to the U.S Fish & Wildlife Service, an adult American white pelican consumes 20-40% of its body weight daily, which with an average weight of 15 pounds, means 3-6 pounds of fish per day. Approximately 150 pounds of food is needed to feed one chick from hatching to fledging.

An insect landed on my shirt on a sunny fall day. It resembled a large mosquito but it doesn’t bite humans. It was a crane fly with a 1.5-inch long body and a 3-inch wingspread. In colloquial speech, crane flies are sometimes called mosquito hawks or daddy longlegs. To me, mosquito hawks are dragonflies and daddy longlegs are the arachnids called harvestmen, which aren’t spiders. They don’t produce silk and aren’t venomous. I’ve found daddy longlegs with fewer than eight legs because they’ll shed legs grasped by predators and cannot regrow them.

A researcher at Auburn University wondered what squirrels are talking about and learned the most common sounds squirrels make are danger warnings. The kuk is a sharp bark of alarm, usually issued in a series and intended for other squirrels and predators. The study showed that when a squirrel starts kukking, a cat gives up, knowing it had lost the element of surprise.

The quaa sounds a bit like a cat screeching and is issued after the threat level has dropped. A quaa moan sounds like a chirp followed by a meow. It’s ventriloquial, making it difficult to determine the location of the sound. It’s given in hopes the predator had left but suggests continued caution. Muk-muk resembles a stifled sneeze or buzz-like phfft, phfft. Nesting squirrels use it when hungry and males make it during mating chases.

Meeting adjourned

“As freely as the firmament embraces the world, or the sun pours forth impartially his beams, so mercy must encircle both friend and foe.”— Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller.