Al Batt: A bad case of the Mondays

Published 5:46 pm Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

I have a bad case of the Mondays.   

It’s Wednesday.

Then I have a bad case of the Wednesdays.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me. November had been kind weather-wise. I accomplished significant yard chores. All the equipment has been housed. This winter, no one will be saying to me, “Your snowman looks like a lawnmower.”

A proverb says if December be changeable and mild, the whole winter will remain a child.

I was in a  clinic getting poked when I heard a nurse tell another, “Don’t dillydally.” Dillydally is a great word meaning lollygag, loiter or dawdle. She was no fuddy-duddy, one who is old-fashioned. Another nurse told me that she dislikes gravy. I wonder what she puts on her breakfast cereal? On the way home from the clinic, my wife asked me what the markers far out in the lake were for. I didn’t know, but I’m a guy and had to pretend I knew. I didn’t dillydally and replied immediately, “They indicate the wet spots.”

I spotted a driveway sign reading, “For Sale by Owner EGGS.” Was a hen having a sale?

Who are those people?

The population of the township I live in has lost people every year for 25 years until last year. The population mysteriously rose from 219 in 2019 to 253 in 2020 according to the State Demographer who  found some of the people we’d misplaced.

I grew up with poor cellphone reception

A youngster told me she’d had her phone taken away in school. I reckon she’d been twiddling her cellphone thumbs when she should have been paying attention to her teacher. She wasn’t a relative, so she asked if that had ever happened to me. When I was a kid and TV had to warm up before I could watch it, I must have had a terrible internet connection, because the hub of the house was a phone the size of a VW Beetle. It had a long cord capable of tangling people walking by. I told her that one day when my 4th-grade teacher was teaching at only a 3rd-grade level, she came to my house and ripped the rotary dial phone from our living room wall. The girl didn’t believe me. I didn’t either.

Swede dreams are made of this

Grandma came from Sweden to this country as a teenager. Sweden is famous for ABBA, IKEA, SAAB and some other four-letter words. The late author Stieg Larsson remains popular. I think of lingonberry jam, Swedish meatballs and Swedish rice pudding. Instead of crossing their fingers, Swedes might fold the fingers of each hand over the thumb to hope for good luck. It’s called, “hold your thumbs.” Idioms don’t always translate well, but here are some rough renderings of Swedish sayings. There’s no cow on the ice (don’t worry). Make a hen out of a feather (turning nothing into a problem). Jumping into a crazy barrel (doing something irrational). Lagom is a word I enjoy and one without a direct translation into English, but it’s close to “just enough.” May your day be that.

Bad joke department

“Do you know what’s odd?” Every other number.

Jokes about paper are tearable.

“What word is always spelled wrong?” Wrong.

You don’t have to ask anyone if they got a good deal on Black Friday. They will tell you.

Customer comments

Leon Schoenrock of New Richland told me his kinfolk had rented a conference room at a Holiday Inn for a family reunion. A man from Wisconsin named Schoenrock, in town for another reason, paid a visit. Leon asked him if he was stubborn and tight with his money. When the man replied he was, Leon said, “You are one of us.” He probably spoke for many other last names.

Nature notes

I heard great horned owls softly hooting in the night as part of their courtship. The most common owl in Minnesota calls, “Who’s awake? Me too,” before nesting begins in January or February. I watched and listened to outraged birds. Chickadees, nuthatches, jays and a downy woodpecker flushed a Cooper’s hawk from a tree. The nuthatch took a break from the dispute to grab a peanut from a feeder. It was a white-breasted peanuthatch. Four uncharacteristically quiet crows sat out the vocal mobbing, concentrating instead on chasing the flying raptor as it retreated from the yard. A  gang of house sparrows perched in arborvitae stayed out of it. Life isn’t perfect but I saw birds. Sometimes that’s enough.

Meeting adjourned

“We take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.” Cynthia Ozick.