Al Batt: Predicting yesterday’s weather

Published 4:31 pm Tuesday, December 14, 2021

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Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

I’m a crack meteorologist. I’m 100% correct in my weather predictions.

How is that possible?

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I predict yesterday’s weather.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me. I took a lovely photo of an angry mouse. I’ll be sending cross-mouse cards to everyone on my list. I stopped to visit a friend. He’d been watching an old cowboy movie. He muted the sound, but we couldn’t help but watch the screen as it featured an epic barroom brawl. Cowboys were pistol-whipped or hit over their heads with chairs or whiskey bottles. The floor was littered with knocked-out combatants. Despite being unconscious, the cowboys managed to keep their hats on. Concussion symptoms must have run rampant in the Wild West.

Serendipitous encounter

I encountered him in a grocery store aisle. We exchanged friendly noise. He was perusing “heat and eat” products. His wife had been a wonderful cook, but he wasn’t. As a widower, he wanted something simple and fast, yet needed to check the labels to keep his doctor happy. Another storm of the century had been predicted and we shared weather proverbs we’d grown up with. He added he had to put his left shoe to the left of his right shoe in the closet, just as if he were wearing them. Otherwise, his knees ached. We all have our superstitions. No one can change our minds. It’s impossible to argue about things devoid of logic.

Migrate or hunker down?

Snowbirds desert Minnesota and head south; the big question being whether they’d leave before or after Christmas. They settle in warm places where summer visits had taught them not to stand in the sun if they could sit in the shade.

During my salad days, I drove rust buckets. Each would have been a splendid car for a boy without a car. My cars were old and the tires were even older. Lacking money and common sense, but still wanting to drive, I traveled on bald tires. I don’t recommend that. Now I pretend I’m driving on those bald tires when inclement weather catches me on the road. It slows me and causes me to drive cautiously.

Christmas in the rearview mirror

The Christmas table, made up of tables cobbled together, ended at a card table with spindly, folding legs. That was the kids’ table and the one farthest from the kitchen. Out of sight, out of mind. One day, it occurred to me I was the table elder and surrounded by knuckleheaded kin. I wanted to move up the pecking order. I knew someone had to disappear for that to happen, but there were shameful moments when I thought it’d be worth it. One Christmas, one of my tribe proclaimed he was sick to death of cold creamed peas and kicked a spindly, folding leg of the card table. The leg did its job and folded, allowing the creamed peas to tumble onto my lap. I hope you have a great Christmas without a lap filled with creamed peas.

Blessed memories

We shared a love of cows, people and nature. He could be quiet. When I first met him, I figured it was because his wife handled the talking. I was wrong. He knew how to listen.

Ask Al

“I’m planning on visiting Minnesota. Any advice?” Bring a change of underwear.

“What’s the most unbiased TV channel?” The one showing nothing but a burning fireplace.

“Why can’t we hear dog whistles?” It’s because dogs can’t whistle.

“What should I do when I fall off a horse?” Ask for your quarter back.

“I’ve heard Minnesota has too many mosquitoes. How many is that?” One.

Nature notes

Feeder birds are nature’s barometers and provide warnings of upcoming weather nastiness. Busy feeders equal blustery weather.

American goldfinches are present year-round in Minnesota. A molt gives them drab plumage, which allows them to hide in plain sight. Irregular in migration, more remain here in winters with good food supplies. Many of the goldfinches here in the winter are nomadic youngsters, which hatched months earlier. Goldfinches at our feeders could be locals or from Canada. Females winter farther south than males and young males farther north than older ones. Banding shows wintering site fidelity is low. Adult goldfinches are short-distance migrants, wintering as far south as the southern US and northern Mexico.

I walked among the evergreens. White pine (W-H-I-T-E) has five needles per bundle, while Norway (red) pine has two needles (Nor-way).

Meeting adjourned

“Kindness is like snow. It beautifies everything it covers.”—Kahlil Gibran.

Merry Christmas.