Al Batt: Percolating some magic

Published 5:59 pm Tuesday, February 22, 2022

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Echoes From the Loafers’ Club Meeting

I’m reading a book on how to do magic tricks. I could make this coffee pot disappear.

I’d like to see you do that.

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OK, close your eyes. Abracadabra! Amscray!

It’s still there.

I said, “Close your eyes.”

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Deep thoughts occur as I drive past his drive. February can be a bumpy road, but the interiors of automobiles warm when parked in the sunlight. That’s great. We had a lot of great things when I was a boy, but we didn’t know it. Pretty good was our great. It’s pretty good to see the red veins of spring, especially on south-facing slopes where the red colors of shrubs brighten and become more vibrant at this time of the year. Deer find the twigs of the red-osier dogwood fine eating. The plants (also known as red-twig dogwood or redbrush) are eye-catching. The yellow/gold outer branches of weeping willows are enhanced chromatically. Both species want to be the first pickle out of the jar.

There are no clouds in real mashed potatoes

When I was a mere child, seeing a stoplight was exciting. My hometown didn’t have one then. It doesn’t have one now. Landmarks have disappeared with time and tornadoes. There are places that look as if they should have a tree because they once had a tree. I miss the pre-GPS days when I could say things like, “And if you get to the hardware store, you’ve turned the wrong way.”

I used to do a TV show, occasionally from the wonderful Village Inn. Viewers asked about the sign “Real mashed potatoes” on that eatery’s wall. Those real mashed potatoes, made from real potatoes instead of fake potatoes, satisfied many appetites. They were powerful good and not the least bit lumpish. I wished I was an opossum so I could sink 50 teeth in the mashed taters.

Clouds come and clouds go. We are lucky when we find something that makes us happy. The Village Inn’s real mashed potatoes did that for me.

A woman used to visit me regularly. I liked her. I pretty much like everyone, but hasten to add, I haven’t met everyone. She was a good woman, but she had her ways. We all have our ways. That’s why we hear things like “That’s just Al being Al.” I was fortunate enough to have graduated with one of her daughters. I won’t flatter myself into thinking the woman  stopped by to see me. She visited because I let her use my copy machine. It’s good for a man to know his place. I leaned in and listened when she talked about her friend she loved. I loved her friend, too. Her friend was my mother-in-law. We are lucky when we find people who make us happy.

I’ve learned

The best tip for driving in bad weather is don’t.

If you ask a genie from a toaster for three wishes, you’ll get toast.

Don’t let your kids make fun of your limited digital skills. You’re the one who taught them how to use silverware.

If I get up earlier, I can take a longer nap.

Nature notes

The Old Farmer’s Almanac said winter’s back breaks around the middle of February. I hope winter wasn’t listening. The calendar hurries through everything and as a South African might say, “Ja well no fine,” used to indicate reluctant acceptance.

I have window feeders that are great for birds and for folks prone to stir-craziness. They adhere to the window via suction cups. The window needs to be clean and it helps the suction if the glass is warm. Spread vegetable oil lightly on the suction cup rims to enhance adherence. I have a heated birdbath, a recycled dog food dish. Birds can use snow and ice as a source of water, but it expends precious energy to convert it into water. Heated birdbaths don’t create warm water, but keep it from freezing. If you don’t have a heated birdbath, you could offer fresh water in the early morning and right before dark. Those are popular times when birds want water.

A ring-necked pheasant rooster found something to crow about. Roosters crow throughout the year. I understand that. I’ve had many gigs canceled by COVID, but I’ve been fortunate to speak virtually at birding celebrations in Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Alaska, Iowa, Minnesota, New Jersey, Wisconsin, South Dakota, etc. recently. Those were important because roosters need to crow.

Meeting adjourned

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of it for anyone else.”— Charles Dickens.