Al Batt: Deep thoughts on Cerberus

Published 6:05 pm Tuesday, March 1, 2022

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Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

My father is looking down on us today.

I didn’t know your father had died.

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He didn’t. He’s just very condescending.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Deep thoughts occur as I drive past his drive. Cerberus, a three-headed dog in Greek mythology, guarded the entrance to Hades. Winter weather threw three heads at us—wind, cold and snow. A day of snow and tell. A perfect storm is never a perfect storm. The good thing was, when it snows in February, it’s no one’s fault. I knuckled the eye butter and sands of the night from my peepers and scraped my memory. A fellow in the hotel parking lot scraped a windshield with his fingernails. He had no gloves, I supposed. I needed to get going, but I feared he’d go after the task six ways to Sunday and resort to gnawing the ice with his teeth. I offered him the use of my long-handled scraper. I became his best friend.

My drive home was like being in the Olympics. There was no chance of me getting a medal.

The Eat Around It Cafe

“Whatever” would make a great name for a restaurant if it’s not already the name of a restaurant. What couple hasn’t had a conversation including the following collection of words? Where do you want to eat? I don’t care. Pick a place. Whatever.

There are worse things

I needed to get my driver’s license renewed. I showered but didn’t get all spiffed up. I figured no one will ever look at my license and say, “What were you wearing?” I heard a man at an airport, asked by a customs agent if he had anything to declare, say, “I hate my passport photo.” I like my driver’s license photo. Why not? Despite the dire warnings over those intending to be helpful, my wait time wasn’t bad. I had to wait nearly a minute before a pleasant and efficient fellow started the process and I walked out with a temporary license. We don’t enjoy waiting to do things we aren’t excited about doing, especially when we don’t have those great magazines to read while we’re waiting. “Great” is a code word meaning “ancient.” We’re all busy, but waiting isn’t one of the seven deadly sins. Waiting is like the nasty-tasting medicines coming from brown bottles. Many a youngster was told that if it’s hard to swallow, it must be good for you.

I’ve learned

Nobody rides an elevator to listen to the music.

If fans are any guides, the best place to referee a basketball game is while seated in the stands.

If you move to or visit a place because of its slower pace, don’t become frustrated by its slower pace.

Nature notes

I heard little about March coming in like a lion and going out like a lamb or vice versa. Maybe it came in like a cardinal? There were four cardinals in a hawthorn tree in my yard. I’m still celebrating. I’ve seen more than that in a tree before, but never at my place.

I saw robins. The vast majority of robins move south in the winter. However, some stick around—and move around. Fruit is the robin’s winter food source. As the ground thaws in the spring, they switch to earthworms and insects. Robins may arrive when the average daily temperature isotherms reach 37 degrees because food becomes available, not because they need warm temperatures. They might not be a true harbinger of spring, because some winter here.

I spotted a muskrat doing a walkabout. Perhaps it had run out of food and was forced to venture from its home. Muskrats aren’t rats and are much smaller than beavers.

A sign of spring is the sight of a killdeer. Killdeer are shorebirds that don’t need a  beach and call out their names. Another sign is the return of red-winged blackbirds. The males sing “Look-at-meee” from a prominent perch. Their songs remind me of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Homeward Bound,” “Home where my thought’s escaping. Home where my music’s playing. Home where my love lies waiting, silently for me.” The females aren’t waiting for them. They generally return later than the males.

Meeting adjourned

Mr. Rogers said, “When Henry James’s nephew was about to go off to school for the first time, he came to his uncle and asked, ‘Do you have any advice for me?’ Henry James answered, ‘I have three pieces of advice. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. The third is to be kind.’”