Al Batt: What station is Abe Lincoln on?

Published 5:44 pm Tuesday, March 22, 2022

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Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

This radio is priceless. It’s the one Abe Lincoln listened to when he was a boy living in a cabin.   

The radio hadn’t even been invented then.

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That’s what makes it so valuable.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Deep thoughts occur as I drive past his drive. Wisps of winter remained on a foggy, late winter day. They were strips of white stuff gone into hiding—the bones of winter were on their way out. Fog eats snow. Gas stations that have gone out of business should take down their old signs showing low gas prices. They’re wearing out my brakes.

I waited for an oil change to be completed and visited with a woman who told me she had 11 children. “No twins,” she added. I’d been named poet laureate of the NE 1/4 of Section 11 in the township. Quite an honor with a gaudy title. I’ll have to write a poem. I wore that crown when I replied smartly to the mother of 11, “There you go.”

The old was new again

We were at Cabela’s. My wife decided I needed a pair of pants so I wouldn’t resemble the man I am. She picked out several likely suspects and I shuffled to the fitting room. The old guy in there startled me until I realized he was my reflection in a mirror. I tried on the first pair. I figured it was good practice for an all-day clinic visit coming up. It’s one of those visits where I get undressed, put on a gown, be examined extensively, get dressed—repeat as necessary. The first pair was too long. I took them off, put on the pants I’d worn into the store and walked out. My wife said, “Oh, I like those. They fit nicely.” I divulged the secret identity of those trousers and had  to buy two new pairs.

Those thrilling days of yesteryear

I was cranky. Teenage angst, I suppose. Mother gave me a piece of pie with homemade whipped cream. My surliness evaporated. Mother asked if I wanted to go to town. She’d baked a pie and I felt an obligation to accompany her to experience all the delights of a town of 300. Scratch that. Some of the delights. “Ask your father if he wants to go.” I did. He agreed to venture forth into that metropolitan area. We all got cleaned up. My father put on his best overalls and his go-to-town cap. Dad drove because he was the chief driver. When we got to town, we discovered none of us had any need to be there. We created things to do—a quick stop at the grocery store and a light visit to the cafe. None of us had wanted to go to town. We went because we thought someone else wanted to. Everyone was just being nice. And there was nothing wrong with that.

The eyes of Texas were upon me

I polished my boots and belt buckle before heading to the land of big football and big BBQ. Texas has 10,539 miles of railroad track–more than any other state. I rode on a few of them and thought of bad jokes.

Why don’t I ever see an elephant in a tree? It’s because elephants are good at hiding.

Knock-knock. Who’s there? Dishes. Dishes who? Dishes Sean Connery.

Gas prices have become high enough our rural mail carrier is working from home. She reads my bills and newspapers to me over the phone.

The toilet paper shortage was never our number one problem.

What smells the most in a garbage can? The nose.

Nature notes

It was a lovely dawn. The yard was awash with migrants. I searched for primavera (spring). I found grackles. Lord Byron wrote, “There is a pleasure in the pathless woods, there is a rapture on the lonely shore.” And joy through the glass. I stared out windows with hawklike attention. That suits me. I see the comings and goings. I heard them, too. Handsome red-winged blackbird males sang, “Look at me.” I looked. Juncos made ray gun sounds. Both species gave voice to spring. It’s their thing.

I’ve seen the 12 species of owls found in Minnesota: barn owl, barred owl, boreal owl, burrowing owl, eastern screech owl, great gray owl, great horned owl, long-eared owl, northern hawk owl, northern saw-whet owl, short-eared owl and snowy owl.

Please listen to my podcast about nature at

Meeting adjourned

Be kind. As Rob Schneider is fond of saying in movies, “You can do it.”