Al Batt: Yabba dabba soundtrack

Published 5:56 pm Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

Have you ever had the theme song from “The Flintstones,” “Gilligan’s Island” or “The Beverly Hillbillies” stuck in your brain?

No.

Well, you do now.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me. I needed footwear. Now I have lightweight Hey Dude shoes. I got them to emulate my 13-year-old grandson. He’s on the school council and he’s cool. I want to be cool, too.

A guy I used to know gave me a pen for my trip to Israel. I’d misplaced the writing instrument until finding it outside this spring. I’d probably dropped it in the snow while filling bird feeders. I was happy to find the faithful pen. It was better reuniting with that old pen than obtaining a new one. I try to be happy with what I have and want less. That doesn’t apply to wanting cool shoes.

A sweet potato moon

I enjoyed sweet potato pie while thinking of the time I’d parked my carcass in a Tennessee cafe. On the next stool, a man, who might have had nose hair extensions, was lubing his burger with mayo, ketchup and mustard. Other diners had cellphones at the ready after ordering photogenic foods. I was in Memphis and determined to enjoy a southern tradition—an RC Cola and a MoonPie. I had it without the RC Cola. I’m not much for soft drinks. The MoonPie was created in 1917 as marshmallow sandwiched between round graham cracker cookies and dipped in chocolate frosting. The story goes that Kentucky coal miners wanted a filling snack and expressed their wishes to a salesman from a bakery. One miner held his hands to the sky and framed the moon to indicate how big the snack should be. That size proved problematic. The Chattanooga (Tennessee) Bakery produced a smaller version and the MoonPie became an icon of the working class. It was found in the lunch pails of miners and is a customary item thrown during Mardi Gras. In Mobile, Alabama, you could ring in the New Year by watching a 600-pound electronic MoonPie drop. There is an annual RC Cola-MoonPie Festival in Bell Buckle, Tennessee. Stories vary as to the origin of the name. It came from a bell and buckle tied around a tree close to a free-flowing creek or natives carved a bell and buckle into a tree to discourage settlers or the bell and buckle symbol was used by surveyors to signify the usefulness of the land for pasture. RC Cola began in Columbus, Georgia, and was endorsed by Bing Crosby, Lucille Ball, Shirley Temple, Ronald Reagan, Claudette Colbert, Loretta Young and Joan Crawford. Big Bill Lister, who toured with Hank Williams and was billed as “Radio’s Tallest Singing Cowboy”—standing 6 foot 7 inches tall without his cowboy boots and hat—sang “Gimme an RC Cola and a MoonPie and play ‘Maple on the Hill’” Tracy Byrd sang, “Our champagne and caviar is an RC Cola and a MoonPie.” I had my vanilla-coated MoonPie with a glass of water. It was good.

Nature notes

I seek magic. A yard-filling flock of red-winged blackbirds blackening the ground was magical. My world needed to hear their song. It’s spring singing. Researchers from California Polytechnic State University analyzed how the natural sounds people hear when outdoors affect well-being. They found a chorus of birdsong increased welfare. I tried to determine by use of my Hartland Grade School arithmetic how many blackbirds there were and reckoned there were at least 14, but that might have been low. I’d estimate it was hundreds. A much smaller flock of rusty blackbirds blew in with a storm. I’m always happy to see them. I yelled, “Pour another cup of water into the soup, we have company.” Brown-headed cowbirds joined the commotion on the ground below the feeders. A female cowbird was taking a break in a lilac when two male house sparrows attacked her. She fought back and the battle was prolonged. Had her parasitizing reputation preceded her? Was it over a prime perching position? Or was it merely orneriness? Interesting behavior no matter the cause.

A male and female cardinal kissed on a lilac branch. He offered her a sunflower seed and their bills touched in what I found a heartwarming moment. It’s known as mate feeding and is a sign of courtship.

Crows walked bandy-legged over the lawn, searching winter’s detritus for food.

My nature blog is at https://www.albatt.com/blogs

Meeting adjourned

Share what we love, not what we hate. Be kind.