Al Batt: Authorized to open doors

Published 5:40 pm Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

I’m headed to the courthouse to have my name officially changed to “Authorized Personnel.”

Why would you do that?

Because it will open a lot of doors for me.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me. A friend gave me one of her french fries because I said I’d heard they were good at the eatery in which we were dining. I wasn’t just saying that to get a free fry. I’d heard that. The french fry was good. Now if anyone asks me how the french fries are at that restaurant, I can truthfully say, the fry was good.

Ice cream headaches

I am susceptible to brain freeze or ice cream headaches, also known as cold stimulus headaches. The odd thing about my ice cream headaches is I typically get them while eating ice cream. Go figure. I got them as a boy and made my ice cream headache face. It was one of those faces that didn’t freeze that way. I didn’t have an ice cream headache as I sat outside enjoying a butter pecan cone on a sunny day. I was napkinless, but got the  sweet treat down without dripping more than a few drops of ice cream. The melted ice cream had barely touched the ground before ants appeared on the scene as if by magic. Ice cream ants. I wondered if ice cream ants get ice cream headaches.

Dodging hailstones

I taught writing classes a long way from home and parked in the staff parking lot. I saw someone pull into the lot and settle into a parking space far from other cars. He had a snazzy car, probably new, and he didn’t want to get a door ding or a scratch on his prized possession. He parked so far from a classroom that he had to call an Uber to get him to the door. Golf ball-sized hailstones pounded my car. My poor vehicle had established a familiarity with being hit after spending too much time in treacherous parking ramps. The guy who parked his car in a different area code? His car was battered and his back windshield was knocked out. He should have parked in Hawaii.

I’ve learned

“Easily” is a word that is easier said than done.

Everybody never says what nobody said.

There’s nothing to gain by starting old age at a young age.

Most people will try anything as long as it’s a free sample at a supermarket.

Nature notes

Bob Idso of St. Peter wrote about having many Baltimore orioles that have now disappeared. He wondered where they went and if they’ll come back to his jelly feeders. When the orioles first arrive in the spring after a long migration, they’re eager to refuel and readily take advantage of food offered at feeders. Many of those have moved on to breeding territories elsewhere. For your local birds in June, their nutritional needs change and they eat more insects for the protein. This means they’re foraging for food, building nests, incubating eggs and feeding young instead of visiting feeders. You’ll still get them, but less frequently. By July, the parents bring their fledglings to the feeders.

“How do I know if a young rabbit needs help?” If the rabbit is fully furred, its eyes are open, it has no visible injuries and is larger than a baseball, it doesn’t need rescuing.

“Why are young robins on the ground before they can fly?” Robins leave the nest before they can fly. This flightless  time is normal and a vital part of the young birds’ development. Fledglings walk, hop, and flap well enough to attempt short flights. They tend to stay close to shrubbery, where they find security.

Around June 1, give or take a few days, I hear honking (goose music) and see a loose V-formation of Canada geese flying overhead in a molt migration. All birds, geese included, shed feathers and replace them at least once each year. Geese become flightless for 4-5 weeks. The molt is timed to occur on the breeding grounds when adult birds are tending goslings. Geese not old enough to breed (they mate at 2-3 years of age), those that lost nests early in the season and those who had their goslings adopted by more experienced or aggressive geese, undertake a molt migration. Individuals may move hundreds of miles to waters where they feel safe while flightless. In September and October, many of these geese return from this seasonal journey.

Meeting adjourned

Wave the flag of human kindness—a smile.