Al Batt: Celebrating today and the past

Published 6:18 pm Tuesday, June 7, 2022

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Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

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It’s 2:30.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me. I was brought out of my sleep by the sound of birds bragging about being awake.

Earlier in the night, I’d been blown awake by the wind and was happy not to have been blown away by the wind. It’s windy enough that I don’t go anywhere without rocks in my pockets. It’s as the joke says, “It was so windy, a hen laid the same egg twice.”

I celebrated the present by remembering the past on a day with neurotic weather. I visited the gravesites of friends and family. As I said a prayer at my parents’ graves, I was reminded of Emily Dickinson, who said, “Home is so far from home.”

Garrison Keillor wrote, “The living wander away, we don’t hear from them for months, years — but the dead move in with us to stay.”

The road is going through a rough patch

I felt as if I were driving a carbuncle. A carbuncle is a boil and I don’t know how it feels  to drive one, but I think it felt as it would feel if I were driving a boil on our broken road, where if there is any going at all, it’s slow-going. The road is in the middle of major surgery and it will be a great road one day, but for now, it’s mashed potatoes with lumps in them. I watched a pickup truck pulling one of those tiny campers that are a suitcase with a bed. It bounced down the road in all directions.

From my employee file

I worked at Birds Eye, helping run the  refrigeration equipment. Cool Whip was produced in that plant. For those of you who are wondering, Cool Whip is not on the periodic table of elements. The first time I tasted it, I didn’t like it. I was used to homemade whipped cream. Now Cool Whip is for people like me. As I wandered through the plant on my way from my workplace to the lunchroom, there was a woman who sat on a chair as Cool Whip containers shot by via a conveyor system. Her job was to make sure that the paper product inserts with recipes on the backs were properly and firmly positioned in every lid. I heard another employee bemoaning the fact she didn’t have a job with a chair. Her goal was to one day, snag a job with a chair. I smiled at my good luck. My position came with a chair with wheels.

My father was like a father to me

“You look like your father,” said a couple of friends. I didn’t always, but I’ve changed. Time does that to a fellow. I couldn’t help it. I loved my father and I liked my father, but once thought that becoming him was a terrifying thing. That’s no longer the case. He was a good man. How good was he? I used to hold the flashlight for him while he struggled to work on a  malfunctioning contraption in the darkness. Sometimes the flashlight malfunctioned and I frequently pointed the light to the wrong spot, but I came out of that experience with my nerves intact and without learning any new words. Happy Father’s Day, Dad, I held a flashlight in your memory.

I’ve learned

Grandfathers are fathers with fewer rules.

Mosquito repellent wears off before the mosquitoes wear out.

If you want to save money, don’t buy any new electronics until you figure out how to use the ones you own.

Nature notes

“What’s the difference between midges and mayflies?” Midges are smaller than mayflies and emerge when the surface water temperature is around 60° and live 5-10 days. Mayflies have larger wings, a pronounced tail and emerge when surface water temps are around 70° and have a lifespan of about a day. Midges remind people of mosquitoes.

“How can I tell a house finch from a purple finch?” Both females are brown and white, but female purple finches have whitish eyebrows. The male house finch is a reddish-orange and the male purple finch is a reddish-purple, looking as if it had been dipped in raspberry juice. The male house finch is a brown bird with red or orange mixed in and the male purple finch is a purple bird with brown mixed in.

Meeting adjourned

“The ideals which have lighted my way, and time after time have given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Kindness, Beauty, and Truth.”—Albert Einstein.