Al Batt: This book seems familiar

Published 5:56 pm Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

I’ll be right back with your beef dinner special.

Could I have extra mashed potatoes?

I’m sorry, but the potatoes are as mashed as they get.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me. Karen Bergner of Mankato asked if all the road construction was cramping my style. I’m not sure if I’ve ever had any style, but I have had cramps. So, maybe it is.

Books have a great ROI (return on investment) and are splendid company. Sunlight is a disinfectant and books are sunlight. I read a few chapters before going to bed each night. My neighbor likes to fall asleep while reading. He’s been reading the same book for nine years.

Bath has a checkered past

Back when I had to walk 2 miles uphill to the refrigerator, I thought of Bath as a place where ancient ships would have fallen off the edge of the Earth had there been enough water to float a ship. It offered life on a grand scale. The village had a population of 2 before it closed and collapsed into the fold of a map. Old guys smoked miles of cigarettes while playing checkers at the Bath Store. Sometimes they let me play. On a better-than-average but rare day, they let me win. The old guys believed in throwing the first wisecrack. A geezer could gang up on me all by himself. Some talked as if they were on a long-distance phone call. People talked loud when on long-distance phone calls and when their hearing was diminished. On a day like today, the smell of cut hay was ubiquitous and there were always a couple of dogs hanging around Bath. One wowed when the other one bowed. I beat them both at checkers. If you’ve heard otherwise, it’s because the dogs lied about it.

The canine chronicles

At another time, I traveled around one day a week taking photos and peering at birds. No birds were harmed in the process. My faithful Chihuahua companion Sancho accompanied me. He got his name because of the book I was reading when I brought the puppy home in my coat pocket. Sancho Panza was Don Quixote’s squire in the novel “Don Quixote” by Miguel de Cervantes. Don Quixote represented illusion and Sancho Panza represented reality. The canine Sancho was a good friend. A good listener to my quixotic ideas. Such undertakings built a thirst and I’d swing into the drive-through of a fast-food restaurant to get a cup of iced tea. This was Sancho’s favorite part of birding and photography. He perked up when he saw the person at the restaurant’s window and turned on the charm. “Oh, your dog is so cute. Would it be OK if I gave him a bit of hamburger?” said the worker.

It was OK with Sancho.

I’ve learned

The easiest way to be thought smart is to listen to others.

Only fools are certain. I’m certain about that.

If all the miraculous golf clubs worked, everyone would be good at golf.

Right this minute, most long-married couples are yelling “What?” from separate rooms.

Mistakes are made to be made.

The bad joke department

Did you hear about the man who evaporated? He’ll be mist.

I’ve invented a thought control air freshener. It makes scents when I think about it.

Al Pacino will star in “Scarface 2,” a movie about the world knitting championships.

Nature notes

Cardinals commonly raise two broods in the north. When the first brood fledges, the father takes care of the fledglings as the mother builds a second nest, and lays and incubates eggs.

Dragonflies don’t eat as many mosquitoes as I wish they did because adult dragonflies and mosquitoes can keep different hours, but the carnivorous dragonfly nymphs devour mosquito larvae.

When the Spanish first encountered hummingbirds, they called them resurrection birds—believing anything that shining must die each night and be reborn the next morning. Spanish missionaries used hummingbirds to explain the resurrection. Male Anna’s hummingbirds dive at speeds of 385 body lengths per second according to a study in the U.K. journal “Proceedings of the Royal Society B.” Mayan legend said the first two hummingbirds were created from small feather scraps left over from the construction of other birds. Hummingbirds are attracted to the color red. That includes parked cars, lipstick and hats.

Meeting adjourned

“Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain. It’s not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.” — Muhammad Ali.