Al Batt: It’s okay to smile for no reason

Published 6:05 pm Tuesday, August 30, 2022

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Echoes of the Loafers’ Club Meeting

I have tendonitis.

I have tinnitus, too.

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No, I have tendonitis.


Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me. I was at the gas station when a garbage truck pulled in. Those fellows do good work and stand behind it. Satisfaction guaranteed or my garbage back. I filled my car with gas and cleaned the windows and headlights with a squeegee, the poor man’s car wash. I wrote this column in my mind as I squeegeed and I’m sending it telepathically. If you smile for no reason, it might have been me. Or gas.

Neighbors now and then

I’ve lived most of my life in an area where rush hour occurs during the harvest season. The neighborhood had an 80th birthday celebration for Bruce Armstrong, who is the Bruce mentioned weekly in this column. That was right neighborly. It was a jollification, but I told Bruce I needed to go home  before he got any older. Minnesota goodbyes take forever. I can spend an hour with your hand on the doorknob telling others I have to go. I wish Bruce another 80.

A good neighbor came over to cut up a fallen tree for firewood to heat his home when winter brings a shudder. The winds had been unkind to the tree, if winds can be unkind. I used a wood stove for years until it burned. I should have had a cast iron stove.

A good neighbor ran over one of his wife’s hens. It might have been one that laid blue eggs, which are like golden eggs except not worth as much. It was an accident. The hen hadn’t used the chicken crosswalk and it didn’t look both ways before crossing. I look both ways before crossing my living room. My neighbor didn’t tell his wife. He wasn’t trying to keep a secret. He didn’t have to tell her. She saw him carrying the dead fowl. There hadn’t been time to find a shovel and bury it before anyone missed the chicken, but my neighbor would never do such a thing. He’s no Tony Soprano.

A good neighbor hated to pay taxes. His dime was never your dime. His nephew thought he was cheap, so my neighbor left him a skunk in his will because he didn’t want to leave his nephew  without a scent.

I’ve learned

If I had a dime for every time I’m confused, I’d wonder where all those dimes came from.

I’m infernally grapefruit for autocorrect.

The Institute of Unfinished Research found 6 of 10 people.

To be frank, I’d have to change my name.

Much obliged

My thanks to Brandon Irwin of Jensales for Creating and wearing the “Al Batt Fan Club, Manchester Chapter” T-shirt.

Nature notes

In the movie “Field of Dreams,” Iowa farmer Ray (Kevin Costner) hears a mysterious voice in his cornfield saying, “If you build it, he will come.” Ray built a baseball diamond on his land. The ghosts of great players came from the field to play ball, led by Shoeless Joe Jackson. The Henderson Hummingbird Hurrah started in the late Dolores Hagen’s backyard in 2008. She had a beautiful garden and loved hummingbirds. Her yard was a buffet for hummingbirds. Flowers and feeders rang like dinner bells. Build it and they will come. The HHH outgrew her yard. The annual August event features hummingbird banding, garden tours, educational displays and windbags like me. Not one hummingbird wore shoes.

A gull patrolled a parking lot, hoping to find a crop of french fries growing there.

I walked the trail and then sat on a memorial bench. I’m drawn to those seats. I listened and looked, and heard killdeer, sometimes called the chattering plovers or noisy plovers. The collective noun for killdeer is “season.” I saw a bald eagle nest, constructed without the use of duct tape. Bald eagle nests are huge. They look like upside-down Volkswagen Beetles in a tree. I’ve never seen an upside-down VW Beetle in a tree, but I imagine it resembling an eagle nest. I saw a Falcon in a tree once. The nest is vast, but has little closet space. An eagle is an A-list guest. I suspect there is someone who keeps feeders filled with fish sticks in the hopes one might visit.

The Royal Guild of the Stable Fly Appreciation Club met. Only spiders were in attendance. There are two species of spiders in Minnesota—inside and outside. Truthfully, there are 406 species confirmed in the state.

Meeting adjourned

Be kind and kinder.