Al Batt: Just how real is reality?

Published 5:17 pm Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

What are you watching?

It’s a series about a man who decides to never clip his toenails again.

Thank goodness for reality TV.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me. I traveled to where the clouds were on Rocky Mountain roads with runaway truck lanes and stayed at the Rabbit Ears Motel in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. I’d tossed a small toothpaste tube from my dentist into my possibles bag. My wife calls the messenger bag a man purse. In the days of the mountain man, a possibles bag carried everything they needed for the day: black powder, flint and steel, lead balls, a knife and Axe body spray. “Take a coat,” I heard my mother’s words echoing. I crumpled a windbreaker and stuffed it inside my bag. That night, I discovered the toothpaste was for kids and tasted like bubblegum. It was lousy bubblegum. I couldn’t blow a single bubble with it.

I drove a long way home. My car needed gas. I filled up for $3.29 per gallon. Back on the road, the next gas station I encountered was $3.29, the following was $3.24 and the third was $3.14 a gallon. I entered the big convenience store. An employee said, “My name is Frank if you need anything.” I wondered what his name was if I didn’t need anything?

At Mahoney State Park in Nebraska, I climbed the 70-foot-tall Walter Scott Observation Tower, which gave me a bird’s-eye view of the Platte River. In 2017, teetering after surgeries, a lengthy hospital stay and buckets of chemotherapy, I’d climbed that tower. I needed to just because. I reckoned it was 170 steps. They were small steps and tall steps. It was easier to reach the top in 2022.

I visited the TS Jost Ranch in Hayden, Colorado. Terry and Sharon Jost met when they were bankers in Iowa. They moved to Colorado and raise dryland alfalfa. They use big round bales and big square bales (3’X 3’ X 8’); the round bales weigh about 1200 pounds and the square ones 750-800 pounds. Truckers prefer the square bales because they can haul more hay that way. The ranch’s square bales live in a gated community with a tall fence to keep elk from getting a square meal. Elk, deer and pronghorn devour the growing alfalfa after the second cutting. Terry said, “We don’t mind. They were here before us.” The ranch gets two cuttings a year and doesn’t plan on changing. “Every time I’ve changed things, I’ve made them worse,” said Terry.

I’ve learned

There is far more connecting us than separating us.

Never rent a car you can’t get into.

If you have nothing to say, say it on social media.

If a GPS does nothing else, it teaches us some things don’t want to be found.

Bad jokes department

I threw a rock at potatoes I’d placed atop fence posts. I was trying to kill tubers with one stone.

Research finds the major cause of dry skin is a towel.

I don’t know what “apocalypse” means, but that’s not the end of the world.

Canary for sale. It’s not going cheep.

When I was a boy, the three-second rule for eating dropped food was extended to three days for cake.

What has five toes and isn’t your foot? My foot.

In the UK, Miley Cyrus is known as Kilometery Cyrus.

Nature notes

I told stories at the Moonshell Storytelling Festival held at Mahoney State Park near Ashland, Nebraska, and helped travelers from Bellingham, Washington, look at daddy longlegs. The common, harmless, spiderlike harvestman is an omnivore with long, wiggly legs, a simple oval body, and lacks silk (builds no webs), fangs and venom glands, but emits an odd odor when disturbed. Harvestmen aren’t spiders or venomous.

The peak migration for Baltimore orioles is August and the first half of September. The majority reach their winter homes in Mexico, Central America or South America by the end of October.

How can you tell a bee from a wasp? Bees are fuzzy, chubby and cute. Wasps are smooth, skinny and look threatening. Yellowjackets (a wasp) are the ones likely to hover around a picnic. They’re attracted to meat and soft drinks. Honey bees are vegetarians and aren’t drawn to soft drinks. Yellowjackets can be high-strung when searching for sweets and proteins.

Meeting adjourned

“One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words.” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.