Al Batt: Solving the mystery before us

Published 8:39 pm Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

Have you figured out how that mystery novel ends?

No, I started in the middle.

Why would you do that?

Because I didn’t want to know how it starts or ends.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me. It had been a fine day. My shower had been just right and I’d gotten one leg into my underwear without losing my balance. I was on my way to do the narration on a tour boat. As I pulled onto the street where boarding takes place, I heard an ambulance siren. I expected a participant in a nearby pickleball event had been injured, but I saw instead that a friend had fallen walking to the boat. He still wanted to board, but it was decided he needed to go off in the ambulance. He told me, “But I came just to listen to you.” I know the best people extant.

A passenger on the boat told me he was from Podunk—which is a small, unimportant, insignificant, dull, dreary or isolated town. There’s a city named Podunk in Connecticut, New York, Vermont and Massachusetts. Podunk is an Algonquian word.

There is an umbrella in my car. I didn’t know I owned an umbrella. I don’t doubt that my wife bought it for me as I barely know enough to come in out of the rain. I was involved in a walking and Metro tour of Washington, D.C., during a torrential downpour and nearly drowned while walking.

It could have been worse

I yipped. I did so because I expected to stub my toe. No, I hadn’t consulted a crystal ball, but I was moving through a dark and strange hotel room crammed corner to corner with things that could do a toe some harm. I’d have turned on a light had I remembered how to do that. Miraculously, my toe eluded all stubbing. If you could have another eye, where would you put it? I used to think I’d put it at the tip of my forefinger to help me with my pointing, but now think I’d want the extra eye on my big toe. That big guy could warn the other toes when the foot was on a collision course with something dangerous.

I’ve learned

I need a GPS to tell me where I am and why I am there.

We all got along better before we had so many TV channels.

If there is a photo of a milk carton on a milk carton, the grocery store is out of milk.

Neither of the Smith Brothers had coughings at their funerals.

No one complains about not having anything to complain about.

Every day is a pop quiz.

Years ago, I played a penny slot machine and lost $1. It was a painfully slow process and convinced me to give up gambling before I became addicted to disappointment.

Bad joke department

Why did the fly dance on the jelly jar lid? Because it said, “Twist to open.”

What ends if you call it by its name? Silence.

How do you know if there is an elephant in your freezer? The door won’t close.

How do you get a farm girl’s attention? A tractor.

Nature notes

I heard a pileated woodpecker call in the yard. It’s louder, lower-pitched and less regular than that of the northern flicker.

Common nighthawks flew over the yard. They were migrating to South America and fed by opening their mouths wide and eating whatever insects happened into their flight paths. What’s the difference between a bill and a beak? Not a thing—the two words are synonymous.

I watched a hawk perched on a utility pole, peering at a tractor moving ground around in a farm field. Red-tailed hawks are common and they get to know the machinery that stirs up dinner for them. The field activities of tractors and combines chase rabbits, mice and voles from hiding. Gulls enjoy the company of farm equipment providing comestibles in the form of grubs, worms and rodents.

Perfectly respectable songbirds have become ragged looking because of molts. Feathers needing replacement are subbed for. I see bald blue jays in my yard. The jays are fine, nothing more than the victims of an irregular molt. A friend who had been a bird rehabber told me she had never found mites on the bald heads of any jays, so it’s merely a simultaneous molt. It’s the nature of nature.

Meeting adjourned

“Kindness is helping the world, one person at a time.”—RAKtivist.