Al Batt: Paying it forward, backwards

Published 5:07 pm Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

I’ve got 20 goldfish living in my bathtub.

What do you do when you want to take a bath?

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I blindfold them.

Driving by

Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me. I was three days early in completing a task. Daylight saving time always throws me off. My neighbor Crandall is teaching his turkeys how to play the banjo. He hopes the turkeys will pluck themselves. Crandall and I used to share a water supply. We got a long well. He believes in paying it backward. He told the young woman at the drive-up window that the car behind him was going to pay for his food.

Grin and bear it

So there I was on a November day in Alaska. I was watching a brown bear catch salmon in Chilkoot Lake. I watched from a safe distance as I showed the bear to a couple from New England. The woman was interested but uneasy. Her husband tried to assure her, “That bear is more afraid of you than you are of it.”

She responded quickly, “If the bear said that, it’s lying.”

Make do or do without

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.” The War Advertising Council coined that slogan during World War II at the time of victory gardens, saving kitchen grease and donating scrap metal for munitions. Its purpose was to promote the need to conserve scarce resources and to help keep prices down by not generating excess demand. Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.

The good folks who lived on my family’s farm before us, resided in a granary while a house was being built. In a time when T-shirts were all white, a boy in my school turned his inside out and wore it with the dirty side in. A beloved aunt of mine, after becoming the lone resident of her house, used both the top and the bottom of a plate before washing it.

I pulled into my assigned parking space for a regular job I do in a city. My parking spot had been replaced by a large excavator and a temporary fence. Someone had taken my parking place and left a big hole. I parked on the street. It wasn’t much of a sacrifice, but I did without.

Ask Al

“How can I tell if it’s a horn or an antler?” If you hear the sound coming from a car, it’s a horn.

“How could I find more free time?” Anytime you see an email, text or social media post promising to shock or scare you, don’t read it. It won’t be true.

“What is the recommended safe distance to maintain from a grizzly bear?” 17 miles.

“What streaming service did you have when you were a kid?” It was called imagination.

I’ve learned

I like B more than the L or the T in a BLT.

Inacupuncture is ineffective.

If all the insects are smashed onto the back window of my car instead of the windshield, I’m driving too slowly.

Good hide-and-seek players are hard to find.

My wife said I can be an idiot sometimes, so I’ve penciled in an hour on Thursdays for that.

Things to be thankful for at Thanksgiving

Stretchy pants.

That you haven’t saved every twist tie.

Those who forgive without conditions.

Nature notes

Squirrels were squirreling away the fallen acorns. Oaks can be 900-year-old trees–300 years of growth, 300 years of stasis and 300 years of decline. Most species of oaks begin producing acorns at about 20 years of age, with peak mast production occurring at around 50 to 80 years. Every two to five years, oak trees have a mast year when they produce many more acorns than they produce in other years. An oak tree is in the genus Quercus. “Quer” means “fine” and “cuez” means “tree” in Celtic. An oak’s root zone extends beyond the drip line of the tree. The drip line is the outermost edge of a tree’s foliage. Oak trees support 897 caterpillar species in the US. A single pair of breeding chickadees needs 6,000 to 9,000 caterpillars to rear one clutch of young birds, according to Doug Tallamy, a professor of entomology and wildlife ecology at the University of Delaware. A black-capped chickadee weighs as much as four or five pennies.

Meeting adjourned

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson.