Al Batt: Thanksgiving is hard on pants

Published 6:10 pm Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

After Thanksgiving, I feel sorry for my pants.

What role did green beans play in your Thanksgiving dinner?

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The casserole.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me. My morning got off to a rough start—I was awake. As I made ready to venture outside, I needed to put on a winter coat. When I first do that near year’s end, it feels like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders.

The roads were busy with cardboard delivery trucks. My dreams had been of snow removal, which can be an excruciatingly repetitive task. My neighbor Crandall says we get early snows when people put up Christmas lights too early. Mother Nature sees the glow and thinks it’s late December and wants us to have a white Christmas. That’s why we get a white Thanksgiving.

I saw people wearing watch caps, beanies or toques at softball games this summer. There may be medical reasons for some, but not for all. They aren’t stocking caps, those things have tassels or pom-poms. Seeing those caps made me want to make soup while clutching my sandals in August.

My wife and I attended an interment. There had been no funeral or visitation. The weather was colder than it needed to be and the robust wind made it feel like it was 2°. The Honor Guard fired their rifles three times. A bugler played Taps. There was no one there who knew the deceased but us. He’d outlived his family. The lone survivor was infirm. I watched a member of the honor guard stamp his feet for warmth. It was a sad occasion, yet I was happy to be where my feet were. The three of us remembered. Everyone should be remembered. We went home and ate funeral potatoes.

School daze

I watched a classmate taking copious notes with an odd writing instrument. It wasn’t a BIC Cristal pen. I knew about ballpoint pens, fountain pens and pencils. I knew too much about erasers, even trying an ink pen that had an eraser. It erased by tearing or wearing out the paper. The pen being used by my desk neighbor was a Flair made by Paper Mate. It was a felt-tip pen. The world was changing at breakneck speed. What next?

Blooming Prairie’s teams carry the name Awesome Blossoms. I watched the University of Arkansas at Monticello Cotton Blossoms play basketball.

Bad joke department

What’s red and bad for teeth? A brick.

My cousin got a job selling trampolines in Prague. His first Czech bounced this week.

What’s worse than a box full of snakes? A box that was supposed to be full of snakes.

Do trees poop? Yes, how else would we get No. 2 pencils?

What always comes at the beginning of parades? The letter P.

How does it change many dyslexics to take a lightbulb?

Things I’m thankful for

Peanut butter, hay bales, stop signs, rural churches, birds, those who help animals, homemade biscuits, having more fun than a barrel of monkeys and that goldfish crackers don’t taste like carp.

Nature notes

It was the kind of November weather that is outlawed in 27 states. I’m not sure how much snow we’d been gifted. I reckon most people thought it had been enough, but the moisture was welcome. The snow came six weeks after the first junco had appeared in the yard. It was of sufficient quantity to entice pheasants into the yard along with a large mixed flock of blackbirds—red-winged blackbirds, rusty blackbirds, common grackles and brown-headed cowbirds. That flock mingled with starlings on the ground under the feeders and engaged in a feeding frenzy. A lovely young opossum ambled through that feathered world, frightening Eurasian collared-doves into flight.

As I watched from my window, a fox sparrow sorted through the leaves beneath a shrub and I noticed a frantic fluttering nearby. Ridiculously underdressed for temperatures cold enough that I needed to use a fur-lined teacup, I trudged through the snow because I was on a mission. I discovered a female house sparrow’s foot had become lodged in a tiny fork in the bush. I freed the bird with little effort and no apparent harm. If birds have nightmares, she might have them. Some will say, “Why save a house sparrow? There are enough house sparrows.”

That’s not true. We’d have been one house sparrow short.

Meeting adjourned

“Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse.”—Henry Van Dyke.