Al Batt: Cat hair is everywhere but on the cat

Published 6:02 pm Tuesday, January 31, 2023

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Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

All my teachers said I could go places.

What happened?

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I liked it here.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me. I joined the day already in progress. I’d been living a windowless existence as I did tax work and needed a break. “Blinded by the Light” is a song by Bruce Springsteen. It’s also what happened to me when I opened the blinds. I lived in a house of bachelors once where our window coverings were tattered blankets stapled in place. I needed something. It’s difficult to do many things without needing something. I stepped into the room with my left foot because a fellow knucklehead told me that was good luck. My wife had cleaned and arranged the junk drawer. Now I don’t know what to call it. I’m a man of mystery. That was evident when I forgot what I was looking for.

I’ve learned

Cat hair sticks to everything but the cat.

Parking between the lines is much more important than coloring between the lines.

I put on steps as the mall’s sound system played a big-city woman singing about being country when country wasn’t cool. I’m a country boy. Country was always cool.

I’ve decided to do less figure skating this year than I’ve done in the past. That’ll be difficult as I’ve done no figure skating.

I like T-shirts with pockets so I’ll know I’m not wearing them inside out.

Bad joke department

Man has his horses shooed and now he can’t find them.

Lumbar support group meets in the back.

The game of Twister is removed from the Senior Center.

Police called to extricate a man from a beanbag chair.

Hammerhead sharks caused the extinction of nailfish.

Why was the owl in jail? It had gotten bad eagle advice.

Nature notes

Growing up on a farm, my father taught me that alfalfa loves snow. A thick blanket of snow increases the chances of alfalfa surviving winter. The alfalfa was smiling. On my way to church, I saw the white flashes of large flocks of snow buntings, a flock of Lapland longspurs and small groups of horned larks. These birds feed in the fields until deep or ice-encrusted snow covers their food and chases them to the roadsides where weed seeds and spilled grain are caught by the gravel. They show up when the snowmobiles do. I saw a couple of rough-legged hawks later in my drive. I called them Christmas hawks when I was a precocious or a pestiferous child. The roughies nest in the Arctic and have feathered pants with feathering to the base of their toes and small bills. Their feet are smaller than those of red-tailed hawks, which allow roughies to perch at the tip-top of small branches.

I watched a red fox tiptoe through the yard at daybreak. They typically weigh 8 to 15 pounds. Squirrels used the cheerful sounds of birds to infer the absence of predators. Gray and fox squirrels are scatter hoarders, which means they hoard food in scattered locations to access later.

Crows in the distance looked like apostrophes perched in a gray tree. We’re getting winter in winter. No surprise. Some consider winter a bully, but I find the world big enough for both winter and me. I saw an opossum in the yard. Pink ears and tip of tail indicated frostbite. Pogo (and creator Walt Kelly) said, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” The local opossum might consider winter an antagonist.

On one of my first jobs in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, I flew into Harlingen, picked up a rental car and motored to the Valley Nature Center in Weslaco. It was small enough for me to roam about in the time allotted. The place was lousy with birds. I was greeted by green jays, great kiskadees, clay-colored robins (now clay-colored thrushes), golden-fronted woodpeckers, buff-bellied hummingbirds and plain chachalacas. They’re common birds at this small oasis, but they were a red carpet rolled out to me.

I found a pair of American white pelicans on the water on a Christmas Bird Count on December 30. My instinct was that one was injured (no visible injuries) and its mate refused to leave it, but they are serially monogamous and form pairs for one breeding season through courtship rituals at the breeding colony. So why are the two still here? I don’t know. They have to be somewhere.

Meeting adjourned

I tried to thank everyone I encountered this day. I think I missed you. So, thank you.