Al Batt: If snowmen ruled the world

Published 5:47 pm Tuesday, January 3, 2023

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Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

Have you gained weight?

Yes, I have.

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How much?

About 204 pounds since the day I was born.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me. Mother Nature sharpened her claws and had been charged with the improper use of winter temperatures. Shoveling became a winter sport. The wind bent my shadow. I looked on the bright side. The weather would be worse tomorrow.

I was late getting Christmas cards mailed because the weather curtailed the mail service. It’s important to send the cards to let others know we are still among the living.

I put on a winter coat and found $.40 in a pocket—a dime, a quarter and a nickel. I knew how a lottery winner felt—warm and rich. I wore a multi-pocketed vest under the coat and had donned cargo pants. I had so many pockets I was a walking cargo ship.

A storm was coming. Everybody said so. I trudged outside, shuffling along icy paths. I stopped in a welcoming, open space and yelled, “Go around!” I figured it couldn’t hurt.

But it has been worse. I hoped for a Little Orphan Annie forecast, “The sun’ll come out tomorrow. Bet your bottom dollar.”

A line of palaver

A woman in a line next to me said she was from Cape Girardeau, Missouri. She’d dated Rush Limbaugh when she was a young woman. He was on the radio then but was called Rusty Sharpe. A woman behind me in line told me she hoped I was up to snuff, meaning of sufficient quality. The phrase is in reference to a form of powdered tobacco sniffed through the nose. This snuff was thought to heighten a person’s senses and make one more perceptive. I told her I was up to standard and encouraged her to jump ahead of me in line.

I’ve done a show on public radio for many years. Another show on that station plays old country music—Ferlin Husky, Loretta Lynn, Tex Ritter, Charley Pride, the Carter Family, Buck Owens, Hank Williams, etc. My father would have gloried in that music. I heard that music in the dairy barn as a young fellow. It played on my father’s favorite station. Now I listen in his memory, which gives me eunoia—a bout of beautiful thinking. Eunoia is the shortest word in English with all five vowels.

I’ve learned

If winter never ended, snowmen would rule the world.

We should drive each day as if it were a misbehaving winter day.

It’s more important to be happy in real life than on social media.

Bad jokes department

Cereal boxes never state that milk and spoon are sold separately.

A giraffe walks into a bar. Giraffes aren’t good at limbo.

My neighbor, instead of Christmas gifts, gave everyone his opinion.

Nature to some people is looking up from a dead phone and seeing a tree.

Nature notes

Cardinals molt in late summer and early fall, after the breeding season and when food is abundant. A newly molted male cardinal isn’t at his brightest. Many of his new feathers, especially on the neck and back, are tipped with gray. The bird looks as if it needs a trip through the cardinal wash. During fall and winter, these gray tips and edges wear away to reveal more of the red color on the feathers underneath. A male cardinal’s increasing redness is due to the wear and abrasion of the feathers. The birds reach the peak of brilliance by midwinter ahead of the spring breeding season. Against snow-covered conifers, they are a feast for our eyes.

Duane Miller of Hartland asked if blue jays open in-shell peanuts and eat the nuts, eat the shells, or store any of the peanuts? Blue jays are handsome and smart. I put peanuts into a platform feeder and jays magically appear, lining up like airplanes on a runway waiting for their turns to take off. Or in a line at an amusement park. Welcome to Gooberland. A jay has a large throat pouch in which it can temporarily store and transport seeds and nuts. The bird flies to a favorite perch or a safe location where it holds the peanut in its feet and pecks the shell open. It either eats the peanuts on the spot or caches them to eat later. It drops the peanut shells to the ground. I enjoy feeding in-shell peanuts as I think they are more durable than shelled peanuts.

Meeting adjourned

A kind word might be enough to get someone through a day.