Al Batt: Don’t worry, it’s creative writing

Published 6:34 pm Tuesday, May 23, 2023

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Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

I had to see a veterinarian about my nose.

Why a veterinarian?

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Nose hares.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Deep thoughts occur as I drive past his drive. I went to town and back, 4 miles each way, without my phone. That’s 8 miles without a cellphone. GASP! Am I crazy or forgetful? I didn’t need to hold my breath like a Navy Seal. I did it on purpose. I wasn’t awaiting to hear if I’d garnered a MacArthur Genius Grant and if I’d gotten a spam call, whoever called would call back. Johnny Cash sang, “Don’t take your phone to town, son. Leave your phone at home, Al. Don’t take your phone to town.”

Cataract cavalry

Mom had cataract surgery. It was a long ordeal in those days. It involved a hospital stay and brick-like pillows to keep her from moving her head while she was in the hospital bed. I worried about her. It was only fair. She worried about me. As I drove her home after the surgery, she was quieter than normal. Then she said, “When did they put all these lines on the highway?” Humor was the cavalry that rode in and saved the day with a smile.

Sarah McLachlan started a crying epidemic

I sat on the sofa between two small granddaughters. We were watching something easily forgettable on TV when an ASPCA ad came on. There were images of sad and abused dogs and cats as Sarah McLachlan sang, “You’re in the arms of the angel. May you find some comfort here.” One of the little girls began to cry. Then the other. It was too much for me. I joined them. My wife entered the room and saw the three of us crying. She looked at me and said, “What did you do now?”

Bob lived through his autopsy

I was having lunch between classes when a man I didn’t know took a seat next to me and asked if I’d like to see photos of his autopsy. He didn’t wait for my answer before showing me printed photos of him on a gurney. He appeared to have had an autopsy performed on his body before it was sewed back together. Large stitches covered his torso. He’d been in a movie. He gave me a button reading, “Share a smile with a stranger.”

I’ve learned

Bad penmanship is creative writing.

Post-It Notes were made to have “kick me” written on them.  

“Last in, first out” applies to leftovers in the refrigerator.  

Nature notes

Ken Nelson of Clarks Grove wondered when Baltimore orioles leave after nesting and how many broods they have. They have one brood. In July, most young orioles leave the nest and become independent. The parents molt their body and flight feathers in anticipation of their migration south. By September, it’s rare to see any orioles hanging around. Their durable sock-like nests continue to hang, thanks to a tightly woven construction, strong knots and superior building materials.

“Do robins find worms by sight or sound?” Robins hop around our yards, with heads cocked, searching for worms. Research published in the journal Animal Behavior concluded robins could use either visual or auditory cues to find worms, but probably use both.

“Why do squirrels insist on stopping in a street and then running in front of my car?” Why do squirrels run into the path of an oncoming car? Are they panicking or just goofy? Squirrels spend their lives trying not to be killed and then they do this? Instinct drives this behavior while you’re driving your car. Squirrels run in a serpentine or zig-zag pattern to throw hunting hawks off their swooping game. This method helps squirrels dodge raptors and other predators, but not Dodges. I must add that this is a commonly held theory, which squirrels have refused to confirm or deny.

“What do hummingbirds feed on when they return in a cold, late spring?” Sap and insects. Yellow-bellied sapsuckers, which winter in the southeastern U.S. and Central America, migrate north in early spring when the sap is running. They use their strong bills to notch rows of sapwells in trees. They drink the sap and feed on the insects attracted to it. Hummingbirds rely on the bounty of sap provided by sapsuckers and visit the wells to drink the sweet liquid and feed on the insects attracted to it. For hummingbirds, this is an important food source that helps them survive until the flowers bloom.

Meeting adjourned

“I feel fairly certain that my hatred harms me more than the people whom I hate.”—Max Frisch. Be kind.