Al Batt: How did your hometown get its name?

Published 6:36 pm Tuesday, August 8, 2023

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Echoes from the 

Loafers’ Club Meeting

It’s nice to meet you, Alan.

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Please, call me Allen. I just went to the movie theater to see “Groundhog Day II.”

How was it?

It was a repeat showing of the original “Groundhog Day” movie. 

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me. Everything was nearly copacetic. I’d remembered to swing both legs out of bed that morning. That was a good start. Our collective mantra had become, “I wish it would rain.” My wife and I watered the plants at graves in a couple of cemeteries. We miss people. A friend and former neighbor told me she had finally gotten her husband, who has a serious addiction to farming, to go on a vacation. Sometimes we need to get out of our own way. She said the first 100 miles were the hardest. After that, he enjoyed himself. I’m not sure when the first 100 miles go past after losing a cherished friend or family member, but it takes forever. Another friend said she didn’t dare put artificial flowers on her mother’s grave for fear her mater might come back to haunt her.

I attended the funeral of a friend and beloved classmate. I was lucky to have known her and she was a light in a window, even though she was one of those who voted me most likely to be not pictured in our class yearbook.

Working at the county fair

I was cautious enough to step out of the way of youthful energy as I sampled the fair fare. It was a little chewy, too sweet, had an overabundance of grease and was way too salty. In other words, it was just the way I liked it. Driving home each night, at the same spot on the road, just south of a neighbor’s farm driveway, my windshield was bombarded with night-flying insect splats. It sounded as if someone were throwing rice at my car. I see fewer insects on my windshield than years ago. Cars and glass have become more aerodynamic. Many wetlands have disappeared. Widespread use of Bt corn has led to a significant population suppression of the European corn borer and their diminished flights have left room on my windshield. The moths will develop a resistance.

Echoes from the library book sale

Customer: “Are you selling these self-help books?”

Me: “No, help yourself.”

They kicked grass

I was at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Decorah when I saw a sheet where folks in the congregation could sign up to mow the church’s lawn on Thursday, Friday or Saturday as long as they mowed when the grass was dry and kept the blade height at 3 inches.  

A friend told me he doesn’t drink, smoke or golf. He doesn’t own a boat, snowmobile or motorcycle. People ask him what he does for excitement. He tells them he has a nice lawn mower. He operates a lawn-mowing service, which was slowed by the dry weather.

Ask Al

“If your house was on fire when you came home, other than living things, what would you rush in and save?” Something near the front door.

“What or whom is your hometown named after?” The water tower.

“What is the fear of giants called?” Fee-fi-phobia.

“Have you ever played golf?” Yes, I shot a 42, but I didn’t do that well on the second hole.

Nature notes

 David Olson of Hartland asked when purple martins leave. They are around their houses from May through late July. After fledging young, they congregate at a roost situated near water. Roosts remain active for six weeks or longer, but individual birds might stay only four weeks before beginning a long migration to Brazil.

 Here’s some weather lore about August. For every fog in August, there will be a snowfall in winter. As August, so the next February. If the first week in August is unusually warm, the coming winter will be white and long. When it rains in August, it rains honey. If a cold August follows a hot July, it foretells a winter hard and dry.

 The Farmer’s Almanac’s outlook for the winter of 2023-24 is cold with average snowfall in Minnesota, Iowa and the Dakotas and cold and stormy in Wisconsin, with potential blizzards for the first week of March in the North Central States. That sounds about right.

Meeting adjourned

“Hello, sun in my face. Hello you who made the morning and spread it over the fields…Watch, now, how I start the day in happiness, in kindness.”—Mary Oliver.