Al Batt: Shivering onward

Published 5:24 pm Tuesday, November 7, 2023

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Echoes from the

Loafers’ Club Meeting

I try to do nothing every day. It’s good for my longevity.

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What do you mean?

Nothing lasts forever.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me. Every day has its floor and its ceiling. I was rocketing upwards on a genial fall day; one not even cold enough to be a flannel shirt day. Despite the double-nickel temperature, our lives are seasonally adjusted. I used to smell what nature was cooking back when the predictable smell of burning leaves provided a heavy hint. I told a friend preparing to flee our cold weather for Arizona that I enjoy the changing seasons. She replied, “It’s too bad we get all the crummy ones here.”

I’ll remain in the north and shiver onward.

There were so many boxelder bugs I felt sorry for their frazzled family genealogists. These insects are Bible-reading bugs. Genesis says, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.” Right then, the bugs were concentrating on covering the south side of my house. Location, location, location. I understand. I’m the same age as everyone else who is my age, but years ago, when I wasn’t, I was featured in a Smithsonian Magazine article, which was a mighty cool thing and meant that it had been an incredibly slow month for interesting stories. A talented Massachusetts writer shadowed me for a couple of days and then, befitting my image as a hayseed, a photographer flew in from New York City and attempted to make me look good by propping me against a red barn. Our barn wasn’t barnish enough. We must have looked at a dozen barns to find one willing to dance with a hick of my caliber. Location, location, location.

Ear tales

We had assigned seats in church. Not officially, but folks sat where they’d sat before. I sat behind a fine man. He was a farmer who kept his farm equipment in such fine shape it could have been substituted for his dinner table if that piece of furniture was out of town. He wore a hearing aid. I don’t think it offered much help as it whistled throughout the sermon and he couldn’t hear out of his other ear. He had farmer’s ears and might have been the only one in the church who couldn’t hear his hearing aid whistling a sad tune. He was a teapot in a suit and tie.

When I was a lad, I was the proud owner of a GE pocket-sized transistor radio. It ran on 9-volt batteries. I regularly ran out of 9-volt batteries because of my constant use of the life-changing device. I fell asleep each night with the single earphone in, oddly enough, my ear. My mother came in after I’d fallen asleep and turned off the radio. How did she know when I was sleeping? She was a mother. Mothers just know things. While she was there, she plucked out the earphone. I wanted to remove the hearing aid from the ear of the man sitting in front of me, but I didn’t. He was too nice.

I’ve learned

The only reason the Eat-Around-It Cafe serves breakfast all day is because their service is that slow.

A fight broke out at the weekly Laughing Lutherans’ Knitting Group’s gathering because someone grew weary of the constant needling by others.

The Chinese have an entire language made of tattoo designs.

Bad jokes department

My neighbor was arrested for doing sit-ups in his house. He was charged with domestic ab use.

“Do you think it’s OK to have children after 40?” I think more than 40 kids is way too many.

Nature notes

There are swellings on goldenrod stems. The round gall is readily seen during fall and winter, and occurs on several species of goldenrods. The goldenrod gall-fly female punctures the bud of a goldenrod plant and deposits one egg, which hatches and the larva feeds upon. The plant forms a gall in response. In September and October, the larva bores a tunnel from its central cavity to the outer epidermis, leaving a thin skin of tissue in place (this eases the exit of the adult) and then returns to the central cavity where it spends the winter. Pupation occurs in April, with the adult fly emerging in the latter half of May to the first part of June and living 8 to 10 days. The white grubs make excellent bait for ice fishing, and chickadees and downy woodpeckers feed on the larvae.

Meeting adjourned

“Kindness is the language of the angels.” — A.B.