Al Batt: Money to buy an elephant

Published 7:57 pm Tuesday, February 20, 2024

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Echoes From the

Loafers’ Club Meeting

I wish I had enough money to buy an elephant.

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What do you want with an elephant?

I don’t want an elephant. I just want enough money to buy one.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me. The weather had been uncomfortably nice, and the road was long. I was on my way to a meeting. I’m not a member of Sam’s Club, Costco or AAA. Why not? I don’t have time for any more meetings. Plus, I saved $569 today by not going to Costco to buy blueberries.

On the way to the meeting, a driver ran a stop sign in front of me. I can’t blame texting because I don’t know if that’s what she was doing. I watched to make sure the driver wasn’t the White Rabbit from “Alice in Wonderland” singing “I’m late! I’m late! For a very important date! No time to say ‘hello,’ ‘goodbye!’ I’m late! I’m late! I’m late!”

The driver wasn’t a rabbit. I strive to see the good. It was a good thing we didn’t collide. I was driving 1 mph over the speed limit. Shame on me. I’m thankful I hadn’t been driving 2 mph over the speed limit. That might have been enough for her to sink my battleship.

Later, I drove past a burial at a rural cemetery. I doubt I knew the deceased, but I waved. My father waved at tractors and barns in both support and sympathy. I reckon it’s a family tradition.

I had time to wave because I wasn’t late.

The White Rabbit sang, “And, when I wave I lose the time I save.”

Scenes from a boyhood

on Mule Lake Farm

We couldn’t have anything nice. The goldfish had died. It’d been a prize at the county fair and was taken home in a plastic bag. It might have drowned. I’d named it Dear Abby.

My mother loved reading Dear Abby’s column in the newspaper, and the column by Abby’s sister, Ann Landers. People had a lot of troubles they took to Abby and Ann. The twin sisters had their own problems. They were estranged. They were born in Sioux City, Iowa, and their first names were Esther (Eppie) and Pauline. Eppie became Ann Landers and Pauline became Abigail Van Buren (Abby).

One of my favorite songwriters, John Prine, wrote a song titled “Dear Abby.” A refrain in that tune is: “Unhappy, unhappy, you have no complaint. You are what you are and you ain’t what you ain’t. So listen up buster, and listen up good. Stop wishing for bad luck and knocking on wood.”

I’ve never asked Ann, Abby, Esther, Pauline, Eppie, Abigail or John for advice. There’s no need. The world is full of people willing to give advice without being asked.

I wonder

When does a Christmas tree go from still up to already up?

Are day-old sundaes called mondaes?

If there are legal pads, are there illegal pads?

Are all pictures picturesque?

What do you send someone who has given you a box of “thank you” cards?

Bad jokes department

The world needs more humble geniuses. There are few of us left.

I graduated from clown college. That was no small feet.

How do you keep Canadian bacon from curling? Take away its broom.

Nature notes

It was gray anatomies as juncos covered the ground, feeding on the millet I’d put out for them. Dark-eyed juncos flash white outer tail feathers in flight. I saw blue snow not far from the juncos. It looked as if someone had stepped on a Smurf, spit out mouthwash or spilled antifreeze. Rabbit droppings came out of the blue. When rabbits feed on the invasive plant buckthorn, they excrete a chemical in their urine that turns blue when exposed to sunlight. Rabbits have round droppings, while deer pellets are oval-shaped with one pointed end. I’ve heard that deer produce blue urine, but I’ve noticed deer avoid eating invasive species like buckthorn, garlic mustard and Japanese barberry. I’d never say they never sample those plants. They likely try it to see if they like it. Every kid had to try things, so why wouldn’t deer? I’m not sure if foraging is discouraged because deer find the plants unappetizing or because buckthorn has thorns. Overbrowsing of native plants by large deer populations in some areas has enabled invasive species to flourish and displace native species. Deer don’t bother ferns much, but extreme hunger tosses out the diet rulebook.

Meeting adjourned

Kindness is the rent we pay for living on the planet.