Al Batt: No rain when it didn’t rain

Published 5:42 pm Tuesday, June 25, 2024

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Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

I have a pessimism glass on my desk. Every time I have a forlorn thought, I put a dollar in it.

How’s that working out?

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The glass is half-empty.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Deep thoughts occur as I drive past his drive. It rained every day except the days when it didn’t. It was drench warfare that left the ground sodden. It had rained enough that it smelled like wet squirrels. I encountered a lot of clothes-captioning during my walk—Patagonia, Columbia, North Face, etc. We become walking advertisements who pay for the privilege. A walk down a trail is the greatest of hall passes.

At home, I took a hot shower and reminded myself that the greatest cause of dry skin is a towel. Upstairs, I put the soup on my favorite burner on the stove. We all have a favorite burner. I waited as I tried to remember what I’d forgotten while forgetting some things I remembered. The situation was normal.

Enjoying whatchamacallits

I enjoy a kolache (koh-la-chee), also known as kolachky, kolachi, kolacky, kolace, kolacki, kolach, kolaczki, kiffles, kipfel, kifla and more. It’s a pastry that not only comes in many names, but also in many different shapes, sizes and fillings from rounds to folded pockets, hand-sized to pie-sized and sweet to savory.

I’d been in Texas eating a kolache for breakfast. What kind of kolache, you ask? It was a doughy (pillowy), apricot fruit-filled pastry. The kolache was brought to the Lone Star State by Czech settlers in the 1800s. Upon arriving home, Vi Kycek of Albert Lea had left me some delicious kolaches she’d made and then I played softball in Montgomery during Kolacky Days, where Franke’s Bakery produced 2000 dozen of the ethnic pastries for that celebration. In just a few days, I’d become half kolache.

Bad jokes department

What do you call a magician who has lost his magic? Ian.

What color is burnt umber? It’s burnt umber. It was a trick question.

A priest, a minister and a rabbit walk into a blood clinic. The nurse asked each for their blood type. The rabbit said, “I’m probably a typo.“

My three favorite things in life are eating cats and not using commas.

The man told the genie that he’d like a world without lawyers.

The genie made it so and wished him a good day. The man protested, saying he was owed two more wishes. The genie said, “So sue me.”

I ordered a book on riddles. I didn’t get it.

A poll found that six of the Seven Dwarfs aren’t Happy.

Why doesn’t life hand us lemonade?

Nature notes

As I walked, I found joy in the company of an American redstart. Warblers are the butterflies of the bird world and the American redstart exemplifies that nickname. The redstart flits about in the trees, holding its wings and tail partly spread. The adult male has a glossy black plumage set off by vivid reddish-orange patches on its sides, wings and tail. Females and young birds, often called “yellowstarts,” are grayish, with yellow patches on the sides, wings and tail. The word “start” comes from an Old English word for “tail.” An American redstart constantly flicks its tail open and closed like a fan, flashing patches of bright orange or yellow. This is thought to startle insect prey and allow the birds to nab them. In Latin America, the bird is often called candelita, or “little candle.”

Others accompanying me on my walk were dragonflies. The handsome insects collect nicknames: devil’s darning needles, mosquito hawks, snake doctors, horse stingers and ear cutters. Each spring and fall, large dragonflies called green darners fly across North America, traveling as far as 900 miles on two-inch wings. These dragonflies leave Minnesota in July through October to head south, flying as far as 87 miles per day. Kestrels eat them, as their migrations coincide in both time and location. At migration’s finish line, the dragonflies lay eggs and die. A new generation makes its way north in the spring. Some green darners don’t migrate and overwinter in Minnesota as naiads in ponds and emerge as adults in the spring.

Meeting adjourned

David Brooks, in his book “How to Know a Person: The Art of Seeing Others Deeply and Being Deeply Seen,” outlined the concept of illuminators and diminishers. He wrote that illuminators shine the brightness of their care on people and make them feel bigger, deeper, respected, and lit up, while diminishers see people as objects to be used, not as persons to know and care for. Be kind.