Follow politics … from a safe distance

Echoes From the Loafers’ Club Meeting

Politics drive me crazy.

I hear you.

Do you follow politics?

Yes, but only from a safe distance.

Driving by the Bruces

I have two wonderful neighbors — both named Bruce — who live across the road from each other. Whenever I pass their driveways, thoughts occur to me, such as: I had driven by a rural church as the bride and groom met the light of the day after their wedding ceremony. At my one and only wedding, the ushers didn’t need to ask if any attendee was on the bride’s side or the groom’s side. Those on my side looked relieved. Her side wore shocked looks.

Eating for one

The restaurant hostess asked, “Just one?”

It made it sound as if I was a poor old sod whose family had deserted him and was without a friend in the world.

“Just” can be a tough word to hear.

“One?” would have been kinder.

After making a tough menu decision, I looked out the window at the rain falling hard. It seems as if rain falls in heavier amounts than it once did. Gentle rains seem to have become rare. I blame the term “weather events.” Weather has changed since that expression has become popular. The word “events” puts a lot of pressure on the weather to perform.

Worrying about whiskers in the water

As a kid, I’d play baseball and watch a car drive by. I’d think, “I wish I were driving that car.”

Now I drive by a baseball field where kids are playing and think, “I wish I were over there, playing baseball.”

Things change. I hope that the good things don’t, but I don’t worry about it.

I’m not much of a worrier. I’m not good at it.

Maybe it’s genetic. My mother wasn’t much of a worrier either. She approached life knowing that things would happen and some of them wouldn’t be to her liking. She said that worrying was like sitting in a rocking chair. It gave you something to do, but it didn’t get you anywhere.

But she was human and a mother. Worry crept in despite her efforts to keep it away.

There was an ancient hand pump that brought up cold water that was greatly appreciated on a hot day. It protested loudly when pumped, but was ever faithful. A metal cup with a long handle hung from that pump. Everyone drank from that same cup.

Bearded fellows drank from that cup.

My mother advised me to drink from the opposite side of the cup from where the bearded men drank. She said that you never know what might be in those beards.

One of those fuzzy gents told me that he never washed his beard. That way, whenever he became hungry, he could always find scraps of food in his whiskers.

I thought of those things as I drove down the road behind a couple of F words — a Ford Focus.

I was returning from a clinic visit. More tests, more consultations. I’ve been to that mammoth clinic so many times that familiarity is my GPS. It’s nearly impossible to make a wrong turn. There are always a couple of detours. It’s impossible to avoid roadwork in the summer. There is a yin and yang to roadwork. Delays, winding routes and reduced speeds lead to better roads. We all want good roads. The Focus reminded me to focus on the good things, on my blessings. I need to enjoy the journey. It could be worse.

The other day, someone said, “You’re a lot like your mother.”

I took that as a compliment and hoped there was a small bit of truth in it.

I’m over a foot taller than my mother was, but she towered over me.

My mother worried more about loved ones than herself. I attempt to do that, too.

I even shaved my beard.

Nature notes

Sharon Nelson of Albert Lea saw 20 perched turkey vultures with wings spread and she wondered what they were doing. When they spread their wings like that, it’s called a horaltic pose. The vulture does this for a variety of reasons. If you observe vultures early in the morning, you’ll see them standing in this horaltic pose. This is because a vulture’s body temperature drops overnight and this pose helps them warm up. This pose is also used after bathing to aid in drying their feathers. It may help to bake off bacteria that the vultures picked up while feeding on carrion.

Meeting adjourned

Don’t look far for kindness. You should find it in your mirror.

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