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Al Batt: Learn to be kind, pay your bills

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Zoom Meeting

When we blew a fuse, Pop would replace it with a penny.

Why did he do that?

You have to spend money to make money.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor, named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me, such as: I’m good at sheltering in place. That’s because I’ve had blizzard training.

A fellow I know died recently. He’d had a good run. He was 102 years old and died while writing a check. I wonder how many people die while paying a bill? Not many, I’m thinking. If I gave a commencement address, I’d tell the graduates to pay their bills and they might live to be 102. Then I’d tell them to be kind to themselves. That would teach them how to be kind to others.

I walked past a glint of the sun on a marble headstone. We are going through disturbing times, but I needed to pay my respects to some who hadn’t remained standing. I hope they’re happy with what we’ve become. It rained. John Keats is buried in Rome, dying in 1821 at age 25 and requesting that only the phrase: “Here lies One Whose Name was writ in Water” be inscribed on his headstone.

Each year, my wife and I attend a smorgasbord. One of the delicacies served there is tongue. I eat some while encouraging my wife to sample a bit of it. She declines. Most of us like what we like and don’t care much for the rest. I thought of teasing her into trying the tongue, but there’s no point in tongue food fighting.

TV is like pickles — sometimes sour, sometimes sweet. I remember using a needlenose pliers to turn the channel selector on our old TV when I was a boy. The plastic channel selector, indicating channel numbers, had broken before we’d obtained the TV. Mother convinced my father that we needed a TV so the furniture would have something to point at. I used that pliers to change the channel until my hand went numb and then I’d stop. I hoped it was on one of the three channels we received. The first TV I purchased had a broken volume knob. It was a deal I couldn’t turn down.

In local news

Trucker with no sense of direction is in it for the wrong haul.

Plumber slips in the bathroom and his whole life flushed before his eyes.

Man, aged 111, shows signs of everything.

The Poison Ivy Petting Zoo suffers a rash of complaints.

Nature notes

Harp Bartness of Hartland asked how old a fawn is before it can walk. Fawns are able to stand within 10 minutes of birth and can walk in 7 hours. They are left alone daily while their mothers go off to forage. Fawns stay with their mother through the winter.

Paula Comeau, naturalist at Bluestem Prairie Scientific and Natural Area near Glyndon, Minnesota, told me that coyotes love to eat wild plums.

“What eats slugs?” Not me. Things that dine on slugs include: toads, snakes, frogs, ground beetles, turtles, firefly larvae, ducks, chickens and some songbirds.

Japanese beetles can fly in from as far away as five miles.

Birds at the top of the forest canopy sing first during the dawn chorus because the light reaches them first. Birds with the largest eyes are the first to sing at all the levels, as the big eyes let more light in allowing them to see better in low light.

Orioles aren’t picky when it comes to jelly. It’s been said Baltimore orioles enjoy the grape flavor because it tastes similar to the dark, ripe fruits they eat. Jelly feeders attract other birds: gray catbirds, woodpeckers, scarlet tanagers, house finches, rose-breasted grosbeaks and more. Orioles eat orange marmalade, apricot preserves, or cherry, strawberry, apple and raspberry jams or jellies. Jellies and jams are both made of fruit, sugar and pectin. In jelly, the fruit is in the form of juice. Jam is a chunkier form containing pulp or crushed fruit. I stopped at a store to get grape jelly. The grape jelly shelves were bare. I was in a bit of a rush, so I bought the only jelly they had available — strawberry. I put it into the feeders and the birds snarfed it down.

Even with lessened traffic, many dead raccoons are on the roads. That’s because of cars. A raccoon can run 15 mph, giving it little chance in a race with a Lexus. An animal foraging for food brings about the collisions.

Meeting adjourned

The light comes through the cracks thanks to your kindness.