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Al Batt: A caterpillar with a broken GPS system

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

I changed the oil in my car in under 30 minutes.

Seriously?

It doesn’t take long when you know what you’re doing.

Or obviously when you don’t know what you’re doing either.

Driving by

Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me, such as: It was an imperfect day. That was perfect. The air was thick with hope. I’d become a fidgeting fugitive from the flu (pandemic). We’re all in the same Petri dish. The world had become an issue of The Onion with everyone taking turns being Wile E. Coyote after he was hit on the head by an anvil. I bought bananas. I sang Harry Belafonte’s “The Banana Boat Song” as I waited in line. “Come, mister tally man, tally me banana.” It made me happy.

I found a woolly bear caterpillar in the basement. I’d never discovered one in the house before. I hoped it didn’t indicate a cruel winter. I waited for the October temperature to get above freezing before putting the woolly worm outside. It was 44° and sunny when I released it in what I deemed a friendly place. The caterpillar headed north. It made a U-turn and headed south before making another U-turn and crawling north again. Its GPS was on the fritz. I’m checking the basement for its return.

Naming my shoes

According to BabyCenter, Sophia is the queen of girls’ names for the 11th straight year and Liam the most popular boys’ name for the second consecutive year. I named my fresh footwear Liam and Sophie. I walked miles in those new boots searching for a short pier on which to take a long walk as had been suggested. My old ones had become more duct tape than shoes. My feet are substantial, size 14, and the store had measured my dogs.

You get what you measure, but the boots were of an improper infrastructure. I didn’t notice the problem right away, because I’m a male who demonstrates a shortage in the sensitivity department. By the time I recognized the complication, my tootsies were tender. I sat in my office, considering my tortured trotters.

I wasn’t licking my wounds because they were on my big toes and my second-in-command toes. I returned the boots I didn’t have for long because they weren’t long enough. I returned them before the statute of limitations had expired. Comfortable shoes are crucial. If my feet ain’t happy, ain’t no part of my body happy.

Ask Al

“What universal truth did you learn about farming?” Nothing grows in comfort.

“What do you say when you get a bad question?” That’s a good question.

“Are no two snowflakes alike?” No, each one has a unique serial number.

“Are you a fan of Tolkien?” I read several of his books, but I didn’t find them hobbit-forming.

From the mailbag

Bob Reed, Colonel, US Army, Retired of Tallassee, Ala. wrote, “Early one morning at Camp Shelby, Mississippi, I happened to step out of the battalion HQ as a platoon of soldiers marched down the street. Behind them, keeping perfect distance, as if he too were part of the unit, was a striped skunk. He stayed behind them for at least a block, until he came to his culvert, and detoured down into it. I would give almost anything to have a video of it.”

Rae Jerrel of Kensal, N.D. wrote, “Enjoyed your ‘clinic chronicles’ as it is so true about going in to see your doctor(s). Jack goes in every other month to the Roger Maris Cancer Center and what you said about the entry ‘price’ being a temperature check and wearing a mask so you cannot identify anyone you have seen before. Lucky if you can recognize the lab techs and your doctor!”

Nature notes

1. Milkweed seeds fly in the wind on silk.

2. Northern harriers, once called marsh hawks, fly low over fields and marshes when hunting. Harriers typically move south away from heavy snow cover.

3. Asparagus acquires a lovely yellow-orange color.

4. Buckthorn shrubs retain green leaves.

5. As more spiders are seen in houses, someone will tell a cab driver, “Follow that spider and step on it!”

6. Monarch butterflies travel between 25-100 miles a day and take up to two months to complete their journey to Mexico

7. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, waterfowl populations have increased by 50 percentand wild turkeys by 200 percent over the last 50 years, with much credit given to the efforts of hunting groups.

Meeting adjourned

Have a thankful answer prepared in case someone asks, “How are you doing?”