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Echoes From the Loafers' Club Meeting

Your father sure looks good.

I hope I look half as good as he does when I'm his age.

Hope hard. You don't look that good now.


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: We hadn’t had a flat tire for years. Then we had two — one on my car and one on my wife’s vehicle. One was caused by part of a deer’s antler and the other by a discarded scrap of metal. I discovered that I don’t care for the current crop of jack handles all that much. It worked, but it had an attitude as if it didn't want to work. I have changed so many tires over the years that I figured it would be just like riding a bicycle. I was right. I could still fall off a bicycle.


Going up in the world

The hill had gotten a little steeper. I got on an elevator headed to the 10th floor of a Mayo Clinic building in Rochester. The elevator was packed. I apologized to my fellow passengers for facing the wrong direction. I hoped aloud that they didn't mind.

"It’s fine as long as you're not face down," replied one smiling woman.


Sticking in my mind

I was driving behind a minivan. It had one of those family stickers on the rear window. Three kids, a dog, a mother and no father. He had been scratched away from that scene. For some reason, that caused me to think about my class in school. There weren’t many parents of anyone in my class who were divorced while we were in school. I might be wrong, as divorce was not spoken about freely. I know I didn't see a single one that had been angrily scratched from the family sticker on the back of a minivan.

Maybe minivans and those stickers cause divorce.


Those thrilling days of yesteryear

She said, "I could care less."

That didn’t seem possible. I think she meant, "I couldn’t care less."

It reminded me of a time when my father was ailing. A tractor needed repair. When it came to doing repairs, I couldn’t care less. I was good at putting tools away, insuring their usability. Repair work can be humbling. There are two kinds of people. The humble and those who are about to be humbled. My father was 100 times the mechanic I was, but I tore apart much of the motor, fixed what I thought needed fixing and put it all back together again, possibly into the right spots. I wanted to put things together more than I wanted to take them apart. To my surprise, the engine started and ran. I became its cheerleader. It was a gift. It was my singular masterpiece.

The tractor, an Allis-Chalmers, was a favorite of mine. It had no cab, which welcomed distractions. I could see, smell and feel the world around me. It was my version of Disneyland.



A scene from a marriage

I was driving through a large city with my wife riding shotgun. We had timed it perfectly so we hit it just at the peak of rush-hour traffic. My wife moaned about the number of cars. She tossed in an "Uffda!" She said that she’d never want to live there. I told her that it couldn't be a bad place to live. If it were a bad place, there wouldn't be so much traffic.


And in local news

School enforces strict gum laws.

Business offers 401(k) to employees, but they are finding it a long way to run.

Zoo has fake gnus.

Porta-potty company downsizes by sending eight employees "Dear John" letters.


On the road to nature

I was driving along looking at muskrat mounds.

A muskrat burrows into the bank of a creek or pond, or it may gather vegetation and build a dome-shaped house in shallow water.

Then all smell broke loose! Someone’s car had hit a skunk.

A few miles down the road, when I could safely breathe again, I began looking at muskrat homes once more. I wasn’t considering buying one. I was checking out the pairs of Canada geese on the mounds. There were many. The geese find the structures built by muskrats to be perfect for nesting. I wonder if the muskrats ever tell the geese to get off their roofs? They probably do, but it does no good. There is a language barrier.


Meeting adjourned

Be kind. Throw a smile. It doesn't matter who it hits.

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