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Echoes From the Loafers' Club Meeting

Do you know how to get to the road leading out of town? 

I don't. 

Don't you live here? 

I do, but I wouldn’t if I knew how to get to the road leading out of town.


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 was grinning as I drove because research had found that people who generally have more positive emotions tend to experience a broader range of benefits and greater happiness overall when compared with those who are more dominated by negative emotions. The journal "Psychological Science" published research from Wayne State University that analyzed the smiles of 230 Major League Baseball players pictured on 1952 baseball cards to determine how positive emotions influenced longevity. Of the Major League players who had died before June 2009, players with no smiles lived an average 72.9 years; those with partial smiles lived an average of 75 years; and those with big grins lived an average of 79.9 years.


Toy typing

I've wanted to be a writer all of my life. I love what I do. I had great teachers and my parents were encouraging, but a Deluxe Dial Typewriter might have set my career path. It was a toy typewriter. It had a type wheel that was turned to the desired letter or number. Then I pushed down a lever and the chosen letter appeared on a sheet of paper. I typed on the backside of paper that had been used before. Recycling. The typewriter had a capital shift button, a space button and a ribbon. I practiced daily, but the toy made for slow typing. I could type a 500-word piece in about two weeks. Even so, I loved putting words on paper. I still do. 


We’re still trying to decide on a suite of orange crates

We married young. We didn't have much. We might have had even less than that. I went to college during the day and worked nights. We couldn't even afford a piggy bank. Whenever I found a coin, it was a rare coin because there was no other kind.

My future bride had said, "Who cares about money? I don't care if we have to use orange crates for furniture. I want to marry you."

I told her that the orange crates would have to wait until later. We’d have to live frugally the first few years of our marriage.


Ask Al

"What makes a farmer want to get out in the field and plant corn?" Seeing another farmer out in the field planting corn.

"How much does the nearest mountain weigh?" With or without flora and fauna being included in the weight?

"Everyone feels differently when they are sick. How do you feel?" Like a Hubbard squash with the ability to grunt.


Nature notes

As I prepared to leave home for a few days, a red-headed woodpecker arrived in our yard. My wife considered it a good trade.

It’s spring. Rhubarb sauce. That’s it. I don't need to say more.

A brown thrasher sang in my yard. He repeated himself just as guys my age do. I hope his song never ends.

The nyjer seed feeder bloomed. It did so in goldfinches. The ground under the feeder moved in white-throated sparrows. A robust bird concert was accompanied by the sublime fragrance of crabapple blossoms. The heads of white-crowned sparrows, birds that I called zebraheads when I was a boy, were so bright that they glowed like lights. Male Baltimore orioles battled over airspace as females gathered nesting materials. Gray catbirds enchanted, Harris’s sparrows looked handsome and cardinals kissed. Watching birds at feeders makes me feel as if I'm on a vacation.

I wondered how much deer candy we’d planted in our yard. I think deer will eat anything if they are hungry enough. The more expensive the plant, the more the deer enjoy eating it.

After being traded for a woodpecker, I hit the road. I watched a red-tailed hawk flying low over a marsh. A good number of red-winged blackbirds gathered and rallied as allies to drive the hawk from the marsh.

The sights and sounds were incredible. There is no app that comes close to them. I enjoyed seeing what I saw. Summer will be here before we know it and it will be over before we know it. I need to look harder and more often.


Meeting adjourned 

Never judge another's half tank by your full tank. Be kind.

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