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Echoes From the Loafers' Club Meeting

I was a Boy Scout once.

Did you ever start a fire by rubbing two sticks together?

No, but I tried and tried. My efforts made me so hot, I didn't need a fire.

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 love sweet corn slathered in butter and salted liberally. Corn on the cob is the only food that I salt. I remember eating field corn, both raw and cooked, when I was a lad. I thought it was good, but it was no sweet corn. I raised sweet corn for years. I don’t raise it anymore. I grew weary of fighting battles against raccoons. Nature bats last and the raccoons won every time. I tried playing a radio in the garden at night. It was supposed to discourage raccoon raids. The raccoons danced to the music while they devoured my sweet corn. It didn’t matter what kind of music was played. Fortunately, there are many local producers of delectable sweet corn who are willing to sell me a few ears. My garden has gotten smaller. This year’s is just big enough to raise a fine crop of rabbits.

The cafe chronicles

A cafe veteran told me that the portions were small. The eatery was celebrating 20 years in business. He said that it was on its 10th pound of meat.

I asked the waitress if they had pork chops.

"I've heard that we do," she answered.

I ordered a fried egg and hash browns.

You don’t always see what you look for

Once upon a time, a local small city held a cow flop bingo contest. It was back before such enterprises needed gambling licenses. A patch of land was lined in chalk in a checkerboard pattern and each square numbered. A cow was fenced in on that turf. People bought the numbered squares and if their number was the one on which the cow deposited a cow pie, the purchaser of that square was a big winner of a cash prize. The cow didn't cooperate. One of my jobs during the city's annual celebration was to watch the constipated cow during part of a night to witness any deposit. We didn't want some out-of-towner moving the droppings from one square to another. There was no movement during my shift. It didn’t happen.

Speaking of movements, when we gathered for a meal in the old farmhouse, the radio was always on during threatening weather. If the guy on the radio said that the tornado sirens were sounding, we moved quickly. No, not to the basement, but outside. We couldn't see the weather from the basement.

Back to looking.

Pastor Joel DeNeui of Blue Earth said that he was at a county fair and wanted to talk to the county sheriff who was somewhere on the fairgrounds. He couldn't find the elusive police officer.

He encountered a friend who asked him what he was doing. Joel informed him that he was looking for the sheriff, but was unable to find him.

His friend replied, "It’s better to be looking for the sheriff than having the sheriff looking for you."

Nature notes

  Barn swallows are in great numbers in my yard. As barn swallows finish nesting, they begin to gather in migratory groups in July. The young stay with their parents during migration. August is the peak fall migration for barn swallows over much of Canada and the U.S. and the first individuals reach South America. Look for flocks along their migration pathways gathering on utility wires. The killing of egrets is often cited for inspiring the U.S. conservation movement, but it was the millinery trade’s impact on barn swallows that prompted naturalist George Bird Grinnell’s 1886 "Forest & Stream" editorial decrying this practice. His essay led to the founding of the Audubon Society. According to legend, this swallow got its forked tail because it stole fire from the gods to bring to people. An angry deity hurled a firebrand at the swallow, burning away its middle tail feathers. Barn swallows sometimes reuse old nests, but not those infested with mites or parasites. They remove old feathers and add mud. Shakespeare wrote, "True hope is swift, and flies with swallow's wings."

Meeting adjourned

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough — and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.”-- Melody Beattie


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