Echoes From the Loafers’ Club Meeting
I’ve found something that works better than exercise and a diet.
I’ve hidden all my mirrors. Mirrors don’t lie.
I’m just glad they don’t laugh.
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: Wait until January to buy a thermometer. They are lower then. You’re never too old to learn something that is incorrect. Cheesecake is pie. Honolulu passed a law that fines pedestrians up to $35 for using their digital devices while crossing streets.
The nurse told me to get undressed.
“Completely?” I asked. I thought it was a reasonable question.
“Don’t worry,” she said. “If I see something I’ve never seen before, I’ll hit it with my clipboard.”
It wasn’t long before I was going for a ride on a gurney.
I traveled the maze of Methodist Hospital, the gurney barely fitting through some of the doors. The gurney’s pilot was skilled. As one door closed, another door opened.
Someone asked me how I was doing. I replied, “I’m fine.”
I meant it.
When you say that you’re fine, do you mean it? British research has found that the average adult says “I’m fine” 14 times a week. About 34 per cent used that response because it was easier than explaining how they really felt. And 23 per cent said it because they thought the person asking wasn't really that interested. Nearly a third of those polled said they often lied to other people about how they felt. I guess that’s O.K. as 59 percent of adults expect someone to lie to them about how they’re feeling.
A friend, Bo Beolens of England, sent me good wishes on my surgery with this suggestion, ”My advice is tell the knifeman that your whole family are the most litigious on the whole of North America despite the number of them that are retired ‘hit men.’”
The canine chronicles
We owned a Chihuahua. Or he owned us. The neighbors had 14 Great Danes. The big dogs bounded about like a herd of deer. Their droppings were of monumental size and were excellent fertilizer for our lawn’s dandelions. A friend stopped by one day and mentioned that I probably was worried about my tiny dog’s safety around the large canines. I said that I had nothing to worry about. I told him that my dog, Sancho, could hold his own. I added that he had killed one of the Great Danes. Sancho got stuck in its throat and the Great Dane had choked to death.
I joined in with nursing home residents as they sang familiar songs. One was an old English lullaby, “Twinkle, twinkle, little star. How I wonder what you are. Up above the world so high. Like a diamond in the sky.”
I wonder about this Halloween superstition. Catch a snail on Halloween and place it in a covered dish. The next day you’ll see that the snail had written the first letter of your sweetheart’s name in slime.
From the food front
Gail Levorson of Albert Lea said that when she was a girl and company was coming for a meal, the meal often became an FHB. That stood for “Family Hold Back” meaning that the family members should limit their food intake to make certain there would be enough for the visitors.
Lois Anderson of Albert Lea said that her family had favored mustgo. That meant a casserole would be made from what was in the refrigerator. Everything “must go.”
A long, twisting flock of blackbirds flew overhead. They filled the air with music. Most of them were red-winged blackbirds, with some European starlings, common grackles and brown-headed cowbirds mixed in. One winter flock in the Great Dismal Swamp on the Virginia and North Carolina border was estimated to have contained 15 million blackbirds. There is safety in numbers. A flock is like a wagon train. It provides more eyes and ears to search for food and spot predators, increasing the chance of an individual bird surviving. Hawks sometimes attack flocks of flying birds, but often fail to capture a single bird after the flock closed ranks to form a mass that the hawks were unwilling to penetrate for fear of being injured.
I watched the flock go by. I ascertained its number by counting the legs and dividing by two.
My gratitude goes to Sheryl Young of Sandusky, Ohio, for some quotes on kindness. In a world full of people who couldn't care less, be someone who cares more.