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Echoes From the Loafers’ Club Meeting

Remember when I played in the school band?

Band? It was a bunch of guys who made sounds by sticking their hands under their armpits.

You’re just jealous because you failed the tryouts.


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: It was a lovely day, the kind I’d like to order in bulk. I’d listened to some Aretha Franklin on my way to town. It’s great traveling music. The pharmacist asked me my birth date again. I’m pretty sure she's going to get me something nice for my birthday. Things were going so well. Then my barber asked if I wanted a blindfold.


Winter weight

The landline rang. I had to wrestle with the tangled phone cord as if it were an angry constrictor.

The caller was a friend asking me if I wanted to go out for lunch. He recommended something light as he was trying to lose a few pounds. I’ve often heard the advice that you can never be too rich or too thin.

I thought of my father and his generation of agricultural engineers. They weren’t given to eating foods they didn’t like in order to lose weight. Most of them worked too hard to have any weight to lose. They dieted in a different way.

At this time of the year, Dad would head off to Vivian’s Cafe to add winter weight. According to research reported by Johns Hopkins University, people tend to gain five to seven pounds on average during the winter months.

My father and other farmers of his era thought that it was a good idea to add a little insulation to protect against the cold and to have a few extra pounds to lose in case they became sick.


Wishing for warmer weather

The weather is chilling. My grandmother was fond of saying that such weather chilled her to her bones. That’s chilling.

I grew up in an old farmhouse with a hungry, but inept furnace. Jack Frost held elaborate art shows on my bedroom windows all winter.

I learned that I could wish for warmer weather and my wish would come true as long as I wished long enough.


A real horror movie

Horror movies and horrifying TV series remain popular. I look back on the horror movies of my youth as being more laughable than frightening. The Wolfman, Dracula and Frankenstein’s monster weren’t that scary on the big screen, nor as creepy as today’s zombies.

The scariest movie I saw in my early years was a filmstrip shown in shop class before we undertook woodworking. I think it was called, “Goodbye, finger.”


It’s what you get used to

My son and I went to a Minnesota Twins game at Met Stadium years ago. The Twins were having a bad year. There were so few fans in the stands that the public address announcer, Bob Casey, could have mentioned each one by name.

We liked the Twins even though they were good at losing. They were what we were used to.

My father came from a large family. His family was like many farm families in that each meal included meat and potatoes. Chicken was often on the menu. My father usually grabbed the neck and put it on his plate when he was a boy. He did so because he never had to fight anyone for the neck. Later, when he had his own farm and family, he still ate the neck. He’d grown to like it. It was what he was used to.


Nature notes

I saw a coyote near the airport in the Twin Cities. Coyotes are expanding their range. The more they are persecuted, the more they prosper. The one I spotted in the early morning looked big, maybe as much as 40 pounds. It had likely been eating a lot of rodents. A coyote’s coloration allows it to disappear quickly. I’d surprised a coyote walking along a road in Alaska one day. The animal climbed a sheer, rock wall as it were a flat prairie. Sparse vegetation growing from the wall allowed the animal to gain a foothold. It quickly put distance between itself and me. Wile E. Coyote couldn't have done it any better with an Acme rocket strapped to his body. All living things are amazing. The University of South Dakota’s athletic teams are nicknamed the Coyotes. Coyotes are cool. Just ask the 10,038 college students in Vermillion, South Dakota.


Meeting adjourned

Treat everyone with kindness, not because they are nice, but because you are.

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