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Echoes From the Loafers’ Club

Your necktie is covered in food stains.

I know that.

Why don’t you have it cleaned?

I’d rather just lick it whenever I’m hungry.


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: One of the Bruces is moving before the end of the year. Southside Bruce is moving to an eastern state to be nearer to his daughter. Sadly, it’s like a good neighbor to move away. He has been a perfect neighbor and I’ll miss him.


I will wear it with pride

There is clock time, calendar time and lifetime. Troubled times ignore clock and calendar while seeming to last a lifetime.

My mother-in-law Lorraine Nelson of New Richland, and my sisters-in-law Donna Swenson of Waseca and Mary Bushlack of New Richland gave me a “I pooped today” T-shirt. That T-shirt reflected one of my goals after a recent surgery. I’ll try to wear it in all family photos.

A case of the miseries focuses the mind. Learn from yesterday. Live for today. Hope for tomorrow. There were days that didn’t spark as much joy as I’d have liked. Nurses hid pills in my mashed potatoes. I spit them out thanks to the training I’d received from family dogs. The hospitalizations and various procedures were a lot when I think about them. They were a lot when I don’t think about them. As this chapter of my life comes to an end, I find myself happily burdened by the future.


I’m a free-range consumer of soup and pie

My father was scribbling away in the kitchen, adding penciled notations to notebooks. His farm office was the kitchen table. My mother, in the midst of preparing breakfast, expressed her desire to go to a feed at a church in the city. The supper was held a bit earlier than those at rural churches that had to deal with the schedules of dairy farmers. My father said that the cows had priority over a meal in church, but mother could go. He said that if he ever got rid of the milk cows, he could keep winter hours.

I milk cows only in my memories, so I’m more free-range than my father was.

I blew the $20 weekly allowance that my wife gave me. It isn’t as bad as it sounds. She doesn’t care where I spend the money.

My wife and I attended a soup and pie supper at Round Prairie Lutheran Church in Twin Lakes. I had chili with oyster crackers. The chili was excellent and that combination is one of my favorite cold weather meals. My meal concluded with a glass of milk accompanied by cherry pie topped in whipped cream.

I hope Dad didn’t know what he was missing.


Sometimes it’s better not to be a good listener

It was one of those thrilling days of yesterday.

“Watch where you step,” I told the youngster as he visited the barn.

He smiled and intentionally stepped into a fresh cowpie.

I couldn’t be angry with him because he did exactly what I told him to do. He watched before he stepped. He even took the time to aim.

He was unlike the two people I overheard in a clinic’s waiting room. The couple from Northern Minnesota finished one another’s sentences — incorrectly according to their reactions.

The husband said, “I’m too tired to drive today.”

“I’ll drive,” said the wife.

“You don’t know where you’re going.”

“You could tell me.”

“I’d like to tell you where to go,” he mumbled quietly in the hopes that his wife wouldn’t hear.

She said nothing.

Maybe she pretended that she hadn't heard him. Perhaps she was a practitioner of the fine art of selective hearing.


Nature notes

Mourning doves are here all year, but the doves of winter might not be the doves of summer. Your cold season doves might be migrants. They have a differential migration, a complicated move related to a bird’s age and sex. They move south September to November. The young leave first, then the females and lastly the males. Some birds, mostly males, don’t migrate. The doves in my yard in the winter are predominantly males. They risk frostbitten toes to get a jump on establishing prime breeding territories in early spring. Males are slightly larger, their breasts are rosier and their heads are brighter and more iridescent.


Meeting adjourned

“That best portion of a good man's life: his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love.“--William Wordsworth

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