Echoes from the Loafers' Club Meeting
“I wish I had been born rich instead of so incredibly smart and breathtakingly handsome. I’d like to travel. The only place I ever go is into debt. By the time I am on Easy Street, turkeys will be chewing tobacco. I’d better get out and shake the money tree. I just gave an expensive piece of jewelry to my wife.”
“Did you have it engraved?”
“Yes, with the price.”

I came across it the other day.
I found it the way I find everything. I was looking for something else.
It was an old knife of my father’s. Dad carried it with him every day. It was so worn that the blades were mere slivers of their former selves. Any identification as to brand had long disappeared.
With this knife, Dad could cut a willow whistle almost as quickly as I could ask for one. He used it to clean his fingernails and then used the same knife to peel an apple. Dad could bring off the peel in one long, unbroken, thin strip before slicing off pieces and using a knife blade as a fork to guide the chunk to his mouth.
When my father did take a break from the nearly constant chores of a livestock-laden farm, he would sit and whittle on a stick with his knife. I recall my father telling me that he liked the knife because it had good metal in it.
I love the old knife, but I don’t use it. I can hear my father’s voice saying, “What good is a knife if you don’t use it?”
I consider carrying the knife in my pocket, but I am fearful of losing it and the memories it carries.

My mother took certain things quite seriously. Clean underwear was high on that list of things. I could not think of leaving the farm without wearing clean underwear. “What if you were in an accident?’’ she’d say. “What would people say if you were wearing dirty underwear?” I had mistakenly assumed that such a thing would be the least of my worries. It would be regrettable, tragic even, if I were to be run over by a school bus while on the way to the grammar school in Hartland. In time, the heartache would have loosened its grip on my mother. Recollections would have faded and become fuzzy, but the memory of that underwear that had been worn for more than a day would live forever.
“That’s Lucille Batt,” folks in Hartland would say in hushed tones, pointing at my mother as she stepped out of Sibilrud’s Cardinal Grocery Store. “Her son was the one run over by the school bus.”
“Not the boy who was wearing the dirty underwear?”
“The very same. His mother has never gotten over it.”

My wife and I are owned by two housecats. The cats love to dive into a closet door left open even the slightest.
Before we leave home, we have to count the cats to make sure there isn’t one locked in the closet.
Speaking for myself, I’m glad there are only two to count.

The London Times once asked a number prominent people to write essays on the topic, "What s Wrong with the World.” G. K. Chesterton’s reply was the shortest and most to the point:
“Dear Sirs: I am. Sincerely, G. K. Chesterton.”

I met a man in the grocery store. I had not seen him for some time and he had a forlorn look. 
"How are you doing?” I asked.
"I lost my wife," he said.
"Oh, I'm so sorry," I replied. “I didn’t know.”
"Oh, she'll show up," he said. "It's easy to lose her. It's a big store."

I was talking to the Holstein the other day. The Holstein is a retired milk cow, so she has time to talk. I bemoaned the fact that there has always been war during my lifetime. I wished aloud for peace. 
The Holstein chewed her cud thoughtfully and said, “I’ve discovered that there is nothing in the world that people are incapable of fighting over.”

Overwintering robins can be seen feeding on crabapple, hackberry, sumac, highbush cranberry, and other fruit-producing trees and shrubs. The robins being seen are overwintering birds and not spring migrants. Look for the migrants to arrive from March 1 to March 20. The migrants will be more colorful and flighty than those that spent the winter here.

Desmond Tutu said, “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” Be kind.


©Al Batt 2007