This column has been censored by China

Published 9:15 am Wednesday, August 13, 2008


This column has been named the Official Newspaper Column of the 2008 Summer Olympics. It came as a great surprise to both me and the Olympics. My favorite Olympic sport is synchronized bowling.

Lessons while visiting

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I visit nursing homes as often as I am able. I do so for selfish reasons. I learn a lot during my visits. I meet many wonderful people. The visits make me feel as if I’m earning my allotted oxygen. I’ve noticed in my visits that I often hear about unfulfilled desires. I wish I had done this. I wish I had done that. I wish I had gone there. Seldom do I hear regrets from people about something they had done. It is usually, “I wish I had” and rarely, “I wish I hadn’t.”

The gimme-cap rule

No matter what color a free cap is, it goes with everything you wear.

A shopping experience

It was late in the afternoon and my bride had asked me to pick up a couple of things from a grocery store. I stopped at the food store, picked up the items and took them to the checkout. The cashier asked me if I wanted paper or plastic. I replied, “Paper, please.”

The cashier smiled and said that I was the first one who had said “please” all day. She added that she was happy to hear it.

I was pleased that saying “please” pleased her.

Driving the Pontiac way

The passenger kept telling me how to drive. He got on my nerves. He was driving me crazy. He kept correcting my driving. He acted like he knew everything about driving. I lost my temper. I yelled, “Would you please be quiet!”

That’s how I flunked my driver’s test.

Tornado memories

When I was in high school, a terrible tornado hit our area. It did a lot of damage. It was a sad thing. That’s why I was surprised to see a young man smiling.

I asked him what he was so happy about, as I knew his farm had been hit by the tornado.

“The tornado made my life easier,” he said.

“How could that be?” I asked.

“It moved the barn closer to the house.”

A good lesson

Mrs. Bach was my fifth and sixth grade teacher. I wrote a paper in her class that I thought worthy of Pulitzer Prize consideration. She gave me a B-. A friend had gotten an A on his paper. His paper was one long, rambling, rarely interrupted by punctuation, paragraph.

I complained to Mrs. Bach. That wasn’t something that was easy for me to do, but I felt the need to express my outrage because of my perceived unfairness.

She told me that my friend had gotten an A because he was doing the best he could. I received a B- because I was not doing the best that I could.

She was right. It was a good lesson learned.

The Official State Dork

We had show-and-tell in grade school. I took my dog. My dog was named Rex. She got the moniker in honor of Rex Allen, the Singing Cowboy. She was a female, but it didn’t seem to bother her at all being named after Rex Allen. Rex, the dog, was very smart — much smarter than her boy. I’m sure Rex Allen was much smarter than I was, too, but I didn’t hang around with him. I was determined to show my class and my teacher just how smart my dog was. I bragged about her incessantly.

When it was my turn, I brought Rex to the front of the class. She was delighted in being there. As a demonstration of her brilliance, I asked, “Rex, how much is two plus two minus four?”

Rex sat silently.

“Right!” I exclaimed.

It was a very good day.

Overheard only because she was yelling into a cell phone

A young woman in Cable, Wis., said, “I’m engaged or whatever.”

Tattoo tales

The man in Rock Falls, Illinois, had an interesting tattoo. It was a tattoo of a young man. I asked whom the tattoo depicted. He replied that it was an image of him as a young man. He wanted people to know that he hadn’t always looked like he does today.

The anniversary

I congratulated the man on his 50th wedding anniversary. I commented that 50 years was a long time.

He said, “It felt like five minutes.”

I was about to tell him what a sweet statement that was to make, when he added, “Underwater.”

I wonder

We use “springtime,” “summertime” and “wintertime” to describe seasons of the year. Why don’t we ever say “falltime” or “autumntime”?

Hartland resident Al Batt’s columns appear every Wednesday and Sunday.