A guide in case a motorist stops in Hartland

Published 8:24 am Wednesday, April 15, 2009

My neighbor Crandall stopped by to pick me up.

We went to town. Crandall and I don’t get around much anymore. That’s because not one of the stores in Hartland has revolving doors. We go to the bowling alley once a week just to have our shoes sprayed.

Crandall’s Ford Fossil always gets us to where we want to be, but we’re much older by the time we get there. The car has a carburetor made by Hoover Vacuum Cleaner Company. It really sucks gas.

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We listened to KRAP on the car radio because we do wonder who put the bop in the bop-she-bop-she-bop. Good music comes from KRAP. We give ears to Earl E. Reiser, the weather guesser, who uses fog to forecast the weather. It’s a method called fognostication.

We didn’t spend any time looking for a parking place. There is always parking available. Hartland is so small that it’s impossible to play hide-and-go-seek. There are no places to hide. We are outside the shadows of tall buildings. We are so far away from everything that we don’t have global warming yet.

Blank signs dot the town. The Local Sign Painters Union is on strike.

Hartland has installed phone booths on every corner so cell phone users will have a place to talk in private. The biggest business in Hartland is the 427-pound Avon man.

We stopped at Pandora’s Lunchbox for breakfast — where the specialty is running out of silverware, brown is a flavor, and ketchup works miracles. You can tell it’s a good restaurant because the ketchup comes in bottles. The waitresses are hotdishes that serve meals with side effects that may include dizziness, severe rash, loss of hair, sore throat, diarrhea, amnesia, boils, dry heaves, indigestion and scurvy.

After breakfast, we paused at the spot where the Dead Sea squirrels were discovered. There we visited the opossum graveyard where one opossum will go to die repeatedly. It reminded us that the Roadkill Adventure Park would open soon. The Opossum ride is very popular. Imagine the thrill of being on an opossum attempting to cross a road. The Ultimate Pillow Fighting Championship will be held at the Park this year. The theme park is extremely popular. The theme is people waiting in line.

We made a stopover at The One Thing Store. It’s for shoppers who need to get just one thing. Crandall needed a vacuum cleaner bag with a dipstick so he would know when it was full. It was there where Scooter asked us if we knew what was yellow and invisible. Scooter told us the answer before we could guess. No bananas.

Crandall paid $15 to Conan the Barber for a $10 haircut that he used to get for $5. A crowd gathered to watch the haircut. There are those who say we are starved for entertainment.

We made an appearance at the Hartland Loafer’s Club Meeting. There is always a quorum, but never a vote. There is always more thought required before any action could be taken. We sit around for an hour doing nothing. We talk about how we could do even less and then we rest. We’re big believers in gravity.

Still Bill, he rests before he gets tired, tells us that deer crossing signs prove that deer cannot read and that he spotted a 43-point buck rabbit near the Clearly New Nuclear Power Plant.

Heybob told us he was trying to find a Swiss Army wife.

Hollowhead advised us that if we are going to cross-country ski, we should start with a small country.

Worrying Elmer admitted that in an effort to impress the beautiful new bank teller, he told her that when his father dies, Worrying Elmer would become a multi-millionaire. She asked him for his business card and then married Worrying Elmer’s father.

Crandall and I share memories. We are of the generation in which body piercing involved a power tool and someone yelling, “Oh, stop your bleeding!” We remember going on hayrides with a classmate named Grandpa. He was named after his grandfather. The hayrides weren’t much. We’d put a saddle on a hay bale. We remember when the school lunch ladies wore dolphin-safe hairnets and tattoos of their favorite government surplus food. Our families milked Holsteins. My family tried milking Jersey cows, but the commute from Minnesota to New Jersey was too much.

There are other places where we could be. Why do we stay in Hartland? We listen to KRAP and heed the advice of Carly Simon who sang, “And stay right here, ’cause these are the good old days.”

These are the good old days. Sometimes we need reminding.

If you can’t stop, smile when you go by. Hartland is well worth driving past.

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