The Hartland Loafers meeting comes to order

Published 9:10 am Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Hartland Loafers’ Club meets each morning. We gather for about an hour. We do nothing. We talk about how we could do even less. Then we go home and rest.

The meeting gives us something to do during that time that we used to spend being able to touch our toes. Most of us are no longer up to hijinks and shenanigans. At best, we’re capable of a single hijink or a lone shenanigan.

We are of the ilk that finds pleasure in reading an actual newspaper held in our hands.

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“Radio is for people who are too lazy to read, and TV is for people who are too lazy to listen,” grumbled Mal Content.

We need tell only the first sentence of a story. Everyone has heard the rest. We have no need for awkward segues. We move from subject to subject as Tiger Woods moved from woman to woman.

There are the required insults.

“Hugh Mungus, that pot of yours makes you look like you’re smuggling a basketball. You should be standing under a rainbow,” said Les Ismore.

“You might be able to spell rainbow, but you wouldn’t spell it right,” Hugh retorted.

“Oh, yeah? You couldn’t teach multiplication to rabbits,” shot back Les.

We complained that the thermometer was running a little fast.

We discussed BP—both of them. The BP that turned the Gulf of Mexico into an oil slick and Blooming Prairie, home of a church that feeds lutefisk to the multitudes who consume so much butter-dripping fish that the earth tips slightly on its axis.

We moaned about the economy. The Big Bin Clock Company (located in a grain bin) had gone digital and laid off many old hands. A couple of fellows threw in a “Tch, tch.” A raised-hand vote was taken and all were in favor of continuing to have an economy. We remembered when we were kids and didn’t have an economy.

Someone brought up the emerald ash borer and the destruction it could bring to our trees.

“Guess what I have standing right in the middle of my yard?” asked Possum.

“An ash tree?”

“No, a debt collector,” said Possum. “Creditors have better memories than I do. It’s hard to be frugal when you have nothing to frug. My wallet is as empty as last year’s bird nests. I can’t afford to eat. I’m just swallowing from memory. I swallowed my false teeth. On a cold day, my stomach chatters.”

Budgets are difficult to understand for those who have never had money to budget.

We griped about the moodiness of cell phones and speculated that, in the whole wired world, smoke signals might be the most dependable form of communication.

“My windshield has a chip in it. One of the countless trucks carrying gravel got me,” I said.

The lawyer, Sue Furst, perked up, and said, “Sue them all.”

If you have a gold tooth, keep your mouth shut around her.

We are Midwesterners. We live by the philosophy, “It could be worse.”

If it does get worse, we resort to uttering, “Uffda.”

“We have a lot to be thankful for,” I interject.

“Yeah, like you not making most of the Loafers’ Club meetings,” said my neighbor Crandall.

Everyone nodded in approval.

Crandall was cranky. He’d just walked into a mirror and bent his nose. He didn’t see himself coming.

“Crandall has a point,” said Still Bill, a picture of health that had outgrown its frame. “You don’t notice it when he’s wearing a hat.”

We are as full of cracks as an old corncrib. We spend so much time sharpening our wits that we do have pointed heads.

There was a consensus among the members that life has more bugs than a picnic lunch, but there are reasons to be grateful.

“Winter seldom lasts more than seven months,” said Don’t Call Me Bob. He is, admittedly, an optipess. He figures there is a 50-50 chance of everything.

“Eli Whitney, the fellow who developed a way of making gin out of cotton,” added Shiftless.

“We live within walking distance of Disney World — if you have a really good pair of shoes,” stated C. Howie Runn.

Others threw in sweet corn, homegrown tomatoes, snap peas, loved ones (especially grandchildren because they think we’re smart and we don’t owe them any money), socks that don’t sag into our shoes, fireflies, memories, getting 15 minutes more sleep, and taking shoes off after a long day.

I nominated a good pillow that knows its owner’s head.

The next time you’re feeling sorry for yourself, ask someone in a nursing home or a hospital to count your blessings for you.

As Reed Wright, the retired English teacher, said as the meeting adjourned, “It ain’t all bad — ever.”

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