Things will be better when winter is over

Published 8:43 am Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Column: Tales from Exit 22, by Al Batt

Snow, snow, go away. Come again some other day. During winter would be a good time to come again.

Weather is our constant companion, but this spring’s version needs editing. Winter refuses to leave. Apparently, not all the mittens have been lost yet. A coach’s advice for everything was to “walk it off.” It’s hard to walk off winter because of the ice.

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Folks have been staring in fear through the mini-blinds and wearing the faces they make when they want something to go away. My wife describes the season as “Fine.” That code word is used by females to indicate that it isn’t fine.

I’m reminded of the Hartland businessman interviewing five job applicants for a position at the local Think Tank. He asked each the same question, “How much is two and two?”

The newspaper columnist answered, “22.”

The engineer answered, “Between 3.999 and 4.001.”

The lawyer answered, “I have cited three court cases in which two and two was found to be four.”

The accountant answered, “How much do you want it to be?”

The meteorologist answered, “I have no idea.”

Many married couples have hyphenated last names. We should hyphenate our seasons. This one could be spring-winter.

An old neighbor once offered me a job helping him move hay bales. When I stopped by his house at the appointed time, I found him playing euchre (a card game) with some guys. They were his friends who’d driven up from his hometown in Iowa to surprise him. I hated to interrupt the frivolities, but I mentioned the hay that needed tending.

“It can wait,” he said. “The hay will still be here tomorrow. My friends will not.”

We need to consider winter an old friend.

I told my wife that I’d read an article saying there was talk about raising the speed limit to 75. I said there was no need. People are already driving faster than that. I used that article as a clever ruse to bring up another piece I’d read. That one concerned the number of words a woman uses in a day. It said that a woman utters 30,000 words daily to a man’s 15,000. My wife, The Queen B replied, “That’s because women have to repeat everything because men aren’t listening.”

I responded cleverly, “What?”

Maybe the weather isn’t a good listener.

I watched a baseball game. They’ve been hard to find this year because of the weather. They’ll need to start playing quadrupleheaders. The shortstop scooped up a ground ball nicely and then threw the ball over the first baseman’s head. There is often a gap between good intentions and good results in baseball and in life. Weather likely starts out with good intentions.

There is an old Ole and Lena story. All Ole and Lena stories are old and because I live in Hartland, I know that all Ole and Lena stories are true. The story goes that Ole was terminally ill. The old doctor, Splint Westwood, told him he had just a few hours left. Ole was in bed in an upstairs bedroom when he detected the odor of sugar cookies wafting up through the tiny heat register in the corner of the room. Ole loved sugar cookies almost as much as he loved Lena. He mustered what little energy he had left and crept down the steps. It was excruciatingly painful, but there were sugar cookies. He crawled through the living room into the kitchen. He pulled himself upright by the use of a kitchen chair and saw the treasure. A plate (one of the good plates) of sugar cookies, warm from the oven. In agony, he reached for the ecstasy. His fingers had almost touched the cookies, when Lena appeared out of nowhere to slap his hand.

“You leave those alone, Ole!” she admonished. “They’re for after your funeral.”

There will be good things after winter, just as there are after a funeral.

It’d be nice if a fellow could tickle himself. That would provide some giggles on a gloomy day. Have you ever wondered why we can’t tickle ourselves? The legend is that we were given a choice between being able to tickle ourselves and having NASCAR.

The ability to tickle ourselves would be a way that we could be tickled pink despite bad news. Newspaper headlines would read, “Massive job layoffs hit area. Everyone is tickled.”

Why can’t we tickle ourselves? The science isn’t there yet.

Winter will end just as surely as wind turbines produce wind.


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