Mothers, deer, graduates, reunions, wisdom

Published 9:53 am Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Tales from Exit 22 by Al Batt

Mothers get flowers, candy, or dinner for Mother’s Day.

On Father’s Day, fathers get something, too. Usually, it’s a phone call that goes something like this, “Hi, Dad. Happy Father’s Day. Let me talk to Mom.”

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Dad had one check in his wallet. Mom had money in her purse. She’d dig deep when it was required. She was always willing to give me some of her moolah at 6 percent interest. Mom was a keeper.

Whenever I did something I shouldn’t have or didn’t do something I should have, Mom called me by both my first and middle names. That’s the reason we have middle names.

Jan Jerdee of Albert Lea told me that deer are common sights in her yard. A doe brought her young triplets there. Because of a reluctant spring, there was little for them to eat. The doe stood on her hind legs and kicked persistent crabapples from the branches of a tree. The fawns ate the crabapples as the doe served as sentry. Jan added, “A mother is a mother.”

I saw a tot’s T-shirt that read, “My Mom is cute. My Dad is lucky.”

Tenneva Jordan said, “A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.”

My mother cooked so much, the stove was bowlegged. Occasionally, something was burned while dinner was being constructed. My mother proclaimed, “That’s just the way I like it!”

It wasn’t, but she ate the burned portion and served the properly-prepared portions to others.

She was a sunshine factory.

Her willingness to sacrifice sustains me still.

The best thing to give your mother for Mother’s Day is you.



It won’t be long before you’ll be hearing something like this.

A succinct speech would consist of a single word, “Goodbye.”

Graduation speeches are never that concise.

You have gone from skipping to class to skipping class to having no class. You are the people your parents warned you about.

The days of wearing underwear that has been ironed and folded have ended.

I see the caps and gowns. You are sharp dressers.

You are about to graduate.

Roses are red. Violets are blue. You’d better buy a window. Because it’s curtains for you.

When your name is called, cameras will flash and your family will clap, whistle, cry, and breathe a collective sigh of relief at another passage of your life.

Your principal will shake one hand and put a diploma in the other. If you’re thinking of using a joy buzzer to shake his hand, here’s a handy tip. Don’t do that.

You’ll miss your mother’s good cooking, unless she’s a bad cook. Then you’ll miss your mother’s bad cooking.

The world is not a tray of cookies. There are things worth knowing that make it an easier place to live. Things like these.

Never look at your thumb while swinging a hammer.

Your life isn’t defined by what you’ve done so far.

Righty-tighty, lefty-loosey.

Seek faith. The brand is your choice.

Don’t trust Google to have all the answers.

Sing. Don’t worry about being off-key.

Don’t take the easy path nor the one that is so difficult you’ll miss the scenery. Weave life and work together into a tapestry of fulfillment.

There are two sides to every fence.

Life will sucker-punch you.

A vegetarian ate my canoe. Oh, forget I mentioned that. I have some personal things that I’m working through. You’ll always have personal things to work through.

You can’t match another’s pain.

Nothing is foolproof to a stubborn fool.

Accept that change is inevitable. Life has a revolving door. Time passes quickly. Zealous clocks chime. Take a good look at your classmates. It might be the last time you’ll see some of them. You have been through so much together, but “Pomp and Circumstance” changes everything. You will lose touch with many of your high school friends. Those who sat next to you every day in English class will wander into your life every 10 years or so. At reunions, you’ll catch yourself squinting to read the nametags that make sense of faces grown unfamiliar. Avoid this aggravation by staying in touch with your high school friends.

When you have figured things out, you will be wrong.

I should provide you with some stunning words of wisdom, but I don’t have any. I trust you’ll find some.

I hope you never hear the bloodhounds on your trail.


Hartland resident Al Batt’s columns appear every Wednesday.