Senior center comes replete with characters

Published 9:34 am Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Tales From Exit 22 by Al Batt

Hartland is a wonderful place.

Its people are as good as those anywhere.

Email newsletter signup

Everyone is just trying to make it to the end of the day.

Time goes much too quickly, melting like one of Salvador Dali’s clocks.

We each choose our own particular brand of happiness. We each make news.

The Mad Batter Bakery is considering filing bankruptcy. Apparently the business ran out of dough.

Little Timmy Thompson got into the claw machine at Grease World. No one is sure how he got in there, but it took $14.75 worth of quarters before the little crane could get him out.

If we learn from our mistakes, Timmy is going to make Einstein seem like a dunce in comparison.

While on the subject of Grease World, that restaurant is now offering an appy meal to anyone with a cellphone.

A sign in the eatery reads, “Don’t throw money at your problems. Toss a couple of credit cards at them.”

Gnarly had quite a story to tell at the table of infinite knowledge at the Eat Around It Cafe.

Gnarly was driving home on Highway 13. His wife, poor Mrs. Gnarly, heard the traffic reports on her police scanner and called Gnarly on his cellphone.

“Are you still on Highway 13?” she asked Gnarly when he answered the ringtone that made a groaning sound.

“I am,” Gnarly replied. “I’ll be home in 20 minutes.”

“Please be careful,” pleaded poor Mrs. Gnarly. “I heard on the radio that there’s a nut driving in the wrong lane on Highway 13.”

“It’s not just one,” said Gnarly. “They’re all driving in the wrong lane!”

We get nearly our share of government. Will Rogers said, “Be thankful we’re not getting all the government we’re paying for.”

Gnarly claims that history is being made faster than we can pay for it. One of Gnarly’s ancestors might have said, “Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn’t have to do it himself without a government grant.”

Grant Grant (his parents liked the name so much, they named him twice) applied for a government grant to build a senior center, and the city got it.

Bill Jerome Holm was hired to do the construction. Bill’s head may be 12 inches long, but he doesn’t use it as a rule.

The first day of the project, Bill jumped from his truck and twisted his ankle. He went to see Dr. Splint Eastwood.

Bill, attempting to save a buck, asked Splint what he’d do if it were his ankle.

Splint thought it over before saying, “I reckon I’d limp, too.”

It wasn’t Bill’s day. He and his capable assistant were trying to determine the height of a flagpole that would stand in front of the center. The government needed that information. Bill didn’t have a ladder long enough. Gladys Overwith, teacher extraordinaire, decided to help her former students. Gladys took a wrench from her prodigious purse, loosened a couple of nuts and laid the pole on the ground. She grabbed Bill’s tape measure and quickly measured the flagpole.

Bill shook his head as Gladys walked away, “A lot of good that does us. We need the height and she gives us the length.”

The senior center was built despite Bill.

Entertainment was hired to celebrate the grand opening of the senior center. After Bob the Olson led the saying of the pledge of allegiance and the community listened to the musical stylings of Gerald Gherkin and his Pickles, it was time for the star of the show, Ed Knockemstiff, the hypnotist.

Ed stated that he was going to put the entire audience into a trance.

There was a buzz of excitement that ended when Ed produced a gold pocket watch dangling from a chain.

“Keep your eyes on this watch,” said Ed, holding it for all to see. “It’s a special watch that has been in my family for generations.”

Ed caused the watch to sway gently back and forth while chanting, “Watch the watch. Watch the watch. Watch the watch.”

The audience became mesmerized as the watch moved to and fro. Nearly 350 pairs of eyes followed the watch. They were hypnotized. Ed told them that they would do exactly as he commanded. He had them bark like dogs, stick fingers up their noses, and belch loudly.

And then, Ed accidentally dropped the watch. It fell to the stage and broke into pieces upon impact.

Ed isn’t a cussing man. Instinctively, Ed uttered his favorite mild expletive.

“Poop!” growled Ed.

It took three days to clean the senior center.


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