In the Catbird Seat/Joe Kirkish

Hi, Boss, it’s me, Archie, your philosophical cockroach, fresh from Gotham. Why do I keep coming back? Because I like it here – the people and your summers, nothing like them – and because, Boss, you always leave tasty crumbs around your computer.

“I like the old timers here, Boss. I might not always agree with everything they say, but what the hey, when they’ve lived this long, their thoughts ought to be worth hearing.”

So Archie, chewing on crumbs, bounced head first onto the keys of this old computer once again with samples he overheard:

As a little kid I liked visiting out at the old homestead – up in Elo there, where our grandfolks settled down a long time back, farmed, raised kids who grew up, got married, and left during the war for Detroit. As kids we’d visit them, staying overnight all over the house in sleeping bags or with blankets on the floor. It was fun. I knew there was a difference between them and my folks; they looked older, just like our parents were older looking than we was. No past, no future, just where we would be in between. Then, when our grandparents died and our folks began to look like their folks did, it was hard to accept that we was beginning to look like our parents. The farthest thing from my mind was that my muscles would weaken, my skin would sag, my hair change, and all the rest. But I’m old now. That cute little girl with a hula hoop in the picture on my wall; she’s not me no more. I’m thinking, what’s next?

It’s been a bad winter, I never seen the likes of it, ever. Snow, melt, slush, snow again. Is this climate change already? I won’t be around long enough to see the worst of it, I guess, but what about my kids and my kids’ kids and other people and animals and plants? If Africa turns into a huge desert and our Midwest into one big soggy swamp not good.

Politics! Why are we in this mess, not just overseas, but here, where politicians say lots, but do nothing. Too much phony crabbing. I wonder, is our president as bad as Republicans say or are they only hoping to win the next election, making him look bad? If new is better, why do styles change, making last year’s ‘new; this year’s ‘old’? And go on changing? And does anybody know what’s right and what’s wrong anymore? Making money at the expense of others, now OK? Drugs good? Abortion? Sex? To get praise today – just publicly admit to something that we used to think was a sin and before you know it, even politicians are cheering. Where’s the ten commandments?

I like guns. I shot a 22 when I was eleven, hunting with my dad; and I got pretty good at it. But my gun was only used for hunting season. Same with my friends. Seems it’s in the cities where there’s trouble – why? Do they need a convention to work it out? I couldn’t never respect any group that has the likes of Sarah Palin on their side.

I never smoked corn silk with other guys, never sampled anything stronger than home made root beer. I learned a lot from my older brother about girls, most of which was not what my parents would tell me. I grew up, listened, and learned how to make decisions. Sometimes I wish I had married, especially now that I’m 78 and would like to settle into old age with someone beside me. Well, I may not always be happy, but mostly I’m content. I guess that’s OK.

Today would be our 50th wedding anniversary if Charlie was still here – a long time for two people to live together, raise kids, manage to live on the salary he made working at the Haas brewery and still save a little for old age. The 30s was tough – lived off a little garden, and with some chickens, we managed. When I think of people complaining because they can’t afford a bigger TV set or a smarter cell phone – well, they should try living on potatoes and beans, and walking because we couldn’t afford a car. But we managed, and I think all that tough living just brought us closer together. I miss him, you know, but I still have plenty good memories, you betcha.

Note: Last Green Film for the year: “Chasing Ice” – 7 p.m., Thursday, May 9, Forestry building.

Rotten Tomato average: “Iron Man 3,” A-