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PROMO 660 x 440 People - Slim Randles

I was recently invited to join Bob Milford, manager of the prestigious Diamond W Ranch, on a drive-around tour of the place. It's a huge, private ranch, with tiny ex-logging roads winding around through 13,000 acres of pine trees and rocks. A real paradise.

But I was horrified to see wooden street signs nailed to trees wherever two of these old logging trails came together.

"Oh no," I said, out loud.

"What's the matter?" Bob asked.

"I see you're planning a subdivision here."

Home Country

PROMO 660 x 440 People - Slim Randles

The latest topic du jour at the world dilemma think tank is Dud Campbell's trapline. It should be noted that no animals were harmed in the production. In fact, the "victims" of Dud's trapline probably gained a pound or two during the ordeal.

Home Country

PROMO 660 x 440 People - Slim Randles

I think there must be autumnal reasons for Halloween being hued in orange and black. It's a fun time, a magic evening if you're a kid, and if you're a grandpa-type guy, like me, who gets to hand out the goodies.

But the colors of this sweet evening celebration are orange and black, and so is October. In another week or so, our deciduous trees will stand like skeletons against the gray skies of winter, but now we have the orange and black of fall.

Home Country

PROMO 660 x 440 People - Slim Randles

It's fall, and time once again for the Chipper Invitational Golf Tournament here in the valley. You remember Chipper, Doc's imaginary squirrel? The one who was squirrel-napped?

Doc named the annual golf tournament to raise money for coats for kids who need them after good 'ol Chipper, since the golf tournament itself was just about as genuine as the squirrel.

Home Country

PROMO 660 x 440 People - Slim Randles

Mrs. Doc watched the dancers swirl around the cleared hardwood floor of the Legion hall, and smiled to see her husband, Doc, waltzing with Ardis Fisher. But Mrs. Doc was never one to sit out a waltz, so she looked around at the menu.

Over in the corner, smiling and tapping his foot, was Pop Walker. Pop and several other residents of the Rest of Your Life retirement home were there to enjoy the dance and celebrate the end of summer.  Pop has a hard time with his memory, these days, but always forgets things with a smile.

"Pop," said Mrs. Doc, "how about a dance?"

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PROMO 660 x 440 People - Slim Randles

Old Jasper Blankenship bought a deer license again this year, just as he's done every year since Eisenhower was President. He sticks nickels and dimes in a jar all year long and smiles each time he contributes. By Fall, he's saved up enough for a deer tag.

Jasper lives full-time out at the diggin's with his dog, Arthur, of course, so he has only to walk about 100 feet from the cabin to do his hunting. That's one of the marvels of it.

Home Country

PROMO 660 x 440 People - Slim Randles

Our resident cowboy, Steve, brought us the shocking news: cowpuncher Three-Chord Cortez, that bunkhouse balladeer, plans to study opera, in hopes an aria or three will make him even more attractive to girls during a serenade. Apparently, singing La Donna Mobilemight be more effective than "You don't know what lonesome is 'til you start herding co-o-o-ows" ... especially if she doesn't speak European.

I thought I'd jot down a few opera-watching truths for ol' T.C. just to help him out.

1. Take off your hat. You can keep jujubes in it if you want.

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PROMO 660 x 440 People - Slim Randles

"Don't you just love this time of year?" said Doc. "Football season. Rodeo finals coming up soon. Time to go hunting. All that stuff."

Windy Wilson sipped at his coffee. Oh good. Doc gave us another topic.

"Sports," Windy said. "thems my putner fav-o-rite things ... well, 'long with dogs ... and country musicals and that kinder thing."

The guys at the philosophy counter of the Mule Barn truck stop grinned at Windy, who has yet to encounter a sentence or thought he couldn't improve.

Home Country

PROMO 660 x 440 People - Slim Randles

One of the great pleasures of hanging around down at the livestock auction barn each Saturday morning is being able to take your dog along.

Why do we go to the sales barn? We love agriculture, and it's part of living here to see who buys what and rejoice in their good fortune, even if our own grass is stressed to the limit by whatever varmint we're currently feeding. Or, it could be that we figure we've already lived too long, and if the right horse or cow comes through there, and we buy it, our wives will see to it that we don't suffer in agony for untold years.

Home Country

PROMO 660 x 440 People - Slim Randles

You have to look for the schism, Jasper said to himself out at the woodpile. He put another chunk of firewood up on the splitting block and took a look at the checking cracks that ran part way through the circles of age rings. 

If I hit it right there, he said to himself, it should cleave.

"What do you think, Arthur? If I hit it right there...?"