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Home Country

Slim Randles, columnist

By Slim Randles

Herb Collins was back out in the yard again Saturday. The noise made the neighbors go to the windows and peek out to see what was going on, because yard work and noise and Herb have never gone together.

Mystery solved. Herb has a new gas-powered lawn mower. Last Saturday was the final outing for his quiet electric lawn mower, as he once again ran over the cord and cut it. The cord finally had more patches than a quilting bee, and Herb had opted for a gas mower that didn't require an umbilical link to the front porch.

Home Country

Slim Randles, columnist

By Slim Randles

Down at the sale barn Saturday, the think tank had coagulated there with coffees to go to celebrate spring. Doc and Dud had their dogs with them, while Bert and Dewey and Steve went stag.

Dud tried to start a conversation, but the loudspeaker soon drove them outside, where they arrayed themselves on dropped tailgates and waited to hear what Dud had in mind.

"I thought about it a lot," Dud said, "and I wondered what the favorite part of my job was, and wondered if you fellas ever gave that any thought, too."

Home Country

Slim Randles, columnist

By Slim Randles

When the Rafter E branded recently, a bunch of us went out to help. It's a badge of pride to have worked your way up the branding ladder.

As a kid, you flank the calves; you grab them, throw them and hold them down. This is conducive to abrasions, muscle strain, and involuntarily changing the color of your shirt.

Home Country

Slim Randles, columnist

By Slim Randles

My first wife came from a ranching family way back up in the hills and had a cousin, Ted, who was a hounddog man.

I talked my way into hunting with him, of course.

All went well until we were on the way home, when a badger ran across the road and dove into a large culvert pipe.

 "Oh wow!" Ted yelled. "Let's get him!"

He released most of the hounds and they plugged both ends of the culvert pipe with bawling insults. In the dead center of the pipe was a snarling badger.

Home Country

Slim Randles, columnist

By Slim Randles

There was Doc, just cruising around slowly on a warm Saturday, alone with his thoughts, which kinda centered around "I sure am lucky to live here."

Then he saw the carboard boxes with bricks on top to hold them down in the wind, and an arrow on the front.

Saling! Yard saling! It's that season again. And of course he had to stop. Especially if you hadn't been yard saling in months.

Home Country

Slim Randles, columnist

Slim Randles

It happened just the other day for the first time since ... Halloween? Yeah, around then.

Sun. Yes, the sun came out and put the tiniest tickle of warmth right there on the back of the neck, and that flipped the switch into springtime and left us dreaming of tire swings on Lewis Creek, casting stonefly nymphs to tempt a rainbow trout,  planting things that will one day give shade to us and others. We even look forward to mowing the lawn! Well, the first mowing, anyway.

After that, it becomes a chore.

Home Country

Slim Randles, columnist

By Slim Randles

Janice Thomas came in the Mule Barn for breakfast the other day, and sat at the counter for the first time. She usually gets one of the tables, or a booth against the wall. We were kinda flattered that she'd come sit with us, but wondered why. After all, this high school art teacher never has been one to sit down and solve the world's problems, the way we do.

She didn't keep us waiting long, though.

"Boys," she said, "I have a deer pointer."

She let the silence pounce heavily on our sweet rolls while we pondered this.

Home Country

Slim Randles, columnist

By Slim Randles

I was one of the half-dozen guys holding Isaac Okleasik's sled down while his dozen-plus sled dogs were screaming and lunging. It was the first Saturday in March back in 1973, and Isaac was one of the first mushers to leave on the first Iditarod Sled Dog Race. I was wearing bib number 37, and since we let a team go every two minutes, I had plenty of time to help others before it was my turn.

Home Country

Slim Randles, columnist

by Slim Randles

  Marjorie Pincus looked out the front window at her husband, Marvin, and smiled. No matter how old he gets, she thought, he'll always be the boy I remember, riding his bicycle through this town so many years ago.