Home Country — Just when you think it can’t get any colder, that’s when it warms up

December 8, 2015

NEW — 1:13 p.m. Dec. 8, 2015

Windy Wilson was cruising around the other day, in search of an audience, but the cold drove him indoors … at the elementary school cafeteria.

  “What’s that you say? Coldest you ever been? Well, kids, let me tell you somethin’ about cold!

Slim Randles

Slim Randles

“When I was just a tad, we was comin’ off what they used to call an Ice Age, you know. Thassa fact. It was so cold back then we had to use special thermometers to see how cold it was. Mixed anti-freeze in with the mercury or it wouldn’t work. If you had a regular thermometer, had to bring it in the house to make it work. Read more

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Home Country — Doc hits the bullseye on winter coat fundraiser

December 1, 2015

NEW — 4:43 p.m. Dec. 1, 2015

Well, it’s Fall and time once again for Doc’s annual golf tournament to raise money for kids’ winter clothes. But the recent heavy rains have kinda wiped out his “golf course” on two adjoining farms and a patch of woods. But Doc is nothing if not creative.

Slim Randles

Slim Randles

“This year, boys,” he said, sitting down and flipping his cup upright at the Mule Barn truck stop’s philosophy counter, “we have to do something different to raise money for those coats.” Read more

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Home Country — Math is on the side of the hunter vs. the gatherer

November 17, 2015

NEW — 4:21 p.m. Nov. 17, 2015

In our part of the country, fall means deer hunting. Many of us will dress up like a pile of leaves, go out into very cold weather and sit still until we freeze to death.

Slim Randles

Slim Randles

Why? Because we want to have some venison this winter for the family. We’ll figure out how much the venison costs us … but only at gunpoint, since this is not the most fiscally sane thing we do each year. Read more

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Home Country — Sometimes all you need is a sign that you’re lost

November 10, 2015

NEW — 3:21 p.m. Nov. 10, 2015

I was invited recently 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.

Slim Randles

Slim Randles

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

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Home Country — Never regret to follow up on a compliment

November 3, 2015

NEW — 4:17 p.m. Nov. 3, 2015

Windy found his audience out the side door of the sale barn, admiring a pen of cattle they had no intention of buying.

“Hey there, Doc, Dud, Steve.”

“Hey Windy, how’s it going?”

Slim Randles

Slim Randles

“Well, sir, I’m tickled you asked …”

Doc groaned. Read more

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Home Country — With fall comes a break from that insidious squash

October 26, 2015

NEW — 8:49 p.m. Oct. 26, 2015

Squash. One of the English language’s most painful words, along with maim and trauma and rend and okra and Liberace. Why would anyone want to eat something that sounds as though someone sat on it?

Slim Randles

Slim Randles

The bottom-line truth is, cooks all over the place love a challenge, and they have tried valiantly to turn squash into an edible dish. To do this, they take one tenth of a portion of squash, boil as much of the squashiness as they can out of it, then immerse it in nine-tenths something that tastes good and hope no one will notice. You know, stuff like chile, mutton, edible vegetables, nuclear waste, cottonwood bark and even chocolate. Then, when you can’t taste the squash in it, and most of the slime has settled to the bottom, they smile and say,

“How do you like my ‘Squash Canneloni ala Hershey con Brio?” Read more

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Home Country — Happiness can multiply like rabbits

October 15, 2015

NEW — 5:25 p.m. Oct. 15, 2015

When Dewey Decker bought that acre on the edge of town from Gil Masterson, it astonished some people, but others, like Doc, just smiled and nodded.

Slim Randles

Slim Randles

It’s a natural progression. Gil raises vegetables on a large scale, and the rumor is that it was at least partially paid for in “product,” because Dewey is the undisputed Pharaoh of Phertilizer in these parts.

Read more

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Home Country — Writing inspiration comes from many places

October 14, 2015

NEW — 1:59 p.m. Oct. 14, 2015

Dud walked out in his back yard thinking about his book. It’s so frustrating, and he can’t even talk to Anita about it. There’s a strange thing about writing a book, he learned. If you tell someone about it before it’s written … well, you’ve told the story already, haven’t you? So then, why write it?

This makes writing a book one of the loneliest jobs in the world. A guy in a Forest Service lookout tower would seem like a cruise ship recreation director compared to a book writer. At least that’s what Dud was thinking as he wandered around … wandered … wandered lonely as a cloud … something to do with daffodils. He remembered reading it in high school.

Slim Randles

Slim Randles

Say … maybe if I threw some literature into the book, it would give it a bit of flavor. Yes! Well, I’m already in Europe … well, the truck driver is. He’s there on special assignment … not sure what that is, but I’m working on it. And the duchess is European, after all. And you know how they talk like literature over there. Read more

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Home Country — Teeth fixing with a side of Shakespeare

October 7, 2015

NEW — 5:07 p.m. Oct. 7, 2015

“Mornin’ Perry,” said Dud, taking his seat next to the tray full of fang-fixing stuff.

“May the blessings of the mornin’ be upon ya, Dud,” said Dr. O’Dontal, our former actor turned dentist. “You appear blessed by life and radiant in your demeanor today.”

Slim Randles

Slim Randles

Yes. He talks like that.

Perry O’Dontal worked his way through dental school “treading the boards,” and especially enjoyed his stint doing Shakespeare’s plays. Getting one’s teeth cleaned can turn out to be quite entertaining. One of the problems, however, is that we can’t really ask him questions about this fascinating part of his life because he always has things in our mouths when we’re with him. But Perry does seem to be able to understand more than we give him credit for. Read more

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Home Country — Everyone creates his or her own little worlds

September 30, 2015

NEW — 4:27 p.m. Sept. 30, 2015

There’s a word, thought Dud, silently. A word to describe this … this pristine fall morning sitting here in a blind with a bow and arrows and anticipation of finding the same buck we saw last year. Maybe this year we’ll have a safe shot at him.

This world, this tiny world around me. Right now. There’s a word. Look at that deer track just to my right, for example. See the edges of it begin to crumble? That tells me it is maybe an hour old, because it takes that long for the mud walls of the track to dry enough to flake off.

Slim Randles

Slim Randles

When did I learn that? Which old timer told me about that? My granddad? He was a hunter all right, and I learned a lot from him, but there’s this feeling in the back of my brain that it came from someone else. Bert? Hey, maybe Bert. Bert was a guide in his younger years and he showed me all kinds of things out here. Read more

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