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Friday, April 18, 2014

Author Archive: Slim Randles

Home country: Fly fising

As a prequel to the morning coffee inhalation down at the Mule Barn coffee shop, the members of the world dilemma think tank were found at the break of day, armed with fly rods, in their other guise as charter members of the Lewis Creek Piscatorial Pursuit Alliance. “I like your presentation, Dud,” said Doc, […]

Home country: Shakespearean dentistry

Herb walked into O’Dontal Dental the other day, holding his hand against a swollen face. He hadn’t even made an appointment to see Perry first, and it became obvious why he hadn’t. “Good morning, Herb,” said Andrea, the receptionist. “What can we do for you today?” “Mmfft Crullit!” “Certainly. Have a seat and I’ll let […]

Home country: The backhoe pro

When Jim Kennedy uses his big backhoe, a crowd usually gathers. He’s an artist, you see. He runs his massive-toothed monster gouging holes in the backyards of his neighbors, putting in their pipes and even the occasional swimming pool, and does it with the grace of a surgeon. At Bud McFarland’s place the other day, […]

Home country: Running the Iditarod

It’s the first Saturday in March 1973, and more than 40 dog mushers are ready to leave the semi-pro baseball stadium in Anchorage and drive their teams more than 1,100 miles to Nome. Could they really do it? Well, they did it that year and every year since, of course, in the monumental Iditarod Sled […]

Home country: Car computers mean confusion

Whenever my lack of mechanical prowess threatens to surface, I sure miss the solenoid. It was always there for us, lurking under the hood somewhere, and always — always — it was waiting to malfunction. It was handy, every mechanic knew where it was — like tonsils — and it had a great name. Solenoid […]

Home country: First cup of the morning

Daybreak. Coffee. The Big Two. There’s something so satisfying about getting out of bed when the world is still dark and quiet and resting. Making the coffee gives us time to scratch and think. Well, scratch, anyway. Most of that thinking will start after about the third cup. But it’s a quiet time. A private […]

December 19, 2013 | Posted in Opinion | 1 Reply

Home country: Accordion music

If you ask Dud Campbell, it’s all right to take a break from the arts now and then. Well …  since the arts are a part of a person, that’s not quite right. All right, it’s OK to switch arts now and then. Dud had pretty much beaten himself to death trying to fathom what […]

Home country: Absolutely ‘refrigelated’

One thing about cold: it drives folks indoors. But in some cases, it also can provide entertainment, enlightenment, laughter and education. We’re not talking your local PBS station, here, but Alphonse “Windy” Wilson. This time of year, Windy becomes a seasonal member of the Mule Barn truck stop’s world dilemma think tank, and usually sticks […]

Home country: A cowboy’s dream

Day started slowly, after Steve and Snort were already through two big pastures and into the birth of the hills. Sure was pretty, too, he noticed. Kinda pink and made everything glow. “Pretty as a pocketful of baby mouses,” he thought, smiling. The strangeness didn’t take place until they’d started up the mountain toward Steve’s […]

December 19, 2013 | Posted in Opinion | 1 Reply

Home country: Finding the whiz-gidget expert

A building project (for those of us who are carpenterially challenged) can be a confusing nightmare of little whatchits we never learned the name of and have no idea how to use. Oh, if we need a two by four that’s eight feet long, we’re on pretty safe ground and can head on over to […]

Home country: The coin toss

Sure was good to see Jimmy back from the Middle East last week. He looks good in that uniform, too. He was running all over the place for a few days, visiting everyone he knows, but he finally came in to the Mule Barn and sat at the philosophy counter, headquarters of the world dilemma […]

Home country: Keeping the buzzards at bay

The evening was one of those that come back to you time after time, year after long year. It comes back and whispers of how good life can be when you’re well fed, enjoying life, and a good friend shares the front porch with you on a summer’s evening. It was that way with Doc […]

Home country: The cow pasture tea salesman

You have to hand it to Windy. When Alphonse “Windy” Wilson chooses to speak, it is a bombastic sampling of creativity. Windy has yet to find a word he can’t make better through his own unique methods. Well, what got him fired up the other day was a meeting of the ladies of the garden […]

Home country: Epithetology

“Sanctimonious siphons, it’s hot!” said Dud, sitting at the philosophy counter and turning over his coffee cup for action with a single smooth move.  Dud is a regular at the Mule Barn truck stop’s legendary world dilemma think tank. “Epithet time again, Dudley?” said Doc. “Epithets and heat time, Doc. When that heat comes along, […]

Home country: The sound of a woman’s voice

“Bert looks good this morning, Doc,” Dud said, quietly. Three stools down the counter, Bert smiled and said, “Yes, I certainly do!” We turned toward our old pal. “You heard that?” “Sure did, guys,” he grinned. “Look…” He pointed to his ears. “Hearing aids,” he said. We walked over and looked, and sure enough. “It […]

Home country: Sighting a rifle in two shots

Bert was mumbling to himself as he adjusted cracker packets around his morning coffee at the Mule Barn. “Something wrong, Bert?” “Not if you have some Old Fool pills for me, Doc.” “Uh-oh. What happened?” “Well, I’d been telling the Johnson kid some stories of the old days when I was guiding hunters, and I […]

Home country: Farmer time

“That Harley Jacobsen,” said Doc, grinning and shaking his head. He waved his empty cup toward Loretta, who brought the pot over. “What’d Harley do now, Doc?” “He came in the other day, looking good. Relaxed, happy. I’d been after him for some time to take a vacation and get away from the farm and […]

Home country: Hunkering down

There were several of us last Saturday out behind the sale barn. We never buy anything. This is just a way to scratch our agricultural itch. So while others were headed to the sale barn coffee shop, the members of the world dilemma think tank stepped out back, coagulatingly, for some geezer bonding. Doc looked […]

Home country: The emperor of cast iron

In the realm of country cooking, the elite are those who can take a heavy cast-iron Dutch oven, scrape out some glowing coals from a cook fire, and create masterpieces. And in this neck of the woods, the emperor of cast-iron splendor is Ed Parsons. Ed actually has a j.o.b. to pay the bills, you […]

Home country: Blue collar art

It was Herb who first saw Janice Thomas, the art teacher, come in. “She’s putting something up on the bulletin board,” Herb said. “Wonder what it says,” said Doc. “Might be something from school,” Herb said. Steve is of a more practical way of thinking. “You ever thought about going over there and seeing what […]

Home country: Lawonmania

It’s idolatry, pure and simple. Why else would millions of men spend billions of dollars each year on something that simply takes work and means time away from having fun with friends and family? It’s worship. Worship of tiny little plants invading our yards. It’s lawn-o-mania. Since man first invented the yard, he’s wanted it […]

Home country: Avoiding black leg

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 […]

Home country: Spring is a trampoline

Do you feel that itch coming on? It’s time, you know. See the kids out flying kites? That’s a sign. See little green bladelets in the lawn. That’s a sign, too. It’s almost full spring, and that itch tells us it’s time to do something. This is when we need to forget almost all our […]

Home country: Writing Celtic music follows a simple formula

“I believe I’ll write some Celtic music,” said Dud one morning at the world dilemma think tank down at the coffee shop. “I’ve been studying it.” “I didn’t know you were Celtic,” Steve said. “I’m not, but I do get occasional bouts of depression and that qualifies me. I’ve thought about it a lot. Maybe […]

Home country: The official town dog

The problem was Billy, you see. Billy’s our town dog, ever since Sally passed away quietly on Doc’s porch, and Billy’s owner, Stewart Simpson, died two weeks later. The people who inherited Stew’s house didn’t particularly enjoy having Billy around, and Billy appeared to feel the same way about them, so he became our dog. […]

Home country: The liars contest

Delbert McLain came by to have coffee with us the other day. He’s our chamber of commerce, you know. And he ties fishing flies, but doesn’t fish. Delbert’s mission in life seems to be to promote our little valley into becoming so important and prosperous that we won’t want to live here anymore. But he […]

Home country: Looking ahead to coming year

When it’s cold, build a fire in the fireplace, or the woodburning heater, or maybe just light a candle and look in the flames, look deep in the flames for the answers. I’ve always believed they are there, and this time of year is a time for questions. It is a time to weigh the […]

Home country: A guide to successful hunting

Coffee always tastes perfect before daylight on the opening day of deer season, Dud Campbell thought as he sat in near-total darkness in his kitchen. He was being extra quiet so as not to awaken Anita. Turning on a flashlight on the kitchen counter, he wrote:    Honey, I’ll be up Pine Canyon, hunting up […]

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