331 posts categorized " Author Slim Randles" Feed

Home Country: What Some People Will Do For a Free Meal

Slim Randles | CNBNews Contributor Mrs. Forrest has always been a compulsive feeder. Before she retired, she was cooking for the Mule Barn truck stop’s customers, and is singularly responsible for about three flabby tons of avoirdupois on this nation’s truck drivers, and may have been marginally responsible, third-hand, for a cardiac event or two. But now she’s retired, and a widow, and her kids all have kids and are scattered like a covey of quail. Local bachelors of a certain age know if they should just happen to be chatting with Mrs. Forrest on her front lawn along about... Read more →


HOME COUNTRY: Who Knew Mules Like Watermelon?

Slim Randles CNBNews Contributor (Gloucestercitynews.net)-- Dud and I had just about finished solving the problems on page one and were about to start solving sports dilemmas when Bert mumbled something. Now Bert, usually loquacious, was in one of his rare, but deadly, silent coffee mornings. Normally he'd fill the Mule Barn truck stop with his pronouncements on life, love, literature and the price of cauliflower, but not today. I took a sip and turned to Bert. "You say something, Bert?" "Seeds and froth," he mumbled. "Seeds and froth?" "It's not like it was my fault, you know. What did I... Read more →


HOME COUNTRY: The Lewis Creek Swimming Hole

Slim Randles | CNBNews Contributor (Gloucestercitynews.net)(July 22,2020)--There is in the splashing of the creek a great spray of diamonds. As each youngster sails like an astronaut out on the tire Slim Randles swing, then releases the hold on the earth to flail, suspended in time and space for that brief second or two, there is a timelessness, a postponement of all things evil and destructive, an affirmation of joy. The swimming hole in Lewis Creek has been there since Indian times, of course, and the tire swing was probably preceded by simply a rope with knots in it. It is... Read more →


Home Country: Dud Headed to College

CNBNews Contributor (Gloucestercitynews.net)(July 15, 2020)-- When the new college opened in the next town – a somewhat larger town than ours – our folks began wondering if making the 30-minute drive to class would be worth it. Dud was the first to figure out that it was. “Boys,” he said, sitting at the Mule Barn philosophy counter and flipping his cup upright with one poetic motion, “I’m signed up over at J.H.T.. I’m going to get me an education.” “That’s great, Dud,” said his mentor and straight man, Doc. “What are you taking?” “Just one class to start out, Doc,”... Read more →


Home Country: Remembering The Summer of '74

CNBNews contributor “You know it has to be summer,” said Dud, “when you see lizards carrying canteens.” There were nods of agreement going on around the round table at the Mule Barn coffee shop. “Puts me in mind,” said Herb, “of that summer back in ’74. You remember that one?” Everyone but Dud nodded. In 1974, Dud wasn’t yet a twinkle of his parents’ eyes. “Fried an egg on the hood of Doc’s car, we did,” said Herb, grinning. “Sunny side up, right, Doc?” “That’s right,” Doc said, “but I wish you had asked me first. See, you boys didn’t... Read more →


Home Country: The Virus and Fourth of July

Slim Randles | CNBNews Contributor “Ain’t the same, is it?” asked Windy. He sipped some more coffee. “Know what you mean,” said Doc. “Doesn’t seem right, somehow.” “Guess we got to, howsomever.” “Afraid so.” Doc sipped some coffee too. “But you know, there isn’t a Fourth of July parade that’s worth your life.” To be honest, the elder folks in our community prolonged the Fourth of July plans until the last minute. I think it’s a sign of our great trust in science, scientists, and our doctors that made us wait so long before shelving the parade this year. But... Read more →


Home Country: When the World is Hot and My Skin is Fried...

When the world is hot and my skin is fried, scratching from the constant dry, let the clouds boil up, boil up high. And then shade the earth with the darkening sky and bring the secrets and the smell of rain. The coolness and the blessed rain, again. CNBNews Contributor Our land is brown but blessed, stressed in the heat, the shiny heat of day. The slender green of rivers slide along, striving to continue, to feed its own along the banks, the banks where the dust rises. Rises, powdery clomp by clomp as we walk, walk the shady way.... Read more →


Home Country: Who Gave Windy Wilson Permission to use the Cop Car?

by Slim Randles | CNBNews Contributor No one will admit knowing how Windy got permission to use the police car. All we know is, he did, and some dumb @#$% showed him how to work the loudspeaker. “Now you folks’r prolly wonderin’ who it is drivin’ ‘round makin’ sure ever-body is bein’ safe today. Yep, it’s me, Windy Wilson, behind this year mask in the cop car. “The more ‘sperienced amongst us want to remind you to wash your hands, wear your mask, and stay away from them rock concerts, okay? Too many people. Ain’t safe.” Windy turned right to... Read more →


HOME COUNTRY: The Unbearable Heat

CNBNews Contributor It’s the heat that defines us this month. It greets us at daybreak with its promise, but in an hour or so, it bears down on our shoulders and makes us dream of shade and something cold to drink. The best thing about our hot season, however, are evenings when most of the earth cools, and that breeze slides in off the mesa and caresses our cheeks. Then it’s time to sit, and laugh, and tell stories and just be with someone we love. Then is the culmination of a day we can be proud of. Inside each... Read more →


Home Country: Like Everyone Else Windy Is Having A Tough Time With The Coronavirus

CNBNews Contributor Windy walked out away from his house, but kept his mask in his pocket. There was never any quit when Windy decided to whip something, and this time it was that coronavirus. Our little valley had pretty much shut down, just like almost everyone else’s. For the loquacious Windy Wilson, whose most precious word was “audience” it was an especially tough time. Stay home. Wash your hands. Wear your mask, and don’t go where there are more than five people. Well, that wiped out any visit to the Mule Barn truck stop coffee shop. So what was left?... Read more →


Home Country: Windy Wilson educatin’ the kids

CNBNews Contributor (Gloucestercitynews.net)(May 26, 2020)--It’s always a treat when Windy Wilson stops by the Mule Barn for a cup and a visit with us. He got all settled in while we waited for him. “Now you fellas know it shore ain’t perlite to interrupt a guy when he’s educatin’ the kids, right? A real gentleman wouldn’t do it. But that didn’t slow down this weird young guy who was visitin’ one of our hometown girls. “I think she met him in college where he was majorin’ in bein’ wrong, and brought him home to meet the folks. The way it... Read more →


HOME COUNTRY: Spring is in The Air

CNBNews Contributor (Gloucestercitynews.net)(May 2020)--It was one of those evenings that makes you glad there’s a month called May. Bob Milford parked his truck in front of the Mule Barn truck stop, then changed his mind and drove the few blocks into town and parked in front of Sarah’s Read Me Now book store and got out. The air was sweet like wine, warm and flowing over his body. The calves out on the Diamond W were healthy and frolicking all over the place and there had only been three difficult births where he’d had to pull the calves, and those... Read more →


HOME COUNTRY: "Murder in the Soggy Bottoms”

CNBNews Contributor “This is the year,” said Dud, flipping his cup to the upright and fillable position. Mavis filled it up and brought him a saucer full of fake cream. “Been thinking about it, and this is definitely the year.” “Okay, I’ll bite,” said Steve, twitching his walrus-like moustache, “This is the year for what, Dud?” “For everything!” He stood and walked a complete circuit behind the chairs at the round table, waving his arms. “Can’t you feel it? It’s gonna happen. This is the year of dreams coming to a total fulmination of wonder and delight. This is the... Read more →


Home Country: Herb Collins Planting Trees for "Glory"

CNBNews Contributor Like a doctor removing something important, Herb Collins gently peeled the wrapper back from the root ball and tenderly placed the baby tree in the hole. Then he stood and walked around it to see which way he should align it. Actually, looks pretty good just the way it is. So he took his bucket of mixed sand and compost and began sprinkling it down onto the roots and then packing it in gently with his fist. Every few minutes he’d stop and read the directions again. When he ordered the tree, the nurseryman had written back “Are... Read more →


Home Country: Why Do The Call It May Day?

CNBNews Contributor As the recessional played, and Reverend Jeff opened the church doors before shaking hands with his parishioners, he was surprised to discover he wasn’t the first one there. “Mornin’ Rev!” “Uh, good morning … Alphonse.” Yes, it was Alphonse “Windy” Wilson, his boots cleaned and a bulldogger Western tie on his pearl-snap shirt, grinning broadly. He stood next to the minister as the parishioners came past, one by one and shook Jeff’s hand. Then they shook Windy’s hand … because there it was, outstretched and ready for a shake. “Bless you,” Windy said. “And a happy May Day!”... Read more →


Marvin Pincus and His Fenwick Glass Fly Rod

CNBNews Contributor It was just one of those things. It didn’t really mean Marvin Pincus had lost his mind. Consider this yourself for a minute. Marvin had opened the mail that morning and in it was the Fenwick glass fly rod he’d ordered. Oh, it was used, of course. But there’s a feel to a Fenwick that only a man dedicated to a life of using dry flies can appreciate. The weather was gorgeous. The fish were biting on Lewis Creek. But there was a hitch. Marvin had broken his ankle the previous week and was temporarily in a wheelchair.... Read more →


CNBNews March & April Cheers and Jeers

Jakob, a Gloucester City Middle School student doing his part to fight the pandemic (source https://www.facebook.com/GloucesterMEC/) CHEERS-Jakob, a Gloucester City resident who is an 8th grader at the Gloucester City Middle School is making ear relief bands for doctors and nurses. The doctors and nurses wear masks for 12+ hours straight. Because of this, their ears get irritated and leave marks and cuts. The masks can attach to the ear relief bands and take the pressure off their ears. Jakob’s dad has a machine that can cut these out of sheets of plastic. Their goal is to make 500 bands.... Read more →


Home Country: Time to Scratch and Think

CNBNews Contributor 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 time. When the world is dark, and there isn’t yet a hint of pink over the eastern mountains, it’s very good. We can relax. No one is expecting anything from us right now. Our guilt can take some time off, and we can listen to music or work... Read more →


Home Country: Spring Mornings Are Like Christmas

CNBNews Contributor Spring mornings are a lot like Christmas. Each day we get up and go out into the yard, or walk along the creek or visit the horses in the pasture. And each day, each morning, we find something new the sun has brought us. Pinfeather leaves of an unbelievable green now start showing on cottonwoods that have stood like stark ghostly frames all through the cold winter. Hopeful blades of grass peek through clumps of brown left over from last summer’s verdant pasture. Everywhere we look there is something new and different. A lot of this Christmas-in-spring is... Read more →


Home Country: April Fools Day

CNBNews Contributor April First … clear wonderful morning … members of the world dilemma think tank down at the Mule Barn coffee shop looked around. “Anyone seen Dud this morning?” “Not me. Haven’t seen Herb, either, come to think of it.” “Hey, that’s right,” Steve said. “Matter of fact, haven’t seen much of those two all this past week.” “Working, you think?” said Doc. “Those two?” “Yeah. What was I thinking?” They were quiet through the sweet rolls and Steve’s hash browns. “Last time I talked with them,” Doc said, “they were scheming something for April Fools Day. Wonder if... Read more →


Home Country: Just Leave This Problem to Dud

Slim Randles | CNBNews.net “So how about this?” Dud said, grinning. “We get somebody to pretend to be an oil tycoon’s executive director or something, and we have him talk to Delbert about where to build the refinery.” The other members of the Mule Barn truck stop’s world dilemma think tank looked at Dud and sipped coffee and silently shook their heads. “Okay, Dud said,” and why not?” “Won’t work,” said Steve, brushing sweet roll crumbs off his walrus moustache. “Dud, the nearest oil to this valley is sold in cans down at the Gas Station Gun Shop.” “Yeah, I... Read more →


HOME COUNTRY: The Problem Was Mrs. Doc

CNBNews Contributor The problem was Mrs. Doc, you see. Oh, don’t misunderstand. She’s a perfectly wonderful lady and we all think the world of her, and as far as we know she has yet to burn down a house or start a war or anything. The problem is, we don’t know her first name. If you just come out and flat ask her, she’ll smile and say, “Well, don’t you think Mrs. Doc is a nice name? I’ve had it for a long time now.” But I guess there’s something deep inside us that hates a vacuum … a vacuum... Read more →


Home Country: March, The Windy Month

Slim Randles | CNBNews Contributor Well, it’s March again … the windy month. And here in Home Country we have our very own variety that blows in to have coffee with us every now and then. Windy Wilson, of course. His takes on the human condition, and history, and darn near everything else lack only accuracy. The entertainment and color are always there, and we’re always glad to see the old camp cook and cowboy. “Boys,” said Windy, “I guess you all figgered out what’s comin’ up here real soon. Yessir, it’s the Ideas of March. Comes ever March 15,... Read more →


Home Country: What Do Today's Kite Fliers Dream About?

Slim Randles/CNBNews Contributor 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. Marvin had stopped picking out the nutgrass and was watching a small group of children across the street in the park. Two of them had kites, and the brisk wind of morning had them both up as high as string would allow. Soon, Marvin had ambled across the street and was standing behind the children, watching the taut dip... Read more →


Home Country: Helping Steve At The Mule Barn Truck Stop

Slim Randles l CNBNews Contributor Steve was out in the Mule Barn truck stop parking lot the other day, tightening something with his wrenches under the hood of his pickup truck. The rest of us stood around looking wise. “You sure it ain’t the solenoid?” said Bert. “I don’t think they make them anymore,” said Doc. “It’s usually the solenoid,” Bert said, with finality. Out of self defense, Steve emerged from his cavern of wires and metal long enough to say, “Didn’t I see you have a goat now, Bert?” Bert nodded. “That’s why I hate allergies.” We waited. We... Read more →