359 posts categorized " Slim Randles" Feed

Home Country: Dad-gum ol’ Doc

Slim Randles | CNBNews Contributor Nature hates a vacuum, and so does Windy Wilson. The other day, emerging from the drug store, he looked around, and, finding no handy audience, spoke instead to the world. “Dad-gum ol’ Doc, anyway,” he said. “He’s one-a my bestest pals, but if you go to him for a mizz-ry, he makes you do some things and quit doin’ some other things. Them things Doc wants you to do you don’t wanna do, and the things he wants you to quit doin’ are stuff you bin savin’ up to do a buncha years now. “Now ol’ Doc didn’t even know he done it, but he proved to me that we had some a-them space alienated bein’s for ancestors. Oh, they’s... Read more →


Home Country: The Fly Tying Love Center

One of the problems Marvin Pincus discovered about running the Fly Tying Love Center here in the valley is that there appeared to be more fly tying than love counseling going on. This particular morning he was whipping up a nice fluffy Adams dry on a number 12 and wishing everyone’s love problems were as easy to solve as tying one of these. He takes silent pride in being a pioneer in this field of combining fly tying and romance solutions, but that doesn’t mean he couldn’t quietly hope for his neighbors to have more love problems. His advice had worked well with Dewey (a lead-wire-wrapped wooly bugger leading to the suggestion he showers before he asks a girl out on a date), and with... Read more →


Home Country: You Are Going To Miss The Pandemic !!!

Slim Randles | CNBNews Contributor “You know,” said Herb, “when this danged virus thingie is over and we all have our shots and are guaranteed to live longer than anyone else wants us to, there is only one thing I’ll miss.” Doc, our morning coffee medical expert, put down his cup and looked at Herb, who was not our medical expert but a retired pawn shop owner. “You mean you’re going to miss this pandemic, Herb? It’s terrible. What on earth will you miss about it?” Herb glanced around the philosophy counter here at the Mule Barn truck stop and smiled. “I will slightly miss its contributions to our more colorful swearing.” “Oh … “ said the cowboy, Steve. “because we cussed it so much?”... Read more →


Home Country: Bachelor Windy Wilson and Widow Mamie Dilworth

by Slim Randles | CNBNews Contributor “Windy, my man,” said Doc, “how are you and the widow getting along?” “She’s been sorta creepitatin’ up on my blind side, Doc,” Windy said. “Which side is that, Windy?” “Very humoristic, Dud. Ha. Ha.” We had all been watching, as closely as we could, the relationship between Windy Wilson, bachelor, camp cook, cowboy, and teller of tales … and Mamie Dilworth, aging hippie chick, starer at crystals, vegetarian, widow. We all knew, those of us who lived vicariously alongside the perimeter of their friendship, that if it could’ve been filmed, it’d be on television longer than The Flying Nun. “Doc,” said Windy, “ol’ Mame the Dame is a awful nice lady, sure ‘nuf. I have considerationed maybe takin’... Read more →


Home Country: Chipper The Imaginary Squirrel

Slim Randles | CNBNews Contributor “What a great winter morning, guys,” said Doc, seating himself at the philosophy counter and flipping his cup to the upright and fillable position. “Makes a guy glad to be alive.” We all nodded and sipped. “Say Doc,” said Herb, “how’s old Chipper getting along these days?” We all chuckled, because all the locals know Chipper was invented by Doc a few years back to be his very own imaginary squirrel. Yeah, Doc’s like that. Doc laughed, too. “Hibernation, boys,” he said, “Sacked out ‘til spring. You should all get hibernating pets. They’re really easy to care for as long as they stay asleep.” “And he’s all tucked in?” Steve wanted to know. “Fluffy tail covering his face. The very... Read more →


HOME COUNTRY: Helping Someone One Day A Week

Slim Randles CNBNews Contributor “Well,” said Steve, polishing off the last of his coffee, “what should we discuss this fine morning?” “I’m awful glad you asked, ol’ pard,” came the cheerful voice of Windy Wilson, emerging through the swinging doors that came from the kitchen of the Mule Barn truck stop. “Yessir. Awful glad.” Steve and the other members of the world dilemma think tank looked in amazement as this old camp cook and cowboy came over with the coffee pot and topped off their coffee mugs. Windy had found a dish towel and wrapped it around his waist, too. “Windy?” said Doc. “Mighty fine-looking dish towel you’re wearing.” “Thanks, Doc. I cornsider it the aplex of dining room fashion for a volunteer coffee guy.... Read more →


HOME COUNTRY: New Year Resolutions

Slim Randles | CNBNews Contributor “Boys,” said our tall cowboy, Steve, “I’ve got a real problem coming up and I’m not sure how to cope with it.” The rest of us in the world dilemma think tank, meeting here each morning as long as the Farmers Brothers coffee doesn’t run out, turned toward our friend. We’re nothing if not a helpful bunch. We put our cups down … even Dud, who was still on his first cup. Doc said, “Maybe we can help a bit, Steve. Tell us about it.” “Well, Doc, it’s these dang New Years Resolutions. Time’s almost here, and I don’t even have one … not even one.” “Why not?” asked Dud. Steve grinned, picked up his coffee mug and raised it... Read more →


Home Country: Something About A Winter Moonlight Walk

Slim Randles | CNBNews Contributor CNBNews photo There’s something about a winter moonlight walk, Doc thought, as he smiled his way through his neighborhood. He looked at the light coming from the windows of each house. Each house warming its family. It would be about supper time now. Maybe I can sniff just right and see if I can guess what is cooking. But that could be construed as detective work, and this is definitely not the time for work. Oh no. Not when you can look through the lacy, filigree patterns of dormant twigs high in the trees and see them play sacred music with that moon in the background. No technology can touch the lighting of the world when it’s dark. Not the... Read more →


HOME COUNTRY: Just how stupid do they think we are, anyhow?

Slim Randles | CNBNews Contributor Saw this ad t’other day in my outdoors magazine, Campin’ ‘n Fishin’. Oh, hi there, Alphonse Wilson doin’ the talkin’ don’t you see. Call me Windy. Sneaked in here again when Slim weren’t lookin.’ But I gotta tell ya not to believe ever dang thing you read. Yessir, they had this little-bitty sleeping bag made out of space materials, I guess so you can stay warm on Mars or somethin’ and it weighed just about nothin’ and a half. Just how stupid do they think we are, anyhow? I mean, you gotta surround yourself with good stuff to sleep right or you’re just flippity squidglin’ around all night. Like a inch bug or somethin’ … well, somethin’ that’s cold and... Read more →


Home Country: Horse Training Lessons

Slim Randles | CNBNews Contributor Steve was just sitting there on the tailgate of his pickup, looking out at the world and thinking he’s doing all right. The two little kids walking down the sidewalk saw their favorite cowboy sitting there and grinned. “Hi Steve!” “Oh hey there, Bobby … Sylvia … how you kids doing these days?” “Had a good Thanksgiving. Yep. Getting ready for Christmas. Bobby was telling me just a while ago that he wants to train horses, like you, when he grows up.” “I told you not to say anything, Syl, but there you go again. Now Steve will think all I want is horse training lessons.” “Horse training lessons?” Steve said. “Now that would be a good idea, actually. It’s... Read more →


Home Country: The Benefits of A Gentle Snow

by Slim Randles Wouldn‘t it be nice to come and go like gentle snow? Not the hard, wind-driven kind, but the soft kind … the kind that’s nice to kids and dogs. The kind of snow that builds up slowly on the porch railing until it is about six inches deep and bereft of bird tracks. Then we can scoop some into big cups and pour some syrup or honey on it and once again taste our way back to childhood. We can do it even when our beards are as gray as mine is these days. I’m told a lot of folks hate seeing those black and gray clouds moving in. For them, it means a cessation of warmth, a lack of green. It... Read more →


HOME COUNTRY: The Unique Holiday of Thanksgiving

by Slim Randles |CNBNews Columnist When it comes to our unique holiday of Thanksgiving, I think we all can see past the turkey and trimmings to what it’s all about. Oh, there are some historians who will tell us the Pilgrims really didn’t share a meal with the Indians, and that’s okay, because they got grant money to tell us that. And there are other historians who tell us that the Pilgims and the Indians were pals and split the turkey and dressing. And that’s okay, too. Historians have to eat just like the rest of us. But to me, that’s immaterial. No matter who came up with the idea, it’s a good idea. At least once a year we need to pause and give... Read more →


Home Country: Mickey Baker and The Strand

by Slim Randles | CNBNews Contributor Mickey Baker has owned The Strand – our local movie theater – since the new releases starred Virginia Mayo. The Strand, naturally, is an icon here. More than a few of our long-lasting marriages in the area began with a first date there. Most of us have consumed more than our share of Raisinettes and Jujubes while watching Duke Wayne whip the bad guys. We know every inch of The Strand. We know where the rips are in the used-to-be blood-red carpet, which of the seats don’t fold all the way down, which seats are most secluded in case it’s a smooching date. It was ol’ Dud, back when he was about four feet tall, who discovered how to... Read more →


Home Country: Old Jasper Blankenship and Deer Hunting Season

Slim Randles | CNBNews Contributor Old Jasper Blankenship went out to hunt deer the other day, the same way he’s done for decades now. Deer season has changed a lot for Jasper over the many years he’s been at it. As a kid, he couldn’t wait until he was old enough to get a license, because he wanted to bring a buck home to show his family. Not just any buck, either, but a big one. As a young man, he wanted to see how many hunting seasons he could have in one year: duck, goose, quail, pheasant, deer, about anything that moved. As a middle-aged man, he turned to the technology of hunting and wanted to learn about the newest gizmo that would make... Read more →


Home Country: The Autumnal Reasons for Halloween

Slim Randles | CNBNews Contributor 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. It happens right about sunset each day. The sky turns that eternal burnt-umber orange and the remaining leaves and the baring branches of our trees fill the evening with a holy filigree of contrast. Oh,... Read more →


HOME COUNTRY:

Jasper Blankenship Comes to Town

CNBNews Contributor (Gloucestercitynews.net)(October 21, 2020)-- It’s a rare treat to have old Jasper Blankenship come down from the diggin’s to stock up on supplies. And he favored us with stories at the Mule Barn this bright morning over coffee, too. “Well, Doc,” Jasper said, “you’re right. I wasn’t always a miner. Back during The War I had a job in the city at one of the big war plants, you know. I was a security guard and watched the gate. In those days, there was this one carpenter who just gave me the fits. He’d come out the gate at the end of the day with a wheelbarrow full of sawdust. I always stopped him and poked around in the sawdust and never found anything,... Read more →


Home Country: Why Do We Love Chickens?

Slim Randles | CNBNewsnet contributor Chickens have forever had a place in our hearts and on our tables. Why is that? Well … why not? And so I’d like you to come with me back to the summer of 1970, ‘way up north of Fairbanks, Alaska, to what was once the thriving gold mining village of Chicken, Alaska. I was on my way, hitchhiking with a 17-foot canoe, to paddle down a stretch of the Yukon River and to see the cabin where Jack London spent the winter once upon a time. Just as an aside here, hitchhiking with a canoe, or with a sled and 11 dogs, would make a lengthy how-to book all by themselves. It doesn’t sound easy, does it? It isn’t.... Read more →


Home Country: Where Is Duckworth's Papers?

Slim Randles | CNBNews Contributor “I took Duckworth to the dog show up in the city last weekend,” Dud said. The other members of the Mule Barn truck stop’s world dilemma think tank and philosophy counter just looked at him. Doc put it gently. “Dud, was this so he could get some inspiration on looking good?” Duckworth was a medium-sized dog that found Dud while Dud was walking and thinking about the novel he’s writing. No one answered the ad he put in the Valley Weekly Miracle, so he was henceforth known as Duckworth, for some reason Dud seemed to want to keep to himself. To be honest, Duckworth looked like he fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way... Read more →


Home Country: Dewey Decker and Mule Barn Truck Stop's Philosophy Counter

Slim Randles | CNBNews Contributor Dewey Decker showed his new business cards to the other guys at the Mule Barn Truck Stop’s philosophy counter, and each member of the world dilemma think tank got to keep one. Steve, our owlish-appearing cowboy, scratched his head as he studied the card. “Okay, Dewey, I’ll bite … what’s a verm-a- ….? “Vermiculturist, Steve,” Dewey said, proudly. “It means I raise worms.” Dewey, the beloved accident-prone member of the think tank, began his new career with just a shovel and his pickup, spreading manure in people’s yards. Now, thanks in great part to the genius of his girlfriend, Emily, (she of the magnificent cheekbones) he was earning a decent living. Back when they fell in love … and that’s... Read more →


Westville Man Allegedly Recorded Females at Cape May County Technical HS Bathroom

Cape May Court House, New Jersey (September 24, 2020)--– Cape May County Prosecutor Jeffrey H. Sutherland along with Chief Christopher Leusner of the Middle Township Police Department announce the arrest of Gregory Mahley, 51 years old, of West Deptford, NJ, on additional charges relating to Manufacturing and Possessing Child Pornography. On September 9, 2020, the Gloucester Township Police Department arrested Gregory Mahley after mirrors were found in girls bathroom stalls at the Glen Landing Middle School in Gloucester Township, NJ. The Gloucester Township investigation revealed that Mahley, a commercial HVAC technician employed by Multi-Temp Mechanical, Inc., located in Westville, NJ, had secretly recorded females using the girl’s bathroom in the Middle School. During that investigation, officials seized numerous electronic devices from Mahley’s residence and vehicle... Read more →


Home Country: Billy The Official Town Dog

Slim Randles | CNBNews There really wasn’t anything going on at the school crossing, much to the consternation of Billy … our town dog. It was one of Billy’s duties to escort kids across the street to the school. He’d been doing it ever since Sally, the former town dog, passed away on Doc’s porch. Billy spent each morning curled up next to the dog house the high school woodshop kids built for him. He wasn’t nuts about the inside of it, but there was some instinct deep inside our large brown dog that let him know the house was his and was created in love. But Billy certainly didn’t understand the words “quarantine” or “virus” or “remote online learning.” Martin, the crossing guard, wasn’t... Read more →


CNBNews Aug./Sept. 2020 CHEERS AND JEERS

William E. Cleary Sr. | CNBNews CHEER-Gloucester City resident Dan Reader was upset about his grandchildren coming home from the Gloucester City Playground at Lane Avenue with stickers on them. So instead of just complaining he stepped upped and cut the six-inch-high grass himself. Thank you Dan for caring and watching over our neighborhood. JEER— PSE&G employees doing construction work throughout the city since last year keep the motors and flashers on their vehicles operating for 8 hours at a time. The work is being done in residential neighborhoods without any consideration of the people living there. The noise and carbon pollution the trucks are spewing into the air is sickening at times. God forbid if you have COPD or other lung diseases. Often the... Read more →


HOME COUNTRY: Saying Goodbye to Fluffy for Winter Months

Slim Randles | CNBNews Contributor Before you know it, it’ll be time to say goodbye to Fluffy for the winter months. Now most of us love dogs and cats and horses. But why do we limit ourselves to having these for pets? It just doesn’t make any sense. For me, Fluffy is really an ideal pet. For one thing, I don’t have to feed him. Not at all. You see, Fluffy is a lizard. A real lizard. He learned from his lizard mom and dad how to snarf up bugs and blink his eyes and do push-ups on rocks. Honest. I didn’t have to teach him that at all. Also, I don’t have to build him a house or fix him a bed in our... Read more →


Home Country: How to Measure Social Branding Distance

Slim Randles | CNBNews Contributor We were just getting the branding fire going well at the Rafter E when Dud brought out the tape measure. We stared at him until he said something through his corona mask. “How long do you figure a calf is?” he asked. We looked at each other. Steve said, “I don’t know … four feet?” “I mean when they’re lying down and being worked. You know, from the head to the hind legs?” “Stretched out, maybe five feet,” Herb said. “Gotta measure that branding iron,” Dud added. “Three feet. So two branding iron lengths is a social branding distance.” “The virus, right?” Dud and his mask nodded. Steve scratched his head, then put his hat back on. “Dud, I’m pretty... Read more →


HOME COUNTRY: September, Our Month of Change

Slim Randles | CNBNews Contributor September. Our month of change. Our month of happy change. Once more we can stand the thought of wearing a sweater as the summer sun burns itself down. Once again we can think about a new school year and the special challenges we face this fall. Once again, the house is quiet during the day. September. In the forest, the animals are polishing antlers, sleeking muscles for the mating ruts to come, marking their territories. The deciduous trees are showing those awesome changes of color as the mountains become a splendid quilt of transient beauty. September. A resting time for the older folks. They can sit on the patio now even in the afternoons. It’s a time for barbecued ribs... Read more →


Home Country: The Mule Barn Truck Stop’s Legendary World Dilemma Think Tank

Slim Randles | CNBNews Contributor “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, the only thing that can really change an attitude is a properly tuned epithet. It’s man’s emotional release valve, but of course you know that, being a doctor and all.” Dud doctored his coffee and took a sip. “Right?” “Oh …” said Doc, “right … of course. We took Epithets 1A and 1B in medical school, naturally. ‘Emotional release valves and their perfection’ they were... Read more →


HOME COUNTRY: Billy, The Official Town Dog

The first few days of summer vacation were hard on Billy. He was there, at his appointed post – that being the school crossing – at the right time of morning, but look as he may, he couldn’t find any kids. He couldn’t find Martin, either. The perennial crossing guard, with his vest, sign and whistle, was home for the summer. So were the kids. The school was out. Billy, being the official town dog since Sally passed away on Doc’s porch, decided on the fourth day of no kids that he might as well do something else. He cruised on down to the Rest of Your Life retirement home and got ear rumples from all the residents there. That’s a good way to start... Read more →


HOME COUNTRY: “Little Joe the Wrangler”

Slim Randles | CNBNews Contributor (New Mexico)-image courtesy of unsplash.clom (Gloucestercitynews.net)(August 12, 2020)--Our day is filled with heat at this time of year. It commands our attention and makes our work harder. As we toil, we daydream not about love or success, but things as mundane as shade and a cool drink. But though the oppressive heat weighs on our brains and taxes our bodies, it is the price we pay for being allowed to spend time outdoors … and it has its one singular consolation: our summer evenings. When the sun goes down in summer, it’s romantic enough to hug a cactus. The recipe is simple; keep the earth warm, but just bring out the stars and a soft breeze that cools the skin.... Read more →


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 supper time, there’s a dang-near dead certainty they’ll get a meal out of it. And, through the magic of telepathic communication and the synchronistic wavelengths... 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 do? Hey, sometimes seeds and froth just happen to people, and there's no need to jump all over me about it." Dud and I nodded... 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 one of the summer lodestones of our existence. Each summer we have to make our pilgrimage in the hot sun to the hole below the... 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,” Dud said. “Thought I’d kinda e-e-e-ease into it, you know. I’m taking functional literacy. We’re going to study words and their meanings.” “I thought you... 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 put any grease on the hood and I thought I’d never get all that egg off.” “Didn’t taste so pretty good either,” said Steve. “Herb... 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 if you look at it from another angle, it actually brings some more depth to our celebration of our nation’s birthday. At least, that’s Doc’s... 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. And though the heat, the dryness of heat, pushes down our weary feet, we plod along. Ours is the blessing of challenge, to live, to... 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 go around the block. His voice faded a bit, but that was okay, because we’d been kinda wishing for that off and on for years.... 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 of us, we silently and privately applaud ourselves, because the hot day tried us, but we did it. All day. We made it through the... 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? He couldn’t even corner any school kids coming home from class, because they weren’t going to school right now. So Windy went home, petted his... 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 was, I had a few kids I found coming out of the malt shop and I kinda herded them over to this year sidewalk bench... 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 were from first-calf heifers, so it was to be expected. And he decided what he needed was to see how the rest of the world... 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 year, for example, that I’ll finally figure out how to reconcile the duchess and the truck driver in my book Murder in the Soggy Bottoms.”... 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 you sure?” Well, that made ol’ Herb laugh. Yes, he was sure. He’s always sure this time of year. He was still chuckling to himself... 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!” “Thank you, Windy,” said Mavis. “And … you know why they call it May Day …? But Mavis was already gone and Windy was already... 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. It was his right ankle, so he couldn’t drive down to the creek. And there, in his hands, was the Fenwick. He put it together,... 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. So far, they have made 400 and donated them to doctors and nurses from Gloucester City who will share them with their coworkers. Thank you,... 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 a crossword puzzle or turn on the TV and watch the weather guy discuss millibars and troughs. Soon enough, we’ll have to be out there... 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 kept just among us, because we might be accused of being ... well ... poetic if we told people why we were really carrying that... 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 they came up with something.” The sirens got them up from the coffee and to the front window in time to see the village fire... 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 see what you mean.” Doc said, “I realize we have to come up with some super April Fools Day hoax. Stands to reason. We only... 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 of knowledge, that is. We’re still curious about exactly where Old Man Jenkins’ cabin is, for example. While he was alive, we never thought to... Read more →