October 21, 2014
It was a bright morning, and we had finished off the coffee and conversation at the Mule Barn truck stop, and we couldn’t think of anything much to do because we were still full from breakfast and it was too early for lunch, and the political problems and Hollywood gossip tanks had been thoroughly topped off.
So, we went over to Doc’s house to look at his mare in the back yard. She had, he said, a quarter-crack in a front hoof.
October 14, 2014
It was a contemplative kind of morning, each member of the vaunted World Dilemma Think Tank seemed to be content to think silently for a change, just sipping on the coffee refills and waiting for Loretta to bring more.
Steve, the professional cowboy of the bunch, was reading the house copy of the Valley Weekly Miracle. Somebody else had already done the crossword, the sports page was old news and if he wanted to keep up on church news, he’d probably attend every now and then. So, Steve was belly deep in the personal ads in the classifieds.
October 7, 2014
The Club didn’t last long.
It wasn’t the dues, which were nothing. It wasn’t being worried about being elected recording secretary or something if you missed a meeting. There were no officers, no directors and no meetings.
It was born of an idea that occurred to Doc one day. He said the members of the Mule Barn truck stop’s philosophy counter and world dilemma think tank should organize.
September 30, 2014
We can blame it all on watermelon and pumpkin pie. Both are delicious and American, and both come from gourds. That’s the problem, you see. Cooks all over the world therefore think that other gourds can be made edible, too.
Gourds, for example, like squash.
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?
September 23, 2014
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 of coffee.
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 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.
September 16, 2014
When we first noticed the baby sparrow, here at the house, it saddened us all. He had fallen from his nest and was slowly walking around the front yard under the tree while his mother and father had an absolute fit.
We knew we were looking at a dead baby bird, as it was only a question of who does it, where it is done and how long before it happens. Years of experience in these kinds of things have taught us the finality of a baby bird falling out of a tree. Would the end come from a cat, or from a raccoon wandering up from the creek, or a snake?
September 9, 2014
In honor of his entirely fictional pet squirrel, Doc is calling the annual golf tournament the Chipper Invitational this year. He’s thinking of making that a permanent name for his invention, the most unusual golf tournament in history.
Oh, you remember how it began, when Doc decided to raise money each fall to buy winter coats for some of the local kids who can’t afford them? And one of the things this valley has never had is a golf course. But that didn’t slow Doc down. With the laughing consent of two farmers whose land abutted each other, Doc got busy. He took a shovel and some long sticks and laid out an 18-hole golf course in less than two hours.
September 2, 2014
It comes to us slowly and delicately, as all beautiful things should. It’s usually in the early morning. We can smell it. We can feel it. That little nip that teases us … autumn. Almost autumn.
Summer is heat and work and sweat and cold drinks of water and swimming and barbecues. But autumn is fall … the pinnacle. This is when people have the county and state fairs, because the vegetables and animals are at their peak and ready to show. The heat drove some of us into the house this stifling summer and led us to make quilts, make furniture, can fruit. And now, if they’re good enough (and we know, if no one else does), they can go to the fair, too.