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.
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
September 22, 2015
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 club down at the nursery. Windy’s been helping Dewey with his manure business on the one day a week he spends helping others. Today wasn’t a helper day, but he couldn’t pass up the audience.
September 16, 2015
NEW — 5:35 p.m. Sept. 16, 2015
It takes us over slowly, this thing called autumn. It slides in quietly and lovingly.
One day, we notice we aren’t sweating as much as we did a week ago. Just this morning, we thought wearing a sweater might be a good idea before the sun gets warm enough for us.
There is a secret in the soft breeze that follows us around the yard in the afternoon. A secret. The same autumn secret some of us have heard whispered for years and others of us are just learning to add to our vocabulary of life. Read more
September 9, 2015
NEW — 4:55 p.m. Sept. 9, 2015
Mrs. Doc (we know she must have a first name, but keeps it a secret) joined the other ladies in the quilting tent at the state fair. It was so exciting. It was the first time she’d ever entered a quilt in the competition, and she was nervous.
There was a lot of competition this year. The quilts didn’t carry the maker’s name, of course. For the purposes of judging, each was assigned a number. Her number was 536. It was pieced together flawlessly, she thought. It was a double wedding ring pattern, and any quilter knows how hard that one is to make. The quilting competition is judged on three things: originality, how well it’s sewn and difficulty.
Finally, the judges carried out a folded quilt and were about to name the blue ribbon winner. Read more
September 3, 2015
There are a few universal truths in our lives: The sun comes up in the east, it rains in Ketchikan and you can tell what the weather’s like by eavesdropping on the senior members of the world dilemma think tank … meeting daily at the Mule Barn coffee shop since God made dirt.
“My hens,” said Doc, “were sweating this morning.”
August 26, 2015
Billy’s been a busy guy ever since he became the official town dog here. Sally had been the town dog until she passed away on Doc’s porch, and then Billy’s owner died just two weeks after that, so it was something of a natural progression. Sometimes offices are filled without an election.
The high school wood shop boys built Billy a doghouse next to the school crossing, but Billy preferred Aunt Ada’s couch in the cold months and a nice dog depression under an oak tree when it’s warm.
August 19, 2015
NEW — 3:38 p.m. Aug. 19, 2015
It was Thursday again. Mabel Adams asked at the desk to be sure.
“Thursday all day, Mabel,” the girl said. “Don’t forget to get your hair done today. Two o’clock … right?”
“Right,” Mabel said, locking the time away in her mind. “Two o’clock. On Thursday.”
She took her purple walker and went half a block to the counter at the drug store. Read more
August 11, 2015
NEW — 1:48 p.m. Aug. 11, 2015
It was lunchtime at the sale barn on the edge of town and the guys were milling around. They didn’t really want to eat there, as the regular cook had a family emergency in the next state, so it was a substitute named Leroy and the guys knew that everything Leroy cooked tasted like toast.
So they milled around, kicking dirt clods, inspecting the livestock coming up for the afternoon bidding, and pretending they were maybe someday going to buy something. Their dogs were there, of course: Steve’s two cowdogs, Doc’s Egyptian shepherd, Ramses (he makes pyramids in the backyard), and Billy, the official town dog.
“Steve, what’s the name of that guy who used to walk around in the bleachers yelling ‘Ho!’ every time someone wanted to bid?” Read more
August 5, 2015
NEW — 11:37 a.m. Aug. 5, 2015
Doc was the first one in at the Mule Barn truck stop this morning, so he got to pick, and he chose the round table instead of the philosophy counter. If you asked him why, he couldn’t tell you, but some days are just round table days, while others lend themselves to counter proposals.
In 15 minutes, the round table had a quorum of homespun philosophers, practical jokers and scientific greatness.
“Puts me in mind,” said Bert, “of the time we were in the mountains and I was suddenly surrounded by a mountain lion.” Read more
July 29, 2015
NEW — 11:02 a.m. July 29, 2015
Whenever Delbert McLain — our chamber of commerce here — gets a new idea, he generally shows up at the Mule Barn for coffee. He likes to try the ideas out on bonafide members of the world dilemma think tank before springing them on the world.
“What I’m thinking, guys, is this,” he said, “We need to bring the Olympic Games here to the valley!”