May 15, 2013
I heard the rumor down at the feed store, later in the afternoon. We had a real live Sherlock Holmes in our community, and he was our local barber, Curtis Naismith.
“What do you mean?” I asked Julie, the stout girl hired to carry 100-pound sacks of grain out to waiting trucks.
“Curtis can tell,” she said. “He can tell where you’ve been and what you’ve been doing, and it’s a kind of magic, like that e.s.p. stuff.”
May 8, 2013
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 color of your shirt. Read more
May 1, 2013
Promoting business is a job itself
Emily’s dilemma was obvious: How do you sell manure? Since she fell in love with Dewey Decker, she could think of nothing less than spending her life with him and embracing the fertilizer business whole hog, so to speak. Emily Stickles has never done anything halfway.
In her job with the county, she has kept a vigilant eye on almost every business around, encouraged where she could, and crushing hard if she needed to stomp on violators. Read more
September 26, 2012
Walking teaches a lesson the hard way
It was that magic time of morning for those of us at the Mule Barn; the time when we’re so full of coffee we can’t walk, and it’s time to decide whether to order lunch there or go home. That’s when Bert walked in. Kinda limped in, actually. He made his way over and sat down and turned his coffee cup right side up.
“I’m hurting boys,” he said. “That’s a fact. ‘Course Maizie told me it was a fool thing to do, but you know how she is, so I did it anyway.”
“What’s that, Bert?”
May 23, 2012
Everyone has his own favorite spot on Lewis Creek, I guess. Some of us favor the swimming hole below Miller’s old place, with its rope swing and the kids who frolic there on hot summer days.
For Doc and Dud, it’s the big race below the rocks where the huge lunker trout lives. All our efforts to catch him have so far gone unrewarded, and he keeps getting bigger each year. Read more
January 18, 2012
Dud Campbell had been quiet for almost an hour, which brought concern to his wife, Anita. Dud isn’t the strong, silent type. He’s more like a quick, noisy type. After an hour had gone by in silence, he picked up a sheet of paper and began taking notes.
“Dinner’s pretty soon, Hon,” Anita said.
“Can’t eat now. Uh, can I have something later, maybe?”
“Sure. Hey, you OK?”
He nodded, then went for the coffee pot. He gave Anita a hug on his way back to the table.
December 28, 2011
Fence and envy grow together in this town
We watched the fence growing, growing even as the snow fell, and there was bile and envy oozing from several pores in town.
This was the rich guy’s fence. The rich guy and his wife moved to our quiet little town to spend weekends. Their real home is two hours away in the city. He owns a factory or store or something down there.
December 21, 2011
A chance to look back at the past 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 events of the past year and toss them around and ask why.
It has been a good year for each of us in some respects, and a bad year in others. Just like every year.
A few of our young people died this year. Others were born. Some precious old-timers left us, too, but at least they’d had the chance to hang and rattle and turn gray. It was the young ones that make us ask the tough questions.
November 30, 2011
When Pop Walker sneaked out the kitchen door the other day, it affected all of us. He’s been a resident of the Rest of Your Life retirement home for several years now.
He still remembers who said what during combat in Europe, but has a hard time remembering if he’s had breakfast.
The call went out down at the sheriff’s office around 10 p.m. that Pop had slipped through the enemy lines, meaning the kitchen staff, and was on the loose. One of the deputies called Doc, who was a friend of his since forever, and Doc alerted the rest of us.
October 5, 2011
Take one woman with you when you shop
We knew. We looked at Dewey and we knew tragedy had struck. Naturally we assumed his carefully planned courtship of Emily Stickles had died a stillborn dream, but that wasn’t it.
He still hadn’t met her, turns out. When he came to the Mule Barn’s philosophy counter, he sorta collapsed into a chair, moaned and flipped his mug to the upright position.
“Who’s going to ask him?” Doc finally said.