"Herb Collins speaks to fifth graders"


     Before Herb Collins retired, he owned a pawn shop up in the city. A successful pawn shop. And one of the ways he likes to repay society for his good fortune is to speak to the fifth graders at our local elementary school during Career Week.

  And that’s why he was here again this year, attempting to springboard any number of ten-year-olds into the glories of buying low and selling high.

   But this year there was a difference. Some of the kids were looking over at Jimmy Thomas and Elise Jamison and couldn’t control their giggles. Jimmy and Elise, however, tried to look very sober and businesslike.

   When Herb got close to the end of his time in front of the class, he asked, as he does each year, if there were any questions.

   Jimmy and Elise raised their hands. Herb pointed to Elise.

  “Mr. Collins,” she said, “in these days of insecurity in the market place, how would the use of debentures stack up as an alternative to trade?”

  Herb stammered. “Well, I’m not real sure about that, young lady. I’ll have to get back to you on that.”

   He saw Jimmy’s hand in the air. “Yes,” he said, pointing at him.

   “Mr. Collins,” Jimmy said, “wouldn’t the use of unsecured bonds be counterintuitive to the agreement we currently share with other members of the World Bank?”

   “Uh …”

   Herb looked at his watch and excused himself to keep an appointment he didn’t realize he had until he needed it.

   The kids cracked up. So did the teacher. “Okay,” she said, “good job you two. How did you guys come to ask those questions?”

   “Doc wrote ‘em down for us,” Jimmy said.


Brought to you by Home Country (the book), published by Rio Grande Press. www.riograndepress.com.


Newspaper columnist Slim Randles, who writes the weekly Home Country column, took home two New Mexico Book Awards in 2011. His advice book for young people, “A Cowboy’s Guide to Growing Up Right,” took first place in the self-help category, and “Sweetgrass Mornings” won in the biography/memoirs category. Randles lives and works in Albuquerque. Home Country reaches 3 million hometown newspaper readers each week

Slim Randles learned mule packing from Gene Burkhart and Slim Nivens. He learned mustanging and wild burro catching from Hap Pierce. He learned horse shoeing from Rocky Earick. He learned horse training from Dick Johnson and Joe Cabral. He learned humility from the mules of the eastern High Sierra. Randles lives in Albuquerque.

Randles has written newspaper stories, magazine articles and book, both fiction and nonfiction. His column appeared in New Mexico Magazine for many years and was a popular columnist for the Anchorage Daily News and the Albuquerque Journal, and now writes a nationally syndicated column, “Home Country,” which appears in several hundred newspapers across the country.


  Huntington Beach News

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