Herb's Morning Exercise


    Doc was just getting up to leave the philosophy counter as Herb walked in. Herb was grinning and flexing muscles and had the look of eagles in his eyes. We stared.

  “Herb,” said Doc. “You know, you can overdo a good thing.”

  “Why Doc … whatever do you mean?”

  “I realize that getting more exercise is your resolution for the new year, but a man your age … you need to pace yourself a little, that’s all. Don’t try to get in shape all at once.”

  “Why Doc, I’ve never felt better in my life. Hey, you were so right to get me on this exercise kick. I’ve been meaning to thank you. It’s just what I’ve been needing. What would you think about my playing some football in the spring? I mean, it’s just touch football, but I miss the ol’ razz-matazz, you know?”

  Doc shook his head sadly and walked out. Herb started laughing and sat down with us and flipped his cup over for his morning eye opener.

  “What was that all about, Herb?” Dud asked.

  “A little joke I’m playing on Doc, that’s all,” Herb said. “You remember how Doc has been on my case to get more exercise and slim down some? Well, there was only one way to shut him up, so I started running. I bought a sweat suit and started running. I run past his house each morning. Then, about an hour later, I run past his house the other direction, huffing and puffing and looking at my watch.”

  “An hour? You run for an hour each morning?”

  “Of course not,” Herb said, laughing. “I run past Doc’s house then walk the block to the library. An hour later, I run past Doc’s house and then walk two blocks home.”

   We stared at him.

  “What?” he said. “You know Doc’s going to worry about me one way or the other. I just thought I’d change it up a bit.”

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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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