Merry Mix-ups


    It was just one of those crazy mix-ups, you know. Like when one thing goes wrong it triggers another thing that goes wrong and that sets off a multiplicity of crash-and-burns that are remembered long after people are dead and nations fall to Visigoths and such.

  That’s what happened with our buddy, Dud. You see, he was there at a time when something was needed, and he stepped forward and assumed the role.

  It was the high school band, of course. We love them. There aren’t that many of them, but they’re great kids and try hard, and Mr. Garcia has really whipped them into something that can carry a tune. Every honk and wheeze was special to us. So when the planets lined up the wrong direction and Sagittarius was in the outhouse or something, Dud was there.

  It began when Mr. Garcia got called away on a family emergency. His dad, I think. So he wouldn’t be at the pep rally before the football game. Another teacher was planning to step in and lead the band through the cheers, but the entire horn section, all four of them, came down sick.

  So it was decided that the band wouldn’t play at the pep rally this time, and the cheerleaders would just cheer a capella, as it were.

  We were surprised when Dud walked into the auditorium carrying his accordion and waving to the crowd. He sat down out front and began to play waltzes and a couple of polkas. The cheerleaders didn’t know what to do to “The Tennessee Waltz,” so they just sat down and waited for Dud to run out of tunes. It didn’t take long.

  We sorta clapped at the end there, mostly from relief.

  Later, over coffee, Dud was still on a high.|

  “Did you guys like the music? I knew I could help.”

  “Well,” said Doc, “maybe if you could find some Sousa marches for the accordion.”

  “That would help, eh?”

  “Well, that, and having Mr. Garcia back.”


See just how much fun it is to catch fish the Tenkara way.


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.


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