“It’s fair time”


   It’s fair time again. Time for dreams to come true and for disappointments to temporarily sweep through our lives. But the disappointments can’t really get much of a purchase, because there’s too much fun going on.

  Last year’s surprise winner of the quilting competition, Windy Wilson, didn’t win this year, but he was ‘honorably mentioned,’ which is pretty good for an old cowboy and camp cook. Windy was having a deep-fried turkey leg later. When the boys from the Mule Barn found him, and commiserated with him on his lack of a blue ribbon, he just told them, “Boys, I got honorably mentioned this here year, and when you jest consider all them needle ladies I go up against, ain’t bad. Ain’t bad a-tall.”

  Doc has a bottle of his homemade wine in the action this year, but the rest of the members of the world-dilemma think tank think Doc’s vino is going to tank. They’ve sampled it before. Doc even had Dewey bring over a pickup load of fertilizer last spring for his grapevines.

 But when he’d announced this one morning at coffee, Steve leaned over and whispered in Bert’s ear, “Better off eating the fertilizer and pouring that wine on the rose bushes.”

   Dud was quieter than usual at the turkey leg get together. He could probably enter the accordion-playing competition, but he wasn’t even close to being good enough to give the others a run for their money. His book, well, it might not be published for years yet. And there wasn’t a book-writing contest at the fair, anyway.

 But it’s fair time, and there’s just so much time to entertain disappointments before they are swept away by the happy screams of children coming from the midway, and the looks of pride when a young person brings a beautiful animal into the show ring to be judged.

  Besides, where else can you find a deep-fried turkey leg?

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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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