"A Note from Billy"
I don’t mind Boots. He just curls up quietly against my belly and stays put. But sleeping with Desdemona can be a bit unnerving. She snores. Sometimes she gets little bad dreams and scratches me, too. But hey, I get to come in out of the cold and sleep with Aunt Ada’s cats on her sofa, and a guy can tolerate a certain amount of cat snoring for that.
I was glad when I heard Aunt Ada puttering in the kitchen because I knew it was time to get up. After she let me out, she fed me, and let me tell you … that kibble was just as good this morning as it was yesterday. And then she petted me, called me her dear Billy, and let me out to do my rounds.
Don’t let anyone tell you being the official town dog is easy. Nossirree. First, there are the kids. Me and Martin, the crossing guard, have to see them safely across the street and to school each morning. Must be band day, because I see a lot of instrument cases. Martin gets smiles from the children. I get smiles AND ear rumples, so what do you think of that!
Once those kids are safely across, the time is pretty much my own until the final bell rings in the afternoon. That would be after I get snacks at the back door of the Mule Barn and after my nap curled up against the brick wall of the drugstore downtown. You ever notice how those bricks hold the sunshine in them? Better than that white wall on the newspaper office.
This is a good day to stop by the Rest of Your Life retirement home and check on Pop Walker and Mabel Adams. Oh, I make the rounds and check on everybody, of course, but I have to admit those two are my favorites.
If today is band day at school, tomorrow will be sale day at the sale barn at the edge of town. That’s when the men bring their dogs in from the ranches to look at cows. They yell and talk funny. Not the dogs, of course. Getting your sniffing up to date is always a good thing.
Home Country is now a radio program in 17 states. Have a listen at www.homecountrydemo.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.
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