“Windy's Tea Kettle Whistle”


 Windy Wilson dropped anchor at the philosophy counter just about the time we’d finished the hash browns with chile on the side. Red this time. Windy looked terrible.

  “What’s wrong, Windy?”

  “These here folks today …” he said. And we gulped a bit when we hear a sentence begun that way. “Folks today…” he sounded resigned, “they don’t ever try to unnerstand folks who ain’t perzackly like them. And people who have a leetle handiclap? Fergit it!”

  Yep. Windy talks like that.

  “What happened, Windy?”

  “Wellsir, Doc, you know I been gittin’ a leetle hard a-hearin’ recently. Sometimes gotta ask somebody to say somethin’ twice … you know?”

  We all knew.

  “It’s that ding-danged tea kettle,” Windy said. “You know … got a whistler on it for when the water boils up? Cain’t hear it. I gotta be right in the ding-danged kitchen to hear it.”

  “So you got some hearing aids?” Steve asked.

  “Naw, cost too much. What I figgered to do was jest make that tea kettle louder. I saw one a them coach whistles in the store and I got that fer only $3.59. Then I got me a little piece of tube thing and I glued ‘er all together. Hey, looks good, too. I figgered, that there steam would come out and actuarialize that coach whistle, and I know I could hear that.”

  “Did it work, Windy?”

  “Work? Well, I should smile it worked,” he said, proudly. “I was admirin’ that sound. I could hear it even out in the back yard. Yessir. ‘course my dog, Ramses, he wouldn’t come back in, but it’s a nice day. It’s them other folks.”

  He took a sip of coffee. “Wellsir, first thing happens is Old Man Johnson next door, he calls the fire departmentals and tells ‘em my smoke alarm is goin’ off. Then Mrs. Garcia over the way, she calls the cops and says my burglar alarm is goin’ off. That ol’ brown dog of the Simpsons started barkin’ and runnin’ off toward Lewis Crick. Them kids at the playground thought recess was over and went back in to class.”

  Windy shook his head. “First thing ya know, sireens and flashing lights up and down the street. Oh well … two good things come of it, though.”

  “Two things?”

  “Yep. I can hear that kettle now, and I noticed I ain’t got no more gophers in the yard.”


Listen to “Home Country with Slim Randles” on your local classic country station.


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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