Hot, Hotter, Hottest


  “Hot? Did you say hot?”

  “Sure did, Windy, have a seat and join us,” said Doc. We were huddled up in the coolth of the air conditioner blast in that certain part of the dining room at the Mule Barn truck stop. Yes. It was hot.

  “Ain’t like Death Valley, howsomever,” Windy said. “Now boys, that there’s HOT!”

   “You been to Death Valley, Windy?”

  “Shore did, Steve. Wellsir, it was a long time back, ‘bout the time of when I ferget who was president. One of them guys who ain’t president any more. But I was jest percolatin’ ‘round and got me this here wranglin’ job over there at Furnace Crick. Hot? Say, it was so hot it melted your whiskers! But they needed these dudes wrangled and I packed mules for ‘em … until the accident …”


  “Oh Doc, it was terrible. One day I was packin’ pic-a-nic supplies for ‘em, and I had me eight mule loads of that Jiffy Pop popcorn, you know … ‘cuz they liked popcorn, ya see. Wellsir, it were so danged hot that popcorn started a-poppin’ inside them cans, and it flat blew the lids off them cans. Right out there in the dang desert …”

  Windy paused a moment to wipe away a tear.

  “And that there popcorn went all over the ground … and … and them mules saw it and thought it was snow … and froze to death!”

Windy Wilson fans can listen to his philosophies on Home Country with Slim Randles on your local country music 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.


  Huntington Beach News

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