Slim Randles' Home Country
Ed or the dogs
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Sure was good to
see Jimmy back from the Middle East last week. He looks good in that
uniform, too. He was running all over the place for a few days,
visiting everyone he knows, but he finally came into the Mule Barn
and sat at the philosophy counter, headquarters of the world dilemma
think tank, to be with us.
"Must be good to be home," Doc said.
"You bet," Jimmy said. "But
it isn't the same as it was."
We thought about that. Thought back over the year he'd been gone.
A few new babies born, a few old-timers gone to rest. Oh yes, they
finally filled that pothole in front of the drugstore. But that was
"What do you mean, it isn't the same, Jimmy?"
"This is going to sound funny to you guys," he said, "but all
that time over there, I kept thinking about how nice it was going to
be to get out in the woods at night again with Ed Lakey and the dogs
and go coon hunting, you know? It was so hot over there, I tried to
remember what it felt like to wear Carhartt coveralls and feel that
cold night air and hear those hounds bawling and running down along
the river. Oh man, that was one of the things that kept me going."
He looked at us and his mind came back home there for a minute.
"Of course, I missed you guys, too. Thought about you a lot."
"Well, sure you did," Doc said.
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"Anyway," Jimmy said, "I got home and the first thing I did ...
well, almost the first thing I did ... was call Ed and tell him I
needed to get in the woods, and how about he throws those dogs in
the truck, you know, and we'll go hunting? He told me he was sorry,
but he didn't have a single hound any more. Had to quit coon hunting
"Well, you know Ed. He lives to go hunting with those dogs, so I
asked him what happened. He said his wife was upset at him for
spending so much time with those dogs and not with her. She said he
loved those dogs more than he loved her and she told him either the
dogs would have to go or she would.
"So Ed said, 'Doggonit, Jimmy. I flipped a coin and the dogs
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