Aha! A Mystery.

Please welcome Slim Randles with another story from the guys down at the Mule Barn Truck Stop. One of the reasons I enjoy his stories so much is because they remind me of listening to the farmers and ranchers who gathered at a small diner I went to when my husband and I first moved to the country. I loved to eavesdrop as they talked about the cow that got stuck in the bottom when it rained and how many friends it took to help pull the cow out; or about the price of hay and the price of beef. Would that latter be higher than the former?

So, I’ll grab a cup of coffee and have a listen to Slim and his friends. Join me and enjoy….

The problem was Mrs. Doc, you see. Oh, don’t misunderstand. She’s a perfectly wonderful lady and we all think the world of her, and as far as we know she has yet to burn down a house or start a war or anything.

But the problem is, we don’t know her first name.

If you just come out and flat ask her, she’ll smile and say, “Well, don’t you think Mrs. Doc is a nice name? I’ve had it for a long time now.”

But I guess there’s something deep inside us that hates a vacuum … a vacuum of knowledge, that is.

We’re still curious about exactly where Old Man Jenkins’ cabin is, for example. While he was alive, we never thought to bug him about where he lived, because we also cherish a man’s right to privacy. But Jenkins died on one of his trips to town, and we still didn’t know where his cabin was.

So that began a number of semi-serious expeditions into our nearby mountains to try and solve the mystery. Hasn’t happened yet, but there’s always hope deep in the souls of true explorers.

And so it is with Mrs. Doc. She introduced herself to all of us as Mrs. Doc, and … as wife of our local sawbones … she automatically deserves respect, even if that respect means maintaining a mystery.

But in a way, Mrs. Doc has added something tangible to our little society here in Home Country, because if we should ever falter for a subject of intense discussion, we have the mystery of her first name to fall back on.

Doc’s a true pal, of course, but there’s no way he’d betray his missus on this. We did ask him one time if he actually knew her first name. He gave us the strangest look and said, “What do you think? I met this girl in college named Mrs. Doc and asked her to marry me?”

The speculation has run the gamut of everything from her having a first name meaning a poisonous flower, to body parts, battleships, national parks, and disastrous storms. If we did accidentally trip over her real name, neither she nor Doc would confirm it.

So while we’re looking for Jenkins’ cabin, we can contemplate that very nice lady … Mrs. Doc.
Home Country is now a radio program in 17 states. Have a listen at www.homecountrydemo.com/

Slim Randles writes a nationally syndicated column, “Home Country” that is featured in 380 newspapers across the country. He is also the author of a number of books including  Saddle Up: A Cowboy Guide to Writing. That title, and others, are published by  LPD Press. If you enjoy his columns here, you might want to check out the book Home Country. It has some of the best of his columns.

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