Cheat? Who’s cheating?

Help me welcome Slim Randles as our Wednesday’s Guest today, with a story about what cabin fever can do to a man. Windy sinks to a new low. Read on to find out just how low.

It’s getting close to Christmas, so I thought some cookies were in order for a snack today. Help yourself.

“The main problem,” said Windy to himself, “is a lack of variety.”

He got up from his kitchen table and poured a fourth cup of coffee. The weather outside was terrible, he didn’t have any work to do today, Ramses was healthy and asleep over next to the heater. “Not bad,” said the old cowboy philosopher and camp cook.

I could do a lot worse, he thought. But still, there was that darn lack of variety. And it was this problem that took him back to the table and made him shuffle the cards once again. When he was a young cowboy and learning to lose at the non-stop poker game in the bunkhouse, it was different. The card playing itself was fun, but losing money wasn’t.

Oh, it wasn’t much money … cowboy wages being what they were then … and still are. It was just the laughing and the storytelling, really, and waiting to see if Lady Luck actually recognized you sitting there waiting for her.

Windy Wilson also remembered the preacher staring into the congregation looking for a sinner or two and declaring playing cards to be one-way tickets to perdition. Well, that sermon had a profound effect on young Windy, so he stopped going to church.

But this solitaire game. You just deal them out face down and start to turn them over slowly. Red on black. Black on red. Then, about three rows up, he hit a red roadblock, with no black cards.

“Well, maybe just this once I could use a red card to sorta get me started again.”



But Ramses won’t tell.

Not my fault, thought Windy. The cards are only in red and black. Had a winter shirt those colors once. This solitaire is not my fault. It’s just that darned lack of variety.
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Brought to you by Ol’ Max Evans, the First Thousand Years. Life story of the western literary legend.

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Check out all of Slim’s award-winning books at, and in better bookstores and bunkhouses throughout the free world.

All of the posts here are from his syndicated column, Home Country that is read in hundreds of newspapers across the country. I am always happy to have him share his wit and wisdom here.

Slim Randles is a veteran newspaperman, hunting guide, cowboy and dog musher. He was a feature writer and columnist for The Anchorage Daily News for 10 years and guided hunters in the Alaska Range and the Talkeetna Mountains. A resident of New Mexico now for more than 30 years, Randles is the prize-winning author of a dozen books, and is host of two podcasts and a television program. 

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