Christmas Cheer

Well, December is upon us and we’ll soon be facing another New Year. This past one certainly has been a challenge for so many of us, and my hope is that we can all ease through these next few weeks without any mishaps and get a start on 2021 with good health.

Before I turn the stage over to my friend Slim Randles for his Wednesday’s Guest post, I do want to take a moment to mention my two Christmas short stories that are available at Amazon. While our lives are all topsy-turvy due to the pandemic and all the political and social unrest, it’s good to read a story that lifts our spirits. I’ve been reading a few of those, including The Cowboy Who Saved Christmas , a collection of three fun and romantic stories by Jodi Thomas, Sharla Lovelace and Scarlett Dunn.

My stories, The Gift and The Last Dollar center around families, kindness, and a bit of magic.

Now, here’s Slim. Grab a cup of hot chocolate to keep you warm this chilly winter day and enjoy…

Steve was just sitting there on the tailgate of his pickup, looking out at the world and thinking he’s doing all right. The two little kids walking down the sidewalk saw their favorite cowboy sitting there and grinned.

“Hi Steve!”

“Oh hey there, Bobby … Sylvia … how you kids doing these days?”

“Had a good Thanksgiving. Yep. Getting ready for Christmas. Bobby was telling me just a while ago that he wants to train horses, like you, when he grows up.”

“I told you not to say anything, Syl, but there you go again. Now Steve will think all I want is horse training lessons.”

“Horse training lessons?” Steve said. “Now that would be a good idea, actually. It’s always a smart thing to learn from others’ mistakes before you make the same ones.”


“See this scar on my arm?” They both nodded. “Barbed wire fence at 27 miles an hour. Horse didn’t have a mark on him.”

“That was a mistake?”

“Sure was, Bobby. I wasn’t supposed to ride that horse. I was about 12, and they told me to ride something gentler.”

“But you didn’t, huh?”

“No, Sylvia I didn’t, because when you’re 12, you already know more than the grown-ups around you. It was great, being that smart when I was only 12.”

The kids examined every inch of the scar. “I bet you learned, huh?”

“Oh sure, I learned never to run a fractious horse along a barbed-wiire fence. And I learned other stuff, too. My right leg’s been broken once and I couldn’t work for almost two months. My left foot was stomped on and two bones broken by a draft horse I was shoeing, and this scar on the back of my neck? Low branch on a tree and a runaway colt. And on this other arm … see these? That’s all from a horse jerking his hoof while I was shoeing him and I hadn’t clinched the nail yet.”

Bobby thought for a minute. “That’s a lot of learning, Steve. Did it hurt?”

“Every one of them and a couple I don’t show to anyone. Are you ready to learn how to be a cowboy? Need some scars?”

“I …. well … I guess I’d better ask my folks first.”

Brought to you by A Cowboy’s Guide to Growing Up Right. Look it over at

Avuncular tips from a guy who made lots of mistakes.

Check out all of Slim’s award-winning books at his Goodreads Page 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.

2 thoughts on “Christmas Cheer”

  1. Welcome December! I will be glad to leave 2020 behind. In the meantime, l will enjoy the joy of my favorite holiday with hope for a much better 2021.
    Enjoyed Slim’s story with a cup of morning coffee.

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