The Joke’s On…?

Where I live it’s late Wednesday afternoon, or early evening depending on how you look at the clock, so it’s still officially Hump-Day and always a good day to have Slim Randles as my guest. I won’t bore you with the details of what kept me out of my office most of the day. 

Well, I can bore you with the good part of the day. One of my sons came and changed my furnace filters. They’d been whining and wheezing for days, even keeping me awake at night. All is quiet now, and I had a nice visit with my son after the chores were done. 🙂 Pie was involved. 

Grab a cup of coffee and join up with Slim and the guys at the Mule Barn Truck Stop.


“What a great winter morning, guys,” said Doc, seating himself at the philosophy counter and flipping his cup to the upright and fillable position. “Makes a guy glad to be alive.”

We all nodded and sipped.

“Say Doc,” said Herb, “how’s old Chipper getting along these days?”

We all chuckled, because all the locals know Chipper was invented by Doc a few years back to be his very own imaginary squirrel. Yeah, Doc’s like that.

Doc laughed, too. “Hibernation, boys,” he said, “Sacked out ‘til spring. You should all get hibernating pets. They’re really easy to care for as long as they stay asleep.”

“And he’s all tucked in?” Steve wanted to know.

“Fluffy tail covering his face. The very picture of warm beds and happy dreams.”

“That’s good,” said Dud.

The man in the uniform stood up from his place over in the booth and walked over to the counter. “Excuse me, sir, but are you Doc?”

Doc nodded.

“Doc that has the squirrel?”

“Well, yes,” he said.

“I’m the new game warden here and I’d like to see your squirrel permit, please.”

“Squirrel permit?”

“A civilian can’t keep a wild animal without first obtaining a permit. Otherwise, it’s a $500 fine.”

We sat in stunned silence, then Dud grinned and spoke up. “You boys haven’t met my cousin Jimmy yet, have you? He’s here for the weekend and I put him up to it.”

We made Dud buy the coffee. We all chipped in for Jimmy’s breakfast.

We’re lucky. Most cafes only serve food.

Brought to you by A Cowboy’s Guide to Packing the Backyard Horse by Slim Randles. Available now from

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.

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