So, last week in NE Texas where I live it was “near unto summer” as my country uncle used to say about warm spring weather. That was the same uncle who told me the proper way to pronounce the word fire. Where he lived in the hills of West Virginia, the word isn’t pronounced “fi-er”. It’s “faar” as if you’re going “a far piece down the road.” Although here in Texas one goes a “fer” piece down the road.
This week, winter has decided to come back, even though we have all wished it gone and I’ve already washed all the sheets and blankets covering outdoor potted plants. Temps will be below freezing, although not frigid, thank goodness, and we might even have snow mid-week. Hmmmm. Snowman anyone?
ISN’T IT ABSURD?
Putin started a war. Only two day into it, gasoline prices started to rise. People are blaming President Biden for “the pain at the pump.” Biden had nothing to do with the price escalation. Blame Putin and the greed of oil companies.
More insurrectionists are being sent to jail. Yet so many people still believe what they did on January 6 was their patriotic duty. Silly me, I thought our patriotic duty was to support the constitution.
Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. The rallying cry of those who rabidly fight against any measures of gun safety and gun control. Of people couldn’t get guns, maybe the victims of gun violence in schools would only have some cuts from somebody with a knife, not 15 dead in as many seconds from an automatic rifle. What’s happening to the Red Flag gun laws across the country? The law provides for officials to remove guns from people who may harm themselves or others. Sadly, many states are fighting against it, citing the ever-hand Second Amendment. This study from NYU Law & Policy reveals more about the proposed laws, as well as how it DOES NOT infringe on 2nd Amendment rights.
Now, even though it’s not Wednesday, the usual day for a visit from Slim Randles, I thought it would be good to end this blog with a story of how he got to be known as Seven-Dog Slim back in Alaska. It’s a pleasant story in contrast to the daily news. Relax and enjoy…
You know, it didn’t really seem like the day was so auspicious. It was cold. There was snow on the ground there on the baseball diamond. But then, it’s winter in Alaska … Anchorage, actually, and it should be cold.
First Saturday in March, 1973. More than 40 dog teams were there, getting lined out and harnessed by mushers and their handlers. I was one of those dog mushers. We had a couple of world champions to race against and a lot of folks like me … called “recreational” mushers by the big shots in racing. In my case, my cabin was more than 12 miles from pavement, and dog sledding was how we got to the car.
We kept looking at each other and silently asking, “Are we really going to do this?”
Are we really going to drive these teams 1,100 miles across Alaska and end up in Nome?”
Well, yes. Most of the teams got there. I didn’t. I crushed an ankle about halfway to Nome, and was flown by helicopter back to a hospital in Anchorage.
But at least I was part of it. “It” was the very first Iditarod Dog Sled Race. I had seven dogs, which was the minimum allowed, and I had to borrow someone’s house pet to get the seven. The next year the minimum was nine dogs, so my one distinction is being the only guy to start the race with seven dogs.
There are still some old people up in that country who’ll know who you’re talking about if you mention “Seven-Dog Slim.” And this Saturday, as the teams leave Anchorage on that long, cold, camping trip, you mushers and dogs can count on good luck prayers from ol’ Seven-Dog Slim.
Be careful and take care of your dogs. It’s a very long way to Nome.
Brought to you by “Dogsled, A True Tale of the North” by Slim Randles, now an Amazon.com book.
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.
That’s all for today, folks. I hope the week ahead is a pleasant one. Don’t forget to smile now and then.