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Home Country

There is a nighttime sweetness and hope that hovers over us this time of year here at home. This is a time for summing up and looking ahead ... and a time for dreams.

And at night... ah, that's the time, isn't it? Outside it's dark, December dark, and we're inside and warm and cocooned up. The cold makes our world shrink, especially at night. But we have our dreams.

For Janice Thomas, our art teacher at the high school, it's that painting she's planning. She makes starts at it, from time to time, but she's wise enough to know she isn't good enough to paint it yet. She paints other things well, but that one ... it has to be perfect. It will be the painting of a lifetime, she knows.

Doc will drift off to sleep tonight thinking about that new fly rod. He has half a dozen, of course, that will take about any weight line, and let him catch anything from mouse to moose. But even the most expensive rod isn't what he dreams of. This year, for Christmas, he's giving himself a rod-builder's jig, and he will make his own rod from a Sage blank. That will be the one. It will have his own wrappings and he'll put the ferrules on it himself. He'll be able to feel the fish breathe with this one. It will be true and wonderful and last forever.

For cowboy Steve, the December dream is always the same: that little cabin, and a little corral to go with it. The cabin will have a stone fireplace, and knotty pine walls. He'll sip coffee in this cabin, and listen to music on the radio and hear the breeze going through the pines outside. And in the corral a little black horse ... a good cowpony he'll call Mutt. And behind the cabin, miles of mountains to explore with Mutt.

There is a nighttime sweetness and hope that hovers over us this time of year. Here's to dreams.

Brought to you by Sun Dog Days, a novel of real cowboys, available at www.slimrandles.com.

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