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Home Country

BY SLIM RANDLES

It began the way most miracles do: by accident or the hand of God, take your pick.

It might have been the weather, at least partly. For December, the day had been almost balmy and warm. You know, sweaters instead of heavy coats. No mittens in sight.

Then there were Christmas lights on the stores, and that little bunch of Girl Scouts out raising money in front of the Read Me Now bookstore. Jasper Blankenship was inside going through the books to fortify his cabin's library for winter and sat, listening with a smile to the girls as they laughed and waited for customers that weren't really coming along too briskly.

"It's a shame there aren't more people out today for those girls," said Sarah McKinley, behind the counter. Jasper nodded and paid for his books, then walked out to the truck. He stopped and thought for a while, then brought out his violin, rosined the bow, and walked over to the sidewalk next to the girls.

"You girls like fiddle music?" he asked.

"Sure do."

And Jasper began playing fiddle tunes. Carla Martinez was driving down the street, headed for the Soup 'R Market when she saw the Girl Scouts dancing with each other in front of their table to Jasper's music. Before he'd had time to finish that tune, she'd returned with her guitar and joined the fun.

Jim Albertson, the elementary school principal, showed up with a harmonica, and he wasn't bad at it. Dud got out his accordion and was able to at least do the bass buttons as accompaniment.

By this time, it was getting dark in the street, and several people turned headlights on the area in front of the bookstore. Older people had joined the Girl Scouts dancing in the streets, and Delbert Chin from the Chinese restaurant across the street sent one of his girls out with a huge pot of coffee and paper cups.

The party was on. It lasted until the cars' headlights began to wear down the batteries, but during its brief lifetime, the street dance and mid-winter party cast a blessing on us all. It must have been the weather.

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

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