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Home Country

When it comes to romance, it's hard to beat ol' Dud. He's had the same girlfriend, Anita, for about five years now, but none of us can understand why she's still around.

"Dud Campbell," Anita said the other night, "what are you getting me for Christmas?"

"Now Honey, it wouldn't be a surprise if I told you, would it?"

"That means you haven't bought it yet, doesn't it?"

"Well, I won't say I have and I won't say I haven't, but, uh, don't get in that cupboard out in my garage now..."

"I won't, Dud," she said, purring. Ten minutes later, Dud was flipping his coffee cup upright and sliding into his place in the line of scrimmage at the philosophy counter of the Mule Barn truck stop.

"I'm dead meat, guys," he said. We inquired as to why this emotional putrefaction should be setting in, and he said, "I don't have anything for Anita for Christmas and I have no idea what to get her."

"Let's look at this scientifically for a moment," said Steve. "What kinda stuff does she like?"

"Uh ... well ... "

"You don't know, do you?" said Doc.

"Not a clue."

"Does she read? You can pick up a couple of books."

"I don't really know. I kinda figured I'd learn all that personal stuff about her after we were married."

"Does she knit?"

"Beats me."

"I got it," said Herb Collins. "You can get her a gift certificate to a store and let her pick out her own gift."

"She said if I ever did anything so insensitive, she'd brain me with a skillet."

So Dud headed home, only to find the garage door open and Anita standing there holding his brand-new Homelite XL chainsaw. He only had time enough to mumble "Our father..." when Anita set it down gently and flung herself in his arms.

"Oh Honey, how did you know I wanted a Homelite XL with automatic oiler and a 16-inch bar? I couldn't help myself. I looked in the cupboard and found it. It's just what I've always wanted."

"Well, Darlin'," Dud said in his suavest voice, "I do try to be sensitive to your needs."

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

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