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Home Country

BY SLIM RANDLES

The newspapers began disappearing about two weeks ago.Disappearing like smoke in a high wind. The paper boy swore he delivered all of them, same as usual. Same as his older brother had before him.

Said he was able to "porch" quite a few. But the papers kept disappearing, and it wasn't long before gab sessions were taking place in the beauty parlors and barber shops and the coffee shops regarding our local crime spree.

Theft hasn't really been a problem here, you see. Usually something that starts out looking like theft turns out to be something pretty innocent that just happened to be complicated by a lack of communication.

Oh, we're not completely free of theft, of course. Like last summer, when someone took Bert's new sprinkler off his hose in broad daylight in the front yard. For several days, Bert drove around looking at the patterns our sprinklers had, trying to locate his own. It was no use. He finally reported to us down at the Mule Barn truck stop's philosophy counter and world dilemma think tank that this sticky-fingered act of legerdemain was stacking up to be the work of a grab-it-and-git drive-by bandit from out of town.

That's why, when the papers began disappearing from our front lawns and even from the sanctity of our front porches, we knew something had to be done. Several volunteers from the Mule Barn agreed to rise early and watch to see if their papers vanished and who did it.

This Neighborhood Watch exercise worked. Blackie was caught in the act and his crime spree ended before very many papers had vanished. Then Blackie was taken home and his owner was informed that this was one Labrador retriever who had retrieved his last paper without paying for a subscription. Piles of newspapers were found in Blackie's house and behind the swing set.

The community was given a guarantee that on delivery mornings, Blackie would remain on the chain until everyone had their paper and coffee.

Crime cannot be allowed to continue. Especially when everyone needs to read the paper to see how much the editor dared to print.

Brought to you by "Sun Dog Days." Check it out at www.unmpress.com

Home Country

BY SLIM RANDLES

George down at the paint store managed to pull off something no one ever thought possible; he found, wooed and wed a woman without everyone in town knowing about it.

In a community where everyone knows how many times a day each person brushes his teeth, and how many teeth each one of us has, this was something of a miracle.

George isn't a young man, and he'd been widowed for more than 10 years. His children were grown and gone, except for Elwood, his son who lives just out of town on a little place out there. The amazing thing was, we discovered, Elwood didn't know about this, either.

One day George showed up at church with a very friendly lady on his arm and asked Pastor Jeff if he could speak for a second. Jeff said sure, and George stood and introduced Judy, his new bride, to the congregation.

Immediately, the underground telegraph went to work. The beauty parlor investigative team sprang into action. Who is Judy? Where's she from? Who are her people? Your people are very important here, of course, as we are firm believers that the acorn doesn't fall far from the tree.

Elwood was waylaid one morning as he foolishly walked past the beauty parlor. He was snatched in as though hooked to a vacuum cleaner. All he knew, he told them, was that Judy seemed really nice, and that she was from the city, and that his dad and Judy had written each other for a long time.

The term "mail order bride" was bandied about by one or two members of the curler crew, but of course it wasn't true and didn't take. He courted her fair and square by postage stamp until they both got computers and made faster connections. George told us.

We cornered him for coffee one morning and asked about the courting procedures and all that. He told us he "had" to get married. Our jaws dropped, and then he laughed and said he "had to get married because I couldn't afford the phone bill any more."

A guy that good at keeping a secret in this valley would make a great spy.

Brought to you by "Sun Dog Days". Check it out at www.unmpress.com.

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