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Home Country

BY SLIM RANDLES

I was studying my card when the guys walked in for coffee. "What did you get?" asked Doc.

"D-24."

"Just one?"

"Yeah. The boys caught me when I was kinda short, so I only got the one this year."

"They hit me for ten," Doc said. "In E section."

Dud looked at us. "I think E section's a pretty good bet. Especially later in the afternoon. The sun will be over there then. Nice and warm. She's liable to go there."

It's Cow-a-dunga time again. It's Mr. Shaver's idea. He's the music teacher for all three of our schools here, and he needed a way the kids could raise some money for band trips.

"I hear they're using one of Simmons's cows this year," said Dud. "Doc, is there any kind of laxative you can give a cow?"

"How should I know? I'm not a veterinarian. Besides, you know they'll keep her identity a secret until Saturday. They know there's people out there just like you who'd like to 'doctor' that cow."

We all laughed. No one would think of bothering the cow, of course, but we'll all spend at least part of Saturday down in the bleachers at the high school football field keeping an eye on that cow. That's the whole fun of Cow-a-dunga, of course.

By now, the kids have that acre of grass all crisscrossed with chalk lines, dividing the field up into one-yard squares. Each square sells for a buck. If all the squares sell, that's five grand for the kids. The winner is determined by a cow.

On Saturday, a cow will be released onto the field, and watched carefully by a whole bunch of us. When the cow's digestive system causes her to plop a decoration onto the field, the lucky holder of that square gets five hundred bucks. There are, of course, strict rules against arm waving, chowsing noises, horn honking and the application of anything that might sway her toward or away from any particular square.

"I wonder," said Steve, "if there's any rule against using the evil eye. You know, like if she's heading for Doc's block of squares, I could send her a signal to hold it for a while."

"Cheaters never prosper," said Doc.

Brought to you by Sun Dog Days, now on sale at bookstores everywhere, or from www.unmpress.com.

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