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2011-12-08 digital edition

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2011-12-08 / General Stories

Home Country

by Slim Randles

When Pop Walker sneaked out the kitchen door the other day, it affected all of us. He’s been a resident of the Rest of Your Life retirement home for several years now.

He still remembers who said what during combat in Europe, but has a hard time remembering if he’s had breakfast.

The call went out down at the Sheriff’s office around 10 p.m. that Pop had slipped through the enemy lines, meaning the kitchen staff, and was on the loose. One of the deputies called Doc, who was a friend of his since forever, and Doc alerted the rest of us.

Pop is one of our own, of course. A couple of years ago, he took his coffee black and his philosophy straight at the philosophy counter at the Mule Barn.

It was cold, and they found his heavy coat still in his room, so this wasn’t good.

The deputies checked out the interstate and volunteers hit the all-night diners to see if he’d checked in there. No luck.

The cook at the home was crying, and she said Pop had been talking about going to see his buddy, Jasper, again, and did we know someone named Jasper?

Sure. Jasper Blankenship, up at the cabin in the mountains. When we heard this, the hunt actually took more form. Two guys started up at Jasper’s place and worked down the road. Steve and Dud both went horseback and started from the edge of town.

Steve found him. Pop was sitting and shivering under a tree high up on a ridge. Steve used the cell phone to let us know he was all right, then built a fire and wrapped a blanket around Pop.

Pop wouldn’t go back until Steve told him Jasper was down at the home, waiting for him. And Steve let him ride in the saddle, too. But before that happened, Steve ducked off behind a rock and made another phone call, to be sure Jasper would be there.

Two hours later, everyone had coffee and doughnuts back at the home, and they fixed the lock on the kitchen door. We have to be careful with those who have problems. We can’t afford to lose beautiful people like Pop.

Brought to you by Slim’s awardwinning book ( and stocking stuffer) “A Cowboy’s Guide to Growing Up Right.” Learn more at http:// www.nmsantos.com/ Slim/Slim.html.

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