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2012-02-16 digital edition

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2012-02-16 / General Stories

Home Country

by Slim Randles

It’s always a treat when Jasper Blankenship comes down from the diggin’s with his dog, Arthur, to see us here in town and stop by for stories and coffee at the Mule Barn.

“Jasper, is it true you built your cabin with only an ax?”

Jasper nodded.

“Aren’t axes kinda … hard to get used to?” Herb asked.

“ Sometimes an ax gets downright peculiar,” Jasper said, slathering two inches of strawberry jam on his toast. “Now you boys remember ol’ John Buekers from Ohio, right? Came to visit a while back? He told me a story about just such an ax.”

Jasper sucked down some more coffee and looked out the window to see if Arthur was okay in the pickup truck. He was.

“Now according to John, there was this city guy had a cabin ‘way off in the hills. Used to go up there on the weekends. This feller bought himself a brand-new ax … double-bit cruiser … sharpened that puppy up to where it could cut corners and government red tape. Took it up to the cabin and laid into that wood pile. When he left to go back to town, he leaned the new ax against the wall of the cabin.

“Now the very next weekend, this guy goes back to the cabin and finds that moisture in the air had made a big curve in that ax handle. Couldn’t use it, of course, and he was wondering what to do about it. So when he left to go back to the city Sunday evening, he turned that ax around the other way and figured that’d correct that bowing in the handle.”

“And did it?” Doc asked.

“Sure did, Doc. When he got up there the next Saturday morning, not only was the curve corrected, but it had gone completely the other direction and was bowed out the other way. That ol’ wood pile of his was needing some assistance, too.”

“So he bought a new ax?” said Dud.

“Nope,” Jasper said. “That’d be giving up, and man was put here to be master of beasts of the field, television remote controls and fussy ax handles. He subdivided the whole thing out in his mind before deciding how to win.”

Jasper grinned and bull-snaked down another piece of toast.

“And…?” Doc said.

“And he figured he would try coming up on Wednesday …”

Brought to you by Slim’s awardwinning books at www.slimrandles.com, where a bunch of the stories are really funny.

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