2012-03-29 / General Stories

Home Country

by Slim Randles

It was the sun’s fault; that’s all we could figure out later. Well, that and the demise of Doc’s phantom squirrel.

For a couple of days the sun had been warming our shoulders and making us smile. You know, whispering semi-forgotten things in our ears like “fly fishing … gardens … barbecue … swimming hole…”

Normally, our good doctor would’ve put another phony ad in the Valley Weekly Miracle, offering a reward for his nonexistent squirrel, Chipper, just to hoax us into spring. But after the last time, and the ransom money for squirrel nappers, everyone here knew there wasn’t a squirrel at Doc’s house. It just wouldn’t be the same as it had been.

So Doc got this madness started by putting an ad in the VWM that took a different turn: “Spring Special! Half off on all amputations. Call Doc.”

That was the first pickle out of the jar. The first tiny slip toward Spring Madness. We look up to Doc because he has more initials after his name than anyone else in town, and besides, he delivered all of us at least once. So we waited to see who would follow his example. In our case, you have to wait a week, of course, and despite a couple of inquiring phone calls, Alberta down at the paper wasn’t telling.

Turns out it was Dewey and Bert who struck next.

Bert’s quarter- page ad promoted the town’s first (in a long time) sock hop.

“Sock Hop! Town square! Wear socks! Nothing else!”

Now he didn’t say when this would take place, but we did notice some teenage boys hanging around the square just to see if there was any chance of naked nubile nymphets. There wasn’t.

Dewey Decker, the accidentprone king of garden fertilizer in the valley (it’s hard to damage cow manure) bought an ad for his garden- enhancing products offering a free taste test.

There is something goofy and fun about spring, all right. Just ask Alberta down at the paper. She has this little spring smile …

To buy Slim’s books, go to www.slimrandles.com

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