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2012-08-30 digital edition

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2012-08-30 / General Stories

Home Country

by Slim Randles

There is a payoff, Doc told us, for getting the aches and pains of old age. Doc should know. We have it on good authority that he is actually older than a flat, brown rock.

“A payoff?” Steve said. Steve’s an old cowpuncher who has collected hurt places for a long time now. He kinda wriggled around, reliving in two seconds’ time two buck offs in the rocks, one horn wound from a nasty mama cow and a groin kick from a bronc mule.

“Sure,” said Doc, in his usual cheerful way. “You get gray hair, or maybe kinda bald like ol’ Steve here, and you develop wisdom, which we all know just means you know not to argue with your wife, right? So then what happens? Your grandchildren think you have all the answers.”

“So you have to help them with homework?” Dud said.

“Naw, not a bit. What I mean is, you have your grandchildren all primed for some real Olympicstyle embarrassment.”

Doc leaned over conspiratorially. “I live to embarrass my grandchildren.”

We had a good laugh, but Bert wanted specifics.

“With me,” Doc said, “it’s dancing. You see, they are all teenagers now, and therefore they are cool and know everything, and the world couldn’t turn without them. So when their friends come over and they crank that stereo up to where it’s killing the neighbor’s geraniums, I ask them just once to turn it down.”

“Takes me a lot more than once,” Bert said. “I swear those kids are hard of hearing.”

“But do you dance for them?” Doc asked. “You see, if they don’t turn it down, I kinda totter to my feet and start what the kids call the Grandpa Boogie. I mean I shake it like an Egyptian pharaoh. I wiggle and jiggle and stick out my chin like this ... and sort of thrust myself around the floor until one of them dashes over and shuts off the music. Then I go sit down and read the paper again. The first couple of times I did that, the kids got me to one side and begged me never to do that again. I guess they were just jealous of my moves. Well, I hated to show them up in front of their friends, seeing as I could dance better than they could, but the music was too loud. I tell them when the music gets more than just kinda regular, I can’t help myself and dance fever hits me like a sledgehammer.”

“So,” Steve said, “how did you do it? I mean, show us, OK?”

So Doc stood up and went into spasms, twitches and slides that had the whole coffee shop cracking up, and people didn’t know whether to applaud or call the paramedics.

“The really great thing,” said Doc, sitting back down, out of breath, with his coffee, “is that these kids think they invented being cool. And I blind-sided them with great mo-o-o-o-ves! I showed them a slink or two.

“And you’d be surprised how much quieter it is when they come over these days.”

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