Home Country-12/22/2010

by Free Speech on December 22, 2010

Lodi, WI~

Lodi Valley News serving Lodi, WI & the Lake Wisconsin area with local information since Earth Day 2008.

by Slim Randles

  I guess the stranger was more obvious to us than if he’d been in a bigger town, because we just don’t get too many unless the fishing’s good in summer. A stranger tends to stick out, and when this guy quietly showed up at the Mule Barn truck stop drinking coffee, we looked for a minute or two.

  Dud got up to go see what he was driving, but in the parking lot, only the familiar colors, dings, dents and scratches were to be seen, each car and truck resting in its customary place. So did he walk here? Take the bus?

  Doc walked over to him and invited him to bring his cup over to the round table, where all of us Knights of Unlimited Knowledge were holding forth, but he just smiled and shook his head.

  “Maybe he isn’t able to talk,” Dud said.

  We looked at him again, and tried to get on another theme … Christmas presents for wives and grandkids, with the Big Day being so close. But it didn’t take. We just kept looking at him, then looking away when he looked up at us. Loretta didn’t know who he was, either.

  “Loretta,” said Bert, “I want you to give him whatever he wants for breakfast. On me.”

  She spoke to him and he smiled and pointed to something on the menu and nodded at Bert.

   Steve was next to get up. He walked up to the stranger and tipped his hat.

   “Hey, pard,” Steve said, “you know, if you need a place to bunk tonight, we have a bunkhouse on the place with a good stove in it.”

   The stranger smiled and looked questioningly at Steve. “Just down the road there, see that ranch on the left? Just come over when you’re ready. You can have some supper with us if you like, too.”

   Steve came back. “I think he’s going to stay in the bunkhouse tonight.”

   “Oh, good,” Doc told him. “Cold tonight.”

   “Well,” Bert added, “we’ll probably find out he’s the chairman of the board of something and then feel kinda silly.”

   “I don’t think so,” Loretta said, topping off the mugs, “but he seems, well, special, I guess.”

   “Or maybe,” Doc said, “we want him to seem special.”

   “And it probably don’t matter much which,” Steve said. “It’s Christmas.”

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