The Frozen Rodeo



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It’s early January on Hank’s ranch when Slim and Loper receive word that an ice storm is headed their way.  However, just as they’re about to prepare the cattle and stock tanks at the ranch to safely weather the storm, Deputy Kile calls with some bad news.  It seems that one of their electric fences has short-circuited, and some of their wheat pasture steers have strayed into town and onto the Twitchell golf course!  Slim saddles up his horse and heads off to retrieve the steers—with Hank’s help of course—but a few mishaps delay his cowboying just long enough to coat Twitchell in ice and turn his steer-roping adventure into a rip-roaring frozen rodeo!


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Decorating Slim’s House

     I must give Drover credit for discovering this new amusement, and I’ll admit that I’d never done it before, or had even thought about doing it. I mean, viewed from a certain angle, you might be tempted to say that it was a little ridiculous—a dog pushing a roll of paper around with his nose.  

But right away, I sensed that…how can I say this?  I was seized by a feeling that this little exercise could transfume into something…well, artistic, something that expressed a dog’s Inner Dogness.   Something with Meaning.

Most of your ordinary mutts know nothing about this kind of thing, I mean, in an average day, they spend their time sleeping, scratching fleas, and figuring out new ways to say, “Duhhhh.”  But those of us who live on top of the mountaintop have a broader, deeper view of things.  We’re aware of higher emotions that can’t be expressed through barks or saying “duh.”   

It’s a powerful desire to make the world just a little nicer than it was before, through a Work of Art.

And somehow, in a flash of insight, that’s what I saw in this exercise—an opportunity to reveal a new form of beauty that was hidden inside the Paper Roll of Life.  It was right there in front of me, like a flower that hadn’t bloomed.  All I had to do was make it happen.

I cleared Mister Squeakbox out of the way, loosened up the muscles in my enormous shoulders, took a semi-crouched position in front of the paper roll, and lined up my nose.  When everything was set and ready, I crept forward and gave it a nudge.  It moved forward, leaving a perfect trail of white bunting material.

“Look at that, son.  Is that impressive or what?”

“Yeah, that’s what I was doing.”

“That’s NOT what you were doing.  You were just pushing and shoving without any kind of thought or pattern.  It was a careless amusement.  This is something entirely different.”

“Yeah, but…”

“Drover, instead of arguing, why don’t you pay attention?  You might actually learn something.”

“It kind of hurts my feelings.”

“You’ll get over it.”

I returned to my work, lined up my nose, and gave the paper another nudge, this time with more punch.  The roll leaped forward, leaving a perfect little highway of white paper in its wake.  In a rush of inspiration, I did it again, only this time I moved beyond the Nudge Procedure and gave it a pretty solid push with an upward thrust of my nose.  

Amazing!  It rolled into the hallway, while I maintained a disciplined position right behind it.  See, in this kind of exercise, the disciplined position is everything.  You have to maintain your spacing, don’t you know, so that when the roll slows down, you’re right there to keep it moving.  

Hey, I was really on a roll now!

A little humor there, did you get it?  I was ON A ROLL, rolling a roll of paper down the hall.  Ha ha.

Anyway, things were turning out great and I had gotten the technique down to a fine art.  Halfway down the hall, I picked up speed, batted and chased the roll to the end of the hallway, into Slim’s bedroom, and under his bed.  

At that point, things got more complicated.  In the confined space beneath the bed, I found it impossible to keep up the momentum of the momentum.  The roll stopped unrolling, in other words, so I had to shift tactics.  With a mighty upward thrust of the nose, I sent it flying out from beneath the bed, then scrambled out and….BONK…made a slight miscalculation about the height of the stupid bed, but it was only a temporary setback.


Once I’d cleared the bed, I resumed the Chasing Position and went flying down the hallway and back into the living room.  I mean, it was really something to see.  You’ve seen hockey players racing across the ice in pursuit of the muck?  Same deal. I wasn’t wearing skates or swinging a hockey pick, but, fellers, this was pockery in motion, a dog on a mission to decorate the world with an artful expression of Papericity!  

Hey, I was bringing new forms of beauty into the drab dungeon of Slim’s shack.

Back in the living room, I had to shut down the whole procedure because, well, I ran out of paper.  I mean, the roll just vanished and became an empty tube of cardboard, which was a bummer.  I was just hitting my stride with this deal.

At that point, I noticed a strange man standing in front of the closet, shining a flashlight inside and pawing through things on the shelf.  Good grief, was this a burglar who had broken into the house whilst I’d been occupied with Arts and Crafts?  

I had never seen this guy before, and he sure as thunder had no business rummaging around in Slim’s closet!  

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