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Distributed throughout the Greater Rockies Since 1993

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Copyright 2010 Rocky Mountain Rider. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Reproduction of any editorial material, artwork and photos is strictly forbidden without express written permission of the publisher. For information about reprint rights, please contact the editor; editor@rockymountainrider.com.

 

Better Than A.A.

By Eric Dalke, Spokane , WA

 

July 2010 Issue  

     Uncle Slim the IV was originally a Southern boy who moved West as a young man. He worked on several ranches up and down the Rocky Mountain States until he decided to settle down in the rolling hills of northeastern Nevada .

     He bought a small place and started raising and breaking mules as pack animals and occasionally when a neighbor needed the rough taken off a mule or a horse, he would oblige.

     To strangers, the name “Slim the IV,” sounded, well, rather strange.

     He was born Beauregard Leroy Bodine IV. But if anybody ever called him that, they would probably end up with a black-eye. Hence the name Slim the IV. If his friends mentioned that he ought to drop the IV at the end of his name, that would usually open the gates to a story about his heritage that he was very proud of.

     The original Slim, his great grandfather Beauregard Leroy Bodine the First, was a famous Scout for the Army in the late 1840’s. Later, in the spring of 1852, he became a scout for a large wagon train bound for Oregon . There had been many stories written about Number One and his narrow escapes from the grips of death from disasters such as flash floods, buffalo stampedes and Indian raids.

     Every succeeding generation after that was proud of their heritage and named their son after the original Beauregard and every young man who had that name didn’t care for it and went by the nickname Slim II, III or IV.

     The only trouble was by the time number IV came along, Slim was more on the portly side than on the slim side. He had a pot-belly, stood about 5’6” and tipped the scales at 185 pounds. Too much beer, I think. But he was so proud of his great granddaddy, the name Slim the IV stuck.

     Slim was breaking a neighbor’s mule to the saddle one day. The mule seemed to have a good head on his shoulders, but was born with a slight defect in his lips. When he brayed the gray-haired mule would let out a strange noise other than the tradition hee-haw sound and his lips appeared to be smiling.

     Now old Uncle Slim had been drinking beer most of the morning and probably shouldn’t have been working with a green-broke mule in the first place, but he was related to a great man in his distant past and he wasn’t going to let a little beer get in his way.

     The portly, inebriated man was astride the mule when, a half-mile away, a road-building crew set off an explosion. Due to his impaired condition, Slim didn’t really hear it, but the mule sure felt the tremors which rumbled through the Nevada desert. The mule went straight up on its hind legs, and sent Slim the IV sliding right down its back into an earthen water tank.

     The mule turned around, looked at the soaking wet Slim, and appeared to be laughing at the man. Because of the defect, instead of the normal “hee-haw,” it sounded like he was braying “Drink-king… Drink-king… Drink-king…” As he tried to climb back out of the water tank, Slim lost his footing and fell back down into the earthen enclosure. This time he almost drowned in the shallow pool because of too much alcohol.

     As Uncle Slim finally climbed back out to dry ground the mule kept braying, “Drink-king… drink-king, drink-king…”

     To normal people who hadn’t had any liquor to drink, the mule just seemed to be making an obnoxious noise and that was it.

 But to Slim, this overwhelmed him to the point that he confided to his girlfriend what had happened that day.

 Roxy had been trying for quite some time to get Slim off the suds and now saw the perfect opportunity!

     “It’s quite obvious what happened,” she said.

     “What’s that?”

     Slim didn’t know anything about the road crew setting off explosives and she wasn’t going to tell him.

     “It’s your great granddaddy trying to give you a message.”

     Anytime his great grandfather’s name would come up, Slim’s attention would be one-hundred percent.

     “What? What’s that?” he inquired.

     “I would say it could have been your great granddaddy, but probably not.”

     “Why couldn’t it have been?” Slim was getting excited now.

     Roxy, known for spinning a tale or two, said, “Usually the ground will shake two or three times followed by bright lights and animals doing strange things.”

     “That’s what happened! That’s what happened!” Slim said.

     “You didn’t say anything about bright lights before.”

     “I saw bright lights right before I almost drowned!”

     “Well, it’s definite then,” she said.

     “What?”

     “Your great granddaddy is saying you’re going to die if you don’t quit drinking.”

     Slim said, “I don’t think so — you’ve been trying to make me quit almost forever now.”

     Roxy still had an ace in the hole. “Okay, have it your way then. By the way, whose name do you have on your will?”

     At that moment another explosion went off and rocked the ground again and the mule brayed. He never did answer her question, but then again Uncle Slim the IV hasn’t taken a drink in over six years, either. He even started going to church!

 

     Freelance writer, Eric Dalke worked on cattle, dairy and dude ranches throughout Washington , Idaho , and Oregon during the 1960’s and ‘70’s. His humorous stories have appeared in several publications, including Rocky Mountain Rider. He is a Jack-of-all- trades including remodeling houses, driving truck, aircraft mechanic, and crop duster.

 

Copyright 2010 Rocky Mountain Rider. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Reproduction of any editorial material, artwork and photos is strictly forbidden without express written permission of the publisher. For information about reprint rights, please contact the editor; editor@rockymountainrider.com.

 

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