Home Country by Slim Randles
The night the wind stole a tent
Back before the earth cooled completely, I was a reporter for the newspaper in Victorville, California. Victorville is a high desert town between L.A. and Las Vegas and is celebrated in folklore as “where the car broke down as I was trying to get to Barstow.”
And every spring about this time, that ol’ desert country tries to outdo itself in setting new records in how hard the wind blows. It’s not always the same, of course. Sometimes there’s a bunch of sand and dust in the wind, and sometimes it’s clear skies and there’s just a mountain or two in the wind. But it blows.
If there was anything or anyone out in that desert that was unusual or off the beaten path, I covered it. You know, Iron Water Alice who soaked in iron water (of course) to increase her psychic potency, “Guv” Reeve who lived with a harem of well-wishing church ladies and ran for governor every four years. The beat goes on.
Polite people who answered the phone at the paper referred unusual phone calls to “the color story reporter named Slim.” Sounded better than weirdo writer, didn’t it?
And one March, two young boys called in from Apple Valley, about five miles to the east, and reported that someone had stolen their tent. They had set the tent up in the back yard because they wanted to be tough outdoorsmen, of course, and this was a good way to start. The tent had a floor and walls and a roof, of course, was pegged solidly to the desert, but when they went out the next morning, somebody. had stolen it!
The sheriff’s office wouldn’t even take a report on it, but the Victor Valley Daily Press would, by golly. So the word went out to every windblown acre of the high desert, and the crime was solved. Yes, it seemed an 80-year-old man who had a little cement-block shack in Lucerne Valley, about 20 miles east of the launch pad back yard, found a full-grown tent in one of his elm trees about 10 feet off the ground.
One little rip, but some tape took care of that. Thank the Lord for freedom of the press. And spring zephyrs that make a reporter’s job fun.
Brought to you by Hug-a-Horse Thrift Store in Edgewood, NM. Good folks
work there. https://www.thriftstores.net/store/7383/hug-a-horse-thrift-store/
Leave a Reply