“Vegetable Boogie”


   Dud was heading home in his pickup truck when he saw the strange goings-on at the Bahdziewicz place.  Abraham Lincoln Bahdziewicz was out in the family’s large garden with a full complement of kids who were happily hopping around. Some of the kids came from the neighborhood, but most of them were homegrown Bahdziewicz kids.

  The Bahdziewicz family had a great garden, and went at the whole thing scientifically and in great fun, because this is one family that runs short on cash but long on kids.

  Dud pulled over and watched for a minute as Abe laughingly directed the family dancers doing the vegetable boogie through the various rows of the huge garden.

   “What’s going on, Abe?” yelled Dud.

   “Squash bug stomping time,” Abe said, turning over another board lying next to the vegetables. As soon as the board was flipped over, a plethora of Bahdziewicz kids stomped the bugs flat. “It’s the kids’ favorite time in the garden.”

  The third-grader, John Kennedy Bahdziewicz, said, “Flip another board, Dad.”

   “Hold it!” Dud yelled. “Not another move until I get back, okay? I’ll be back here in five minutes. Five minutes!”

  Abraham Lincoln Bahdziewicz looked at his oldest son, Woodrow Wilson Bahdziewicz and they both shrugged. The rest of the family stopped, too. Dud peeled out in the pickup and was back in less than two minutes.

  “Okay,” Dud yelled. “Let’s do the squash bug stomp the right way!”

  And he strapped on his accordion and fired up a grand polka as boards were flipped over and the exposed squash bugs were dispatched in record polka time.

   Sometimes just living here can be an awful lot of fun.


Brought to you by books written by Edward Abbey. Ed may be gone, but his published legacy is always amazing.


Newspaper columnist Slim Randles, who writes the weekly Home Country column, took home two New Mexico Book Awards in 2011. His advice book for young people, “A Cowboy’s Guide to Growing Up Right,” took first place in the self-help category, and “Sweetgrass Mornings” won in the biography/memoirs category. Randles lives and works in Albuquerque. Home Country reaches 3 million hometown newspaper readers each week

Slim Randles learned mule packing from Gene Burkhart and Slim Nivens. He learned mustanging and wild burro catching from Hap Pierce. He learned horse shoeing from Rocky Earick. He learned horse training from Dick Johnson and Joe Cabral. He learned humility from the mules of the eastern High Sierra. Randles lives in Albuquerque.

Randles has written newspaper stories, magazine articles and book, both fiction and nonfiction. His column appeared in New Mexico Magazine for many years and was a popular columnist for the Anchorage Daily News and the Albuquerque Journal, and now writes a nationally syndicated column, “Home Country,” which appears in several hundred newspapers across the country.


  Huntington Beach News

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