Down at the sale barn Saturday, the think tank had coagulated there with coffees to go. Doc and Dud had their dogs with them, while Bert and Dewey and Steve went stag.
Dud tried to start a conversation, but the loudspeaker soon drove them outside, where they arrayed themselves on dropped tailgates and waited to hear what Dud had in mind.
“I thought about it a lot,” Dud said, “and I wondered what the favorite part of my job was and wondered if you fellas ever gave that any thought, too.”
They nodded. Yes, by mutual consent a worthy subject.
“With me,” Dud continued, “it wasn’t so much my job as it was my hobby. You know, writing that book. I’m claiming it as the best part of my job, anyway.”
The assembled were still waiting to read “Murder in the Soggy Bottoms,” as it had yet to see print, and was really a work in progress.
Then Bert picked up the conversation thread. “Of course I’m retired now,” he said, “but when I was running the pawn shop, my favorite part of the job happened when a customer found something in there he really needed and ended up paying much less for it than he thought he’d have to.”
Doc laughed “And you made more on it than you thought you would, too,”
Bert grinned and nodded.
“Yep. That was good too. And you, Dewey?”
Our accident-prone pharaoh of fertilizer got a serious look on his face. He finally said, “The best part of the fertilizer business is seeing the difference it makes in the flower gardens around town. Now maybe it’s just my imagination, but I kinda like to take a little credit for a prettier town.”
“You deserve it, Dewey,” Doc said kindly. “Well now … with me it’s a little different. I have doctoring skills, of course, and it’s good when I can help someone, but these days the most satisfying part of my job is to check someone out thoroughly and find there’s absolutely nothing wrong with them. Now that’s special.”
They all looked over at the tall cowboy, Steve.
“Digging postholes,” he said.
“What?” they said.
“You know,” he said, “the favorite part of my job.”
“Sure,” he said, grinning.
“That’s the only job a cowboy has where he can start at the top and work down.”