Quick Draw!

One of my most unforgettable characters is Flay Randolph. He still lives in Buckeye, Arizona, though he must be older than the sand by now. But what a great guy; he’s like an uncle to me, and his wife, Irene is a jewel, as well.

I worked on a hay farm Flay was managing when I was just out of high school. It was a huge farm, and I did everything imaginable and drove every kind of farm machine there was to drive that had anything to do with hay. My favorite was what we called a roadsider—it probably has another name, but that was what I knew it by. It was fun, because once you got the hang of it, you could go real fast. It was used to pick up the hay bales and stack them in big rows on the side of the road adjacent to the fields, where eighteen-wheelers would come and load up with hay bales.

One day when I’d first started working for him, Flay was giving me a tour of the farm; showing me where everything was, how the fields were laid out and numbered, and various other aspects of the farm. We were driving slowly between two fields of hay, Flay explaining things to me, when a coyote came out of a hay field, bounded across and irrigation ditch and into the road.

I hardly had time to see the coyote—it stopped and stared at us like we were trespassing—before the gunfire erupted from Flay’s side of the pickup. Dust kicked up around the coyote then it got the dickens out of there, vanishing into the hay field across the road. Flay got into the truck, and grinned at me.

My eyes felt as though they were about to come out of my head, and I was turned in the seat, staring at Flay like he was an alien being. “What the hell?” I said loudly, thinking his ears had to be ringing as loudly as mine. “Where’d that gun come from?”

Flay got back out of the pickup and told me to come around to his side. I got out and went around to where he was standing, and he showed me the holster he had mounted on the side of the truck’s seat; he’d already returned the 44 magnum to the holster, and smoke was drifting from its barrel.

I looked from the gun to Flay, still trying to comprehend how he’d gotten out of the truck so quickly and begun firing at the coyote. “Show me how you did that.” I said.

Flay grinned—he loved and audience—then got into the truck and shut the door.

I stepped back out of the way then watched as the door swung open, Flay stepped out—the gun already in his hand—and pointed the gun down the road where the coyote had been. I asked him to do it again with the door open, so I could see how he got the gun in his hand so fast. It was a timing thing, and he actually slid his leading leg over the gun; reached between his legs to grab it; and by the time his second foot hit the ground he was aiming the gun down the road.

An amazing thing to watch! I bet he had to practice a lot, before he perfected the move!


  1. Sherry Mashburn said

    I’d probably shoot myself in the thigh!!!

  2. Joe H Ramsey Sr. said

    This wonderfull man is my mothers brother.His sister Mildred my mother and my father Otis Ramsey went to Visit Uncle Flay and his wonderful wife Aunt Irene would treat us like royalty when we had the pleasure visiting th
    fem. We lived in California so we didnt get to visit that often..We were very poor compared to them but that didnt bother them one .bit.When they moved to the county we so enjoyed the trampoline and riding the horses..Then they moved to Aztec and that is my fondest memories

    .Not only horse back rideing we got to go out and hunt for rabits at night…These two souls will forever be etched in my memories as a young boy.Their son Greg and I were about the same age so we hung quite a bit. One day My Grandfather.Uncle Flays only son decided it was a good Idea to load up the horses and head out to the mountains and hunt for wild horsesFireside stories of ghost when the kioties holled at night were common. Anything to scare .cousin Greg and I out of our pants.Yes we rode out into the mountains and did see the wild horses at a distance. I think they called it tonto basin ,but not sure.Grandpa Phill Randolph told many stories of the gold that was burried in those mountains somewhere. . Yes Mr and Mrs Flay Randolph were and still are some of the most wonderful uncle and aunts in the world . I am sixty five now so I know he has to be in his late seveties.I cant find their number but if Uncle Flay or Aunt Irene you see this little story before you are gone to be with mom in heaven .Thank you both so much for the memories you have forever instilled in my heart. I so miss Mom ,Your sis,
    I did try to call you but at no avail. For some reason I really do not understand I was told not to contact the family ever again. My mom and I had a wonderful time together in her last days and did remonise the fond memories of you and your lovely wife. I will meet you both in heaven for I know you both are forgiving Christians and will forgive me as my mother did on her last days . I love you both more than you will ever know. Your nephew Joe Henry Ramsey sr.Hanford California

    g .

    • Hi Joe. I actually lived and worked for Flay when they were in Aztec. My oldest son, Bill, was born while we were there. Maybe we crossed paths back then. I’m 63, and Greg was a few years younger than me. He and my little brother, Ken, were pals when we were all young’ns.
      I saw Flay and Irene about 3 years ago–maybe 4–and they were doing pretty well. Irene was not in the best of health, but still pretty as ever, and Flay was still telling stories about what a tough hombre he was (still is).
      The Randolphs were, and remain, a huge influence in my life.
      I assume you found my blog by doing a google search for Flay. IN any case, I’m glad you stopped by. Please drop in and read my daily encouragements. I think you’ll enjoy them.
      God bless! Charlie Mashburn

      • Joe H Ramsey Sr. said

        thanks Charles.I appriciate your response.If you happen to here from them I would appriciate you telling them I care,I know his son Greg is in Phoenix area and is a large Insurance company manager.Uncle Flay and Aunt Irene are both extreemly sick and I hope they are going to be ok.


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