Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Mule Adventure

About a week later, mother said she was out of cornmeal and that we needed to take some "ear corn" to the mill for grinding. As the oldest, I thought I could ride the mule with the sacks of ear corn in front of me. I hadn't tried this before, so I had to work out another plan. The first step in my plan was to get on the mule's back. She was much too tall to reach without something to stand on. My brothers got the ladder for me. I wanted to climb up onto the back of the mule to straddle the mule, but I couldn't get the mule to stand still: I would start climbing up the ladder, she would start moving and I fell off several times. Finally my brothers held Pore John & got
on her back.

There was another problem, the mule's back was narrow and pointed like the roof of a house. When I sat down, boy it hurt! It hurt even worse when she started to move. Poor John ran around the barn three times with me bouncing up and down and
shouting; "WHOAH MULE STOP, STOP!" Luckily Pore John ran under a tree branch, which knocks me off her back. My mother hearing all of this commotion came out of the house and said, "Fred I think you better take the wagon!" So we hitched Pore John to the wagon, loaded the ear corn, and started toward the store and the "grist mill."

The trip was ok. We reached the mill and took the corn to the Miller. We watched as the miller ground the corn into cornmeal. I still remember the warm smell of the fresh meal. The miller would let us catch and taste some at the end of a spout, and it was so good. We picked up some food items from the store next door and headed home. On our way home, we looked for other interesting things to do, so that out rip would not be boring. Little boys do not like to be bored, so we would get off the wagon while Pore John plodded along. We would pick plums, blackberries, etc. along sides of the road. The mule noticed that there was no one on the wagon, so she headed for the barn at the house. So she took off in a little trot, and we couldn't catch her. We thought about taking a shortcut, but the way the wagon bumped along, things started falling off. We had to follow the wagon to pick up groceries. So we followed the old mule all the way home. When we got closer to home, we saw the old mule, in the front yard with the wagon wrapped around a big post in the yard, broken in half. I knew when dad got home that night I was going to have to explain all this to him.
I know that that old mule was just rolling over on the ground laughing to herself. Mother cooked good hot cornbread for supper, but I couldn't sit down to enjoy it. It took about a week for me to sit down.
The next day I decided it was time to have a serious talk with Pore John. I decided it was time to change my approach. I went out to the barn yard with apples in my pocket. I gave her an apple and said I am sorry we tickled you and got you hung up on the fence post. Lets be friends! From then on we had a good work animal and I had new friend.
Old Pore John has been gone for many years. I hope she is in "mule heaven" and I hope she has three little boys to keep her life interesting.

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