Topic: The Town Mule
Replies: 1   Last Post: Aug 16, 2018 8:20 PM by: vance1059®
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The Town Mule

Posted: Aug 16, 2018 7:50 PM

Many people think of a mule as being a dumb animal, but the town owned mule in my old home town was a smart critter. He had three jobs, (1) pulling the ice wagon: (2) pulling the trash wagon and (3) pulling the fire hose cart to the fire hydrant nearest the fire. In an early story I listed some of his responsibilities re pulling the ice wagon so most of this story is about the town mule and his other two responsibilities.

The town mule had a name but I don't remember what it was. A mule with all of his responsibilities should not go without a name so I'll just call him Henry. Henry just seems like the sort of name one would give to a mule. Henry lived in style. His barn and lot were directly behind one of the biggest and fanciest houses in the town. It was close to the Baptist Church and I suppose Henry was accustomed to hearing the sermon each Sunday and a lot of "Amens". There may have been some who heard Henry braying when a hymn was sung. I wouldn't put it past Henry to join in the singing.

Most members of the Baptist Church lived close enough to the church so they usually walked to church. Henry must have known when it was Sunday and time for the citizens to go to church because he would stand near the fence. Henry got more attention than the greeter at the front door and the preacher. Everyone had to stop and pat Henry on his head. Henry had seen these people so many times when he delivered ice and picked up garbage I tend to believe he recognized each one and if he could talk, would have called them by name.

The barn was befitting of Henry's status. In fact, his barn looked better than many houses in town. Manzy and Lige cared for Henry as if he were one of their children. He received the best hay and grain, had a regular bath and curry and had the slickest coat of brown hair of any mule within a radius of 50 miles.

When the town bought a truck for ice delivery sometime in the 1930's, Henry's responsibilities were
reduced. His main duty now was pulling the garbage wagon. When there was a fire, he was supposed to be harnessed and hitched to the cart containing the fire hose, But that was a problem. By the time volunteer firemen could get to the barn, harness old Henry and hitch him to the hose cart, the fire had already consumed the house or building. The volunteer firemen soon learned they could get the hose cart to the fire faster if they substituted for Henry.

From the time I first became aware of Henry in the late 1920's until I left town to enter the University of Florida in the fall of 1939 Henry had performed his duties in an excellent manner. Henry was truly a special mule. I don't know if he was put out to pasture or finally died of old age. I suppose that's a question that will never receive an answer. I don't know if Henry was even honored as citizen of the year but if he wasn't, he waas more deserving than several who did receive the honor. We need more mules like Henry.


Re: The Town Mule

Posted: Aug 16, 2018 8:20 PM

Dad had two mules in the 60s who plowed the fields for him. Their names were George and Lady. George was a gentle soul while Lady was fairly ornery. I road George bareback once. That was pretty uncomfortable as his back was pretty boney. They were eventually replaced with, you guessed it, tractors.
Thanks for starting up the memories for me, Joe. I always look for your posts. I know I will be entertained

2018 white level member

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