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Do you know the song “Muleskinner Blues”? It’s an old classic. I’m not going to sing it for you. It’s a hard one to hit the high notes on.

I’ve got the muleskinner blues. They actually started last fall. I’ve a friend in South Dakota who raises miniature ponies and donkeys., And when you have a miniature jackass and miniature ponies, you often get miniature mules. I stopped and looked at them last fall, but couldn’t get a deal done.

All winter long I thought of those ponies. I couldn’t get them off my mind. It was like a song that gets stuck in your head and for no reason; you can’t get rid of it.

Then a couple of weeks ago, at happy hour, a friend mentioned he would like to get a cute little mule for his wife. He’s a rather strange friend. I have several friends like that. As happy hour progressed, it got happier and happier. I found the number for my pony friend and gave him a call. In just a few minutes, I was the proud owner of five mini-mules and one small donkey! 

Shirley was so proud. Ya.

The next week, another friend and I went down to pick them up. My heart swelled with pride, as I looked this pen of little mules over. Well, not really. I was actually dreading the thought of Shirley seeing them.

When I got back to Dickinson, I stopped uptown to show them to a few friends and my partner that wanted one or two for his wife. Did I tell you these mules had never had a hand laid on them? Yeah, the guy I bought them from forgot to mention it to me too.

Now, my friend’s wife, whom we shall call Terri, heard the mules were in town and she sent word to her husband, who we shall call Dale, that “there was no way in hell that she was going to have a mini-mule on their ranch”. I think, and please forgive me; she even used more vulgar language than that.

Dale assured me that I didn’t need to worry. He had another guy who would buy half of our herd. I think that was a make believe friend, with a make believe checking account. 

Then last week, our kids and grandkids came up to help brand. Five grandkids hit that mule pen with halters and catch ropes. The mules were terrified. We had mules roped, choked down, and tied up. We had kids getting kicked, struck, and bucked off. We had skinned up mules, skinned up kids, and worried mothers.

They fought those ponies for two hours, then they wrestled calves for three hours, and then back to mule hell until dark.

I’m not sure who is learning faster, the kids or the mules, but as I told their mothers, they are learning more than they do staring at a phone.

Hee! Haw!

Later, Dean


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