Tippy the Mule

I grew up around horses. Didn’t much care for them jughead critters, Been stepped on, thrown, scraped off on branches, bit and ran away with. Now days I prefer my horses made of iron.

There was a kid in my class, we’ll call him Vern, who I didn’t much care for either, but once he discovered that we had horses he became my best friend … or so he thought. Every Saturday his high society momma would bring him out to spend the day … riding horses. While I, being the host would put off the chores I could to entertain him. While he wasn’t one to help, he was more than willing to sit and make smart remarks and insult the food we ate (poor people’s food) while watching me work. It got old.

One Saturday morning, before Vern got there, I mentioned what a pain he was to my great grandfather. He told me what to do.

I went to the corral and putting a halter on Tippy, our mule. Leading her into the barn, I fed her a bait of green onions from our garden and by the time Vern arrived she looked like a long eared beer barrel on legs.

 I asked Vern what he’d like to do this weekend and of course, he wanted to ride horses. (No surprise there) I take him to the barn and tell him my poppa said “If he was going to ride horses at our place he could take care of the one he was to ride.” I hand him a curry comb and pointing to Tippy, tell him to “have at it.”

 Giving credit where it’s due, I must say he was doing a good job, but seemed to be avoiding her tail. By this time, Tippy looks like if a fly bit her, she’s explode. I mentioned to Vern to not forget the tail. He does a few strokes on the outside and I tell him not to forget the underneath part.

Poor Vern !

He lifts that mule’s tail and she lets go with enough gas (and stuff) to power a small town for a week. .. right into Vern’s face and down his front. Even I am amazed, but Vern just stands there in shock, holding the tail up, facing the blast.

 His front looks like something that came from beneath the septic tank.  Once the “wind” had died down he follows me back to the house where I pour bucket after bucket of cold well water on him so he’ll be clean enough to ride home in that fancy car. Don’t know why he wanted to go home so soon, but I went to my Uncle’s and called his mom. : )

 Needless to say, he didn’t come back.


The Shypolt

In my ninth year I told my grandmother about a large white wading bird that I saw on the banks of Skull Creek. She called it a Shypolt and advised me to leave it alone. Yeah. Right. What did she know?

 In my dreams I had captured this bird alive to keep in our chicken pen. The world would beat a path to our door just to see this wonderful thing and marvel at my skills as a hunter and a capturer of wild game. I’d be famous and the riches would pour in.

 I already knew how I’d do it. There was a tree that had blown over the creek. I would lay on the overhang like a leopard waiting my prey to pass underneath, before pouncing on it.

So there I lay, baking in the heat that reflected off the surface of the water. The ants, mosquitoes and the horse flies delighted in this buffet laying motionless  and hidden by the leaves.

 I was about ready to give it up, when around the bend comes the Shypolt, creeping along catching minnows and small frogs. Finally it was right underneath me and I rolled off the tree onto the top of it.

Oh my! It didn’t fall over in a dead faint nor did it run nor attempt to get away. Instead it decided to fight for the title of “King of Skull Creek” !

It beat me with its wings, I countered with a roundhouse right that missed. It poked my chest with that long sharp bill. I did a Bruce Lee kick, that it had no trouble in dodging. It started using those long legs and bony sharp clawed feet to rip my clothes and hide. I bent to pick up a stick to whack it with and it pecked holes in my back.

About that time I decided I’d cut it some slack (poor defenseless critter it was) and go home. It pecked the back of my head as I turned to leave. (What a dirty fighter)

I managed to get away and when I reached the house all bloody and torn, I found my grandmother sitting on the porch.

“You been messin with that Shypolt.” she said.

That woman was plum uncanny at times. : )