I hope each of you enjoyed your Christmas with friends and family this year. The way people are so scattered about these days, it seems they don’t get to visit except a few days out of the year. Won’t that way when I was a boy, no sir-ree. Why, every Sunday we would visit with my Mom’s side of the family and just about every evening I’d be sitting on the porch or by an old wood heater with my Dad’s family.
My Granddaddy Bolton, bless his soul, would always have a good story or two to tell. Sometimes it would be the same story, but the tale would get bigger and better each time he told it. The following was one he loved to tell.
Granddad said back in the thirties, two rich northerners from New York had heard that good money could be made raising peaches and farming here in the Sandhills of N.C. They figured they’d come down and give it a try. Didn’t either of these fellows know anything about farming for neither had ever been out of New York City in their life.
Well, they bought a farm not far from Ellerbe and set about equipping it for what they thought would be a good life of farming. Everybody told them they had to have at least one mule on the farm for plowing. Hearing about a farmer several miles away who had a mule for sale, they got in their pickup and drove off to buy it.
Unfortunately, the owner had sold the mule just before they arrived. Quickly sizing up these strangers as greenhorns, the wily trader knew he could sell them something anyway cause he just couldn’t pass up a deal.
He pointed toward a large orange pumpkin near the barn.
Said, “That yonder is a mule egg about ready to hatch. I can sell you the mule egg for the same price as I got for that old mule a while ago.”
The two strangers thought about that thing and came up with the idea that they could train up the mule the way they wanted and so they bought the egg. They then proceeded to load the mule egg into the rear of the truck and headed home. Along the old dirt road, the truck hit a hole causing the mule egg to bounce off. It fell on a big rock beside the road and burst open, scattering pith, pulp and seed everywhere.
Right about the point where the mule egg burst open, a big bedded down cottontail rabbit couldn’t stand the excitement no longer. He jumped up and flew down the side of the road as fast as only a scared rabbit can run, right pass the old pickup.
The strangers saw this as they hurriedly stopped the truck and ran back to survey the damage.
“What do you think we should do?” One of them asked with a blank look on his face.
“Well I don’t know about you, but I’m kinda relieved,” his buddy said. “I could’ve never plowed behind a mule going that fast anyway.”
Next week: collard greens, black-eye peas and hog jowls.