TH’ OL’ MULE NAMED PROPHET
By Donna Penley
Now my dad hails from Missouri, up ‘round Unionville, but
when I was a kid, I spent many summers on a farm near
Boonville. I had a lot of cousins my own age. In those golden
summers I spent with my kin, I learned a lot. I went to a one room school for two years when my dad was off building things. He was a contractor by trade.
One of the jobs I had to do was cut sugar cane. Now, if you
don’t know,about that, I’ll tell you. Molassas syrupis made from sugar cane. The old timers would have ole time molasses makin’s. An’ molasses made t h’ old time way is done by the sugar cane being crushed by two huge iron wheel contraptions, and these wheels are powered by a
long gin pole attached to a mule’s harness. The mule goes around
and around in circles an’ the cane is crushed. The sap runs along a trough into a huge vat, under which is a huge fire. This huge vat holds maybe 500 gallons of sap. The sap is hand stirred with big wooden paddles. It takes about 12 hours to turn the sap into syrup. Anyway, this story is about the old mule who was used to turn the crusher wheels
that crushed th’ cane, that made th’ sap, that made that wonderful
old blackstrap molasses.
This poem is about a Mule named Prophet:
Th’ ol man had a black mule, stood about 15 hand;
An’ he was th’ funniest mule that was ever tamed by man.
He wasn’t hateful or balky, like most mules are wont to do
But when put in a bind, Prophet’s humor would come through..
When it was time t’ go t’ work, t’ back into the traces,
Instead of balkin’ or brayin’, ol Prophet, he made faces.
An’ when he was at rest he really put ya at a loss;
He’d stand with head cocked to th’side, with both his
front feet crossed.
Harley, th’ man who owned him, he ‘d really get put out,
With some o’ Prophet’s goin’s on – he was a trial, no doubt.
But, th’ mule was entertainment to th’ mind of a little kid
Who had more work than play, like most farm younguns did.
An’ my cousins wrote me later that ol’ Prophet lived t’ 40;
He was jest a plain ol’ mule – not flashy, high or sporty,
But, knowin’ Prophet like I did, I feel t he’d a died much sooner;
But the ol’ mule was a comedian – he had a sense of humor
Donna Penley is a Cowgirl Poet with deep Kansas roots who has been writing cowboy poetry for over twenty five years. She is a real Cowgirl and an ex-barrel racer.
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