Reflections

Farm Mules Remember Their Old Friend

By Charles Cooper


Hello everyone, hope you’re enjoying the Christmas season. This is the last column before Christmas, but I’m not going to reprise the Christmas tree story this year since most of you have read it at least once.  
Jamie has been visiting us the last four weeks and he, Lupe and I visited Virginia and Edward Scanlon in Water Valley. We showed Jamie the house we recently bought and stayed over night. We had a pleasant visit and I got to show Jamie all the new businesses on Main Street. He was as impressed as I am about all the progress that has been made.  
Jamie teaches for two on-line universities and he has worked at least eight hours a day since he’s been here.  He also does freelance writing for a magazine in Port-land and he still insists that I try  to complete the novel I’ve been working on for a couple of years. This column is about equal to one page of a novel, so I know that I have a lot of work ahead.
On my way to the Valley I stopped and visited with Mr. and Mrs. Franklin in their store in the Mt. Olivet community. I bought some of the molasses made from their  crop and processed by their mill. They are great people and I’m glad to see them continuing the old tradition. I’m sure if Papa Badley were alive today ,he would definitely approve of the finished product.
Winfred McCain an-swered my request for a mule story and it was so great that I’d like to share it with you. He said that they had two mule colts from the same mare born about a year apart. They were called them Kit and Kat. They would follow him around like a pair of dogs. When they got old enough he didn’t have to break them but merely slipped the bridle on. As they got older he did the same with the harness and most of the time they worked them as a team.  
His dad sold them in 1949 when he bought his first tractor and lost track of them. Years later, when visiting his dad, Winfred asked what ever happened to Kit and Kat. His dad told him he thought they were on a farm past the two-mile board.          Winfred said he drove out that way and spotted two mules in a pasture. He climbed over the fence and called them by name and they both nuzzled him with their noses. He believed they still remembered him.
Winfred, I apologize to you, Jim Allen, and Mary Lee Lee for being remiss in answering your emails, but I promise to do better in the future. I just learned that Bill Lee broke his hip, but is well on his way to recovery. Bill, having gone through that and thanks to modern surgical procedures, you’ll be as good as new–just as I am.
Mary Lee, like Jim Peacock and I, came from a railroad family as her dad was a conductor for many years. I didn’t know him that well, but I’ve heard dad mention him from time to time.   
I did know Bill’s mother, Mrs. Mildred Lee, as she and Mother both had war jobs in  Grenada. Mrs. Lee would use her car to take riders and she would usually ask Mother to drive for her. After the war she was a mainstay for many years at Blu-Buck. Mother always spoke fondly of her.  
Mother only had a Model A Ford, so she rode with other people during the war years.  As I recall, Mrs.  Lee had a 1939 Chevrolet that she kept in excellent condition. The 1939 Chevrolet must have been one of the best GM produced at that time, as everyone who had one insisted it was the best car they had ever owned. Benny Appleton owned three, but not at the same time.  
Mother was considered an excellent driver and she worked at the Air Corps motor pool driving any vehicle they assigned to her.  She also rode during that time with Lawrence Berry, Tommy Christopher, Boy Treloar, Moody Nolen. Mrs. Tucker and Lynnville Hall.     
Mrs. Tucker had a 1939 DeSoto and she always asked Mother to drive.  Most of those individuals only used their cars for a short time as they were trying to make them last until after the war when new ones would become available.
Mother was best friends with Lynnville Hall  who lived in Oxford, and she was deeply hurt when Lynn drowned in a boating accident on Sardis Lake after the war.
My email address is cncooper1@hotmail.com or write me at P. O. Box 613189 Memphis, TN 38101.
Again to all of you, Merry Christmas from my family to yours.

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