They say there’s one in every crowd, and yesterday I guess I confirmed it.
With Shirle down in Florida visiting friends and family, my daily routine has been turned upside down. Yes, I still get up early and work late, but with the addition of the household chores normally tended to by my loving (well, sometimes!) wife, plus the demands of two very needy dogs who require walks, food and attention, my work schedule is in constant disruption.
My property on the side of this mountain is not fenced in or dog friendly. Our Betsy is well trained and not in need of a lot of attention when it’s time for her potty breaks, but Sebastian is still learning. I have chased him up and down these steep grades twice, and I am not interested in a third attempt, so Sebastian must go out on a leash.
Since I have yet to finish installing the garage door opener, my truck sits outside near the tiny level area that the dogs use. Sebastian, who has recently learned of the canine version of ecstasy, a car ride, now frequently disregards his metabolism’s calling, opting instead to beg at the backdoor of my Explorer. Partially to satisfy his insatiable desire, and partially because I don’t want the hassle of catching him and forcing him into his kennel, Sebastian and Betsy have been going on my daily trips down the mountain to the mailbox.
Yesterday as I forged the tiny creek that crosses the entrance to our private road up the mountain, the dogs started going crazy. I knew it wasn’t the herd of cows in the adjacent pasture, those bovines are old news; and it didn’t appear as though they were answering the Rottweiler who always greets us from his yard high above the mailbox station; the watchdog was uncharacteristically quiet. It wasn’t until I got out of the truck that I caught sight of the reason for the seemingly vicious attack dog’s stunned silence as well as the chaotic yammering of my own pseudo ferocious companions.
Yes, even here in the Bible belt, even in the rural backwoods of the Smoky Mountains, even amongst the friendliest people in the world (not counting the ones from Deliverance), you never know when you’re going to run into a big ass (no, not Ned Beatty). Now, in case you suspect I misidentified this stranger, I have to say I have lived around these animals all my life. Believe me; I know the difference between most things and a true jackass. This was, unquestionably, not a horse or a mule, it was a very, very large donkey.
He (my gender assumption) apparently escaped the farm hidden behind the trees from which I enjoy the relaxed sounds of farm life. From my aerie’s front deck, I often hear the roosters, turkeys, cows, horses, and yes, the occasional bray of this misbehaving Equus asinus.
Perplexed with how to handle a six-foot tall donkey, without a bridle to lead him, with two noisy dogs in the back seat, and with no idea where exactly he was supposed to be corralled, the long-eared truant took pity on me and began a slow amble up a rutted trail in the direction of the hillside farm. Moments later to my relief, I saw the green F-150 that is also garaged somewhere up that lane, approach with the distraught owner searching for his missing Jack.
I love my rural mountain life, even though I still occasionally run into a true jackass.