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Remembering “Gray Bones”

Kenneth Avery is a Southern humorist with well over a thousand fans. The charm and wit in his writing span a nearly a decade.

remembering-gray-bones

Writer’s note . . .the brand name, Philco, “Rawhide,” were only used as to make an editorial point. I do not urge you to run out and buy any brand name such as Philco. And although “Rawhide,” is seen on those classic TV networks, I do not urge you to watch this show or buy the CD’s about the show. And if you own a valued mule, do NOT try to ride her like Clint Eastwood. Thank you. Kenneth.

Her name was “Gray Bones.” She was, by far, the best mule any farmer could ask for. She was snow-white as the mule in the bottom photo. I wish that I had found a white mule in full-buck, as in the picture above. The more action. The more interest.

But seeing that I have to depend on God and my keyboard, I cannot snap a photo of myself getting myself bucked off of “Gray Bones,” which was a near-tragic event when I was nine. Maybe it was 10. I forget, but my age is not important.

It did not take me all day to love our mule. Truth be told, she was a member of our family. But realistically, she didn’t sit with us when we ate our meals. She would have been glad to, but she was very aware of those foolish boundaries set by unfeeling mortal man. We were not like that. In fact, “Gray Bones,” was special and I tell you that is much of an underscored phrase.

remembering-gray-bones

“Gray Bones” was far from being lazy. Not so. Now truthfully, a good many mules can be lazy and even stubborn, their first-cousins, the Donkey. I have nothing against Donkey’s or even Burro’s but we did love our hard-working mule.

She did not know what it was like to take a day off. When springtime rolled around, my dad would hitch her up and away they would go to the fields to break the soil to wake the nutrients that grew in the soil. Dad was a fine farmer. “Gray Bones” was an excellent mule. Par excellence. She was so obedient that when dad did take a needed break, she tried to continue whatever task that they were doing. She was every bit that devoted. And when harvest time came, she was ready. I wish that I had an exact number of crops that she helped to make.

Now for my honest adolescent “adventure.” When “Gray Bones” was not working, she lived inside a stall that Dad gave her in our barn. He made sure that it was dry, warm, and a good place to rest and sleep. I still envy him and always envy his caring attitude.

But now I was circa 11. I had been baptized with black and white TV. My sister and her husband bought it and we got to watch it because she and her then-husband had to live with us while their home was being built. What a great time that was. We all ate our meals at the same time and enjoyed ourselves. My sister’s then-husband got a good job in a small nearby town, Guin, Ala., the city famous for the April 1974 spring outbreak of the most tornadoes to ever cross our area.

remembering-gray-bones

“Gray Bones” was far from being lazy. Not so. Now truthfully, a good many mules can be lazy and even stubborn, their first-cousins, the Donkey. I have nothing against Donkey’s or even Burro’s but we did love our hard-working mule.

She did not know what it was like to take a day off. When springtime rolled around, my dad would htch her up and away they would go to the fields to break the soil to wake the nutrients that grew in the soil. Dad was a fine farmer. “Gray Bones” was an excellent mule. Par excellence. She was so obedient that when dad did take a needed break, she tried to continue whatever task that they were doing. She was every bit that devoted. And when harvest time came, she was ready. I wish that I had an exact number of crops that she helped to make.

Now for my honest adolescent “adventure.” When “Gray Bones” was not working, she lived inside a stall that Dad gave her in our barn. He made sure that it was dry, warm, and a good place to rest and sleep. I still envy him and always envy his caring attitude.

But now I was circa 11. I had been baptized with black and white TV. My sister and her husband bought it and we got to watch it because she and her then-husband had to live with us while their home was being built. What a great time that was. We all ate our meals at the same time and enjoyed ourselves. My sister’s then-husband got a good job in a small nearby town, Guin, Ala., the city famous for the April 1974 spring outbreak of the most tornadoes to ever cross our area.

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My sister’s husband was Calvin, who exhibited a shining work ethic. He worked for the 3M Company. And many years later, he retired with a stellar career. The TV that he and my sister bought was a Philco and we loved it. Especially on Saturday mornings when I got to watch all of those great cartoons. I loved it. Then on Saturday afternoons in the spring and summer was MLB time. I also loved that as well.

But not all TV programs was cartoons and MLB, I learned to appreciate those drama’s that were broadcast nightly. Shows like “Rawhide,” with Eric Fleming, Clint Eastwood, Paul Brinegar and Sheb Wooley. These guys were drovers and they knew their business. On one show, the crew had a stampede and the drovers jumped into action and without one ounce of fear, they stopped the runway cows and life went on.

I must have been so stupid that the next part of my “adventure,” does not beg to be repeated. I imagined that these guys rode their horses with such grace that I could ride a horse as good as they did. But one problem stood in my way. We didn’t own a horse, but we did own “Gray Bones,” and that was good enough to fulfill my fantasy.

One evening, I used craftiness to lure “Gray Bones” into her stall. I used corn to bring her because she loved yellow corn. It worked like a charm. And as she ate, I crawled on the wooden structure that held her stall, and even imagined that I was going to be “Rowdy Yates,” portrayed by Clint Eastwood. Things were going smoothly even how I jumped on “Gray Bones’” back. She didn’t flinch one bit.

Then she slowly walked from the stall and I felt as if I were starring on “Rawhide.” I even remembered how the cowboys would punch their horses in their side to get them to run a bit faster. I did that too. Yep. What an ignorant move. Pure stupidity in action. With one mild kick of my heels, “Gray Bones” did not run that fast, but commence to buck like a wild bronco. In a minute flat, my life became slow motion. I was bucked from her back that I did not know where I would land.

My question was quickly answered. The back of my head struck a big root from the Walnut tree that stood in the nearby barnyard. What made it worse was listening to “Gray Bones” as she bucked away. I have always thought that she was laughing at me for being the picture of stupidity. Maybe so. Maybe not. All I knew was that was the last ride that I ever took on our friend, “Gray Bones,”

And I am not going as far as to say that “Gray Bones,” was not more or less than any other mules. But I can say that she somehow talk to me when I was near and another breakthrough, I experienced was it can get really weird to talking other mules, celebrity mules included, can be really weird.

Note to the ASPCA: there were no mules harmed during the writing of this hub.


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© 2022 Kenneth Avery

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