Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Spot the Donkey

Someone tried to sell me a donkey today when I was in Sweet’s Country Store putting up a flyer saying I was looking for a large child-safe pony. He was one of the farmers sitting there at the Formica table in the corner having his morning coffee. “I ain’t got no ponies but I got a big jackass for sale.” When I told Kurt about it, he looked down at Motley, aka The Big Stupid, and said, “Did you tell him we already have one?”

We kind of do have one. His name is Spot and he lives right next door. We have the best of both worlds with Spot, the donkey. We get to enjoy him but we don’t have to do anything. He belongs to Eldon and Pearl and when he’s not in the pasture, they keep him in a lot right next to our driveway. He’s so close I can reach over and touch him. In fact, one time I did reach over the fence and put a little Swat on a small injury he had on his chest that the flies were getting to.

At first I was afraid of him. Well, afraid is not really the word. More like suspicious because he’s a stallion. I don’t know anything about stallions; only what I’ve heard—that they’re unruly and a handful. They can be vicious. I don’t have any illusions that I could ever tame one like the little boy who was shipwrecked on the movie The Black Stallion.

When I worked at a racetrack farm when I was a kid, they had a stallion there. But just like how the black stallion in the movie was cooped up, so was this one. They kept him in a dark stall, a box really, with bars on the top half. I peered between the bars sometimes and tried to talk to him but he’d turn his back to me. Now and then he’d kick a wall or bang his bucket and I’d jump back. It was obvious he was uncontrollable; otherwise they would have kept him in the regular stalls like all the other horses. I felt sorry for him but I was never able to get to know him, to see if it was true what they say about stallions.

So I didn’t trust Spot at first. He was cute alright; all white with a couple of big black spots, hence the name. He had slitty eyes and ears big enough to place bananas inside. But when he wasn’t hee-hawing, he was too quiet. He watched me and flicked an ear in my direction. I cooed at him and he stared with no expression on his face that I could read. I was dying to reach over and pet him but I had visions of him suddenly grabbing a hold of my arm, lifting me off my feet and swinging me in the air.

Then he got the boo-boo and Eldon and Pearl weren’t home. Not one to leave an animal in a fix, I sent Kelly to the barn for the Swat and stood there looking at Spot, trying to figure out how to get it on him. I’m also not one who is generally afraid of any animals so it wasn’t too hard for me to get up my nerve and force myself to do a test. I touched his nose. One ear went forward and one went back like he was thinking about it. I touched it again. Nothing happened. So I petted his face. He seemed to like it. I reached over the wire towards his chest to see if I could reach the injury because I sure as heck wasn’t going to go in there and put it on him. It’s one thing to reach over a fence but another to get into a pen with an animal you’re unsure of. Standing on tip-toes, I stretched and touched his chest. Kelly came back, I put a glob on my finger and I put it on him. He didn’t blink an eye.

Eldon and Pearl are probably happy that we’re the ones who bought this place because I can see that Spot might annoy other people. He makes quite a racket when he starts hee-hawing. About a half dozen times a day, he opens his mouth and just like a cartoon character, he starts hee-hawing. His mouth is wide open, his tongue is sticking out and the words pour out like how words tumble out of one of those bullhorns on Sesame Street. Hee-haw! Hee-haw! Hee-haw! We’ve heard him hundreds of times already and we still stop and laugh. “There goes Spot!”

The best part is when he’s finished. He winds down slowly and ends with an “aaahhh!” like he’s totally pooped from all that work. I enjoy it so much I want to share it with everyone. If he does it while I’m on the phone, I say, “Hold on and listen to this,” and then I hold the phone out. “Hear that? That’s Spot, the donkey.”

So, no, I don’t need a donkey. Or a rabbit. Eldon and Pearl have one of them too. That’s the beauty of living next door to nice people. You get to share in the good things in life.


Heather Froeschl said...

Ha ha! See Spot go!

Marion said...

Nice little story, Debi. At least you are not instituting a lawsuit, like that fellow out West, all upset because his neighbor's COW mooos at night once in awhile. I mean, c'mon, move to the country next to a farm & sue because a cow mooos?

Amy said...

He is tooooo cute Debi! But I agree, you don't need a donkey!

House on the Glade Hill said...

Awww... Spot is a cutey! Has Kelly tried to talk to him? That would get annoying fast.

Nice post and beautiful picture. What are donkeys used for anyway? We don't really ride them and they don't produce anything.... are they just there to pull stuff and add ambience?

Becky Mushko said...

Donkeys are great protectors of livestock. They have a tendency to stomp coyotes (and also dogs that run loose), so they're becoming popular as guardians of herds throughout the county. Many have earned their keep by protecting the calves that could feed a coyote family for a week.

Some donkeys are also good burglar alarms. They alert their owners (and everyone else within earshot) that someone's coming or something's happening.

Breed to mares, donkeys can sire mules. Given Spot's looks, I'll bet he commands a high stud fee. Spotted mules are really neat-looking!

Spot is the cutest one I've seen in a long-time. I wish he lived next door to me. (I wonder if Melody would like to be mommy to a spotted mule. . . .)

erin said...

that donkey is not cute. so far he's woken me up almost every night with his odd noises. i know why his owners moved him away from their house. haha