Moss, is humor writer from Tennessee. She writes a
weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny
things that happen to everyone.
She has written for the Daily News of Kingsport, Griffin Journal,
Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton
Advocate, and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News
Journal. She has been
published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks
at Guidepost Books. Her articles have appeared in
numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.
She is a
former board member and past Editor of the Columnists.com, website of the National Society of Newspaper
oldest and largest professional organization
for columnists. She is the Web Editor of
Humorists.com and a founder of the Southern Humorists writers'
organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of HumorColumnist.com.
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Online Since 1999
wonít believe what I did last Saturday. In fact, I donít believe
what I did last Saturday. I went to Mule Day. It was like dying and
waking up in good olí boy heaven. There were mules, dirt, mules,
crafts, mules, wagons, mules, food, mules, farmers, mules and more
One of the biggest mule related events in the country is right here in
Tennessee in Columbia, not far down the road from Nashville. Iíve
never been before, but since it was nearby, I felt it was my
responsibility as a humorist to go see it so I could report back to
you. Iíve never seen so many
mules in one place in all my life Ė big mules, little mules, black
mules, white mules, even a few spotted mules.
Mule lovers from all over the country come to show their mules and
compete in mule contests. One of the bigger events was something
called ďpulling mules.Ē It consisted of hitching up a team of
mules to heavy weights and trying to see which team could pull the
most weight. It was actually a spectator event.
At one time, Columbia was a big center for breeding, trading and
selling mules. It seems that mules are unusual in that they cannot
reproduce themselves and each mule is produced only by cross breeding
between a donkey and a horse, which creates a constant mule market. If
you didnít know that before, donít feel badly. Neither did I.
Columbiaís Mule Day started way back in the 1840ís when farmers
came to the livestock and mule market. Mules were stronger than horses
and able to pull plows, draw wagons and provide transportation. Mules
were work animals, especially important in the development of the
country before motorized vehicles. A good mule was a farmerís most
Mules in this country go back as far as George Washington, who was not
only the father of our country, but was also the father of the mule
industry. It seems that the first breeding donkey in our country was a
gift to him from the king of Spain. No, Iím not making this up, and
it isnít nearly as dubious as the cherry tree story anyhow.
Before my mule encounter, I thought all mules were brown, but they are
as varied as the horse species that are used to produce them. I wanted
to take some close up photos of the mules in the livestock pens, but
the mules kept turning their backsides toward me. I think they saw my
camera and did not want the flash in their eyes. Thatís my story
Over 200,000 people come to Columbia for Mule Day. Can you believe it?
Mingling elbow to elbow with country folks in coveralls and tractors
hats, trying not to sneeze from the hay or step in anything awful, I
decided that I might skip the fair part next time and just go for the
especially liked the parade since these mules were dressed in their
finest gear and also hitched to wagons so they could not turn their
backsides towards me.
Mules have a reputation for being stubborn, but mule experts say this
is not true. Mules are actually highly intelligent, smarter even than
horses. Mules know when they are tired and itís time to quit - so
they do. Iíve learned a whole lot more than I every wanted to know
about mules, but have come to appreciate them in a way I never did
But the most beneficial thing Iíve learned from mules is that when
you are tired, just quit.
Copyright 2004 Sheila Moss
Nashville, TN 37219
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