I checked the outside temperature. ‘Twas 12 degrees below. The stove inside my canvas tent was burning a bright red glow.
I opened up the tent flap, filled my lungs and gave a yell. I swear old Jasper looked at me and said, “It’s cold as @#%&!”
Jasper and my saddlehorse were munching on the hay. Last night I threw enough feed out to last them most the day.
I closed the flap and tossed a chunk of Doug fir in the fire. Then I tied the stove door shut with a piece of baling wire.
Now, Jasper was an old pack mule. He’d packed my gear for years. But I should have named him Ugly. Let me tell you ‘bout his ears.
When Jasper was a yearling, my horse kicked him in the head. He laid in the corral and I was sure that he was dead.
But then to everyone’s surprise, that mule got on his feet. He tried to take a step or two. His walk was plumb offbeat.
I noticed that one ear of his was lying almost flat. Well, Jasper got his wits back, but his ear stayed just like that.
I tried a bunch of different ways to keep that ear up straight. I even tied a hat on, but it seemed to agitate.
So all this time, old Jasper’s ears have never been the same. It’s been a conversation piece. Some folks think it’s a shame.
I’d say most mules are ugly, but old Jasper takes the cake. A friend of mine says, “Jasper looks like nature’s worst mistake!”
I’ve always made a point to give that mule some extra care. I guess I feel responsible he’s had this cross to bear.
But Jasper doesn’t seem to mind that no one wants to gush. When someone calls him ugly, I have never seen him blush.