My Life With Mules, Yes Mules!

Living in Redlands, California, in 1952 Dad comes home one day and says, “We are moving to Oklahoma and become farmers.”  He is working on construction and has two weeks off.

Off to Loving, Oklahoma, we go.  Mom was born there and Grandma still lived there.  Two weeks later we owned forty acres and had built a small house on it.  It had two old houses on it.  Later torn down and used to build barn and out-buildings.  Back to California.

Next Summer back to Oklahoma.  We built a few fences and finished the house.  First thing Dad bought was a milk cow.  Late on he bought another cow.  Second he bought a team of mules.  These mules were dappled grey.  They were brothers, one was six years old one was seven.  So planted about thirty acres of corn, high-gear and peanuts.

Well it is an early summer day nice and warm.  Dad is plowing the weeds out of the corn with cultivator and the mules.  Well Dad goes to sleep while plowing so the mules decide they want to go to the barn.  They turn across the corn field and trot toward the barn.  Well after much yelling and cussing, Dad got them stopped.  Corn field looked a little funny on that side.

I don’t know about horses, but mules can talk to each other.  Don’t know how but they do.  When they turned they did it together, same time.  When all this was happening I was in the peanut patch.  Throwing dirt on the plants.  I heard all this yelling and screaming I thought Dad got bit by a snake.  This whole area has briars that look like blackberry but have no fruit on it.  You must cut or they will get bigger and bigger.

Nice Fall day Dad is mowing pasture with mules and mowing machine.  I am piling the briars up with hay fork so when it rains we will burn it.  Dad had been mowing about an hour, everything was fine.  Lucky the sear on mowing machine was behind everything else.  Both mules at the same time jumped about twenty feet forward at the same time.  Well Dad goes end over end off the back of the mower.  Mules are running as fast as they can across the pasture.  Well a small bunch of treees got in the way, broken mower and broken harness.  Mules won, got retired.

Well there was a lot more that happened, like put them in barn they kick the side out.  They bite, they kick and a lot more.

We sold the mules with the place.  Last thing I heard of the mules, the people who bought the place sold the mules.  When new owner was taking them home they got loose, last thing I heard two cowboys were chasing them over the top of the mountain.

Arnold Ray House