I love this picture.
It is so western. So cowboy.
And this young man (who was sitting on a gate in front of then pen that was holding one of his mules) was one cute little cowboy.
Each year in Ralston, which is a small community half way between Cody and Powell, there is an event known as Mule Days.
It is a long weekend filled with........well........mules of course. Buying mules, trading mules, auctioning mules, showing off mules, selling mule gear and hundreds of mule owners riding and talking and visiting with other mule owners.
It is one of a handful of quintessential western and cowboy events held in the area during each summer.
Mules are sweet animals that look just like horses except for their ridiculously long ears that rotate inwards and outwards, just like satellites trying to capture the slightest noise from outer space.
The sight of them amuses me, but LC has very fond memories of mules and they have a soft spot in his heart.
He was raised on a farm.
Actually he was only partially raised on a farm.
Throughout his childhood he bounced rapid fire between two sets of caregivers - spending part of his time with on-the-road, traveling preacher parents when it was convenient (who cared more about saving the souls of strangers than raising their boys), and spending part of his time with a stable and loving couple (who owned a farm in Eastern Tennessee) when it was not convenient.
LC ploughed fields with mules. His father figure kept and loved mules, that were part work animals and part family pets.
My Mountain Boy loved his substitute parents, loved the farm where he spent so much time, loved the animals on that farm, and so to this day still has a very soft spot for these strange and beautiful creatures.
There is really not much to add to this. The pictures tell the story of our visit..................
A mule will labor ten years willingly and patiently for you, for the privilege of kicking you once..............William Faulkner