Two o’clock in the morning. The air is so thick you can cut it with a knife. No such thing as air conditioning in the small overcrowded rental that we lived in. My bedroom window was open in hopes that a stray breeze might just find its way in. Having slipped out of bed to make a bathroom run, I quietly slid back under the covers. My baby brother was laying crosswise in the bed and I tried to slide my arm under him and move him over without waking him.
Suddenly an ear shattering alarm burst out just over my shoulder. Ee…….auhhhhh……Eeeeee……ahahahhahhh…!
I jumped back pulling my baby brother off the bed entirely.
Between the rude landing on the floor and the aweful noise coming in the bedroom window, my brother was also now adding some noise of his own, screaming in alarm. In the other rooms of our small house, lights popped on as Mom came charging in wildeyed and cussing.
There at the bedroom window with his nose pressed against the screen was the silloette of our grey haired long eared, donkey, appropriately named, WrongTime.
This annoying loud mouth member of our “zoo’, as we referred to our odd collection of pets, came to be called WrongTime because he always caused a ruckus at the wrong time! This early morning “greeting” which undoubtedly would bring more irrate calls from the neighbors was only the latest of his highjinks.
Just a few days ago, our neighbor a mile down the road called to ask if we knew where our…. “D….donkey” was. Since mom seldom listened, much less spoke, before having her first cup of coffee for the day, her uncensored responds was that he was in the — D— pasture! WRONG! That may have been where she thought he was, since he was there at dark when she drove home from work, but now he was in the midst of the neighbor’s garden. From the looks of things had probably spent the better part of the night there alternating between trampling and pulling up the vegetables. Partially eaten vegetables were scattered and trampled underfoot.
Our mother elected me and her oldest son to go bring him home. Not an easy task. We both rode our Morgan half-breed horse, Red, to the neighbor’s and hoped that WrongTime would be jealous enough at the attention Red was getting to willingly come on home. Of course since that was our plan, it was not what WrongTime wanted. My brother Wally was actually a year younger than me, but he was a good six inches or so taller,and being a teenage boy at the time a bit stronger, or so he liked to think. Taking the bit and halter we had brought with us Wally went and put it on WrongTime without any resistence whatsoever. Of course, that was too good to be true.
As I turned Red around and headed back home, Wally climbed onto old WrongTime’s back and kicked his heels into his side saying, “Gid yup!”
With his lips drawn back over his long yellow teeth, it looked and sounded for all the world like WrongTime was laughing as he turned and looked over his shoulder at my brother. Again, my brother dug his heels uselessly into WrongTime’s sides, added a slap of the reigns and yelled, “I said, Gid Up, now move it you……!”
To this outburst, WrongTime added a few vocal comments of his own and promptly sat down. That’s right…sat down on his haunches just like a dog given the command to “Sit and Stay”. As Wally slid down that critter’s back, WrongTime settled into his sitting position and announced to the world that he wasn’t going anywhere.
Together we tried kicking, jabbing, pushing , pulling that donkey to no avail. The harder we pulled the more he sat and the louder he got. Of course, by now not only the owner of what once was one of the best gardens in town, was out to watch, but half the neighbors as well gathered and offered suggestions. From kinder folks the suggestions were to try offering the “poor dear” a carrot or treat and maybe he would follow. From the owner of the garden, the threat to get a gun and “persuade’ him to move one way or another seemed more reasonable.
In total frustration, my brother declared, with or without the stupid donkey, he was going home. If the neighbor shot the “dumb animal”, then too bad! Well, I certainly wasn’t staying behind to endure anymore embarrassment or the wrath of the neighbors, so together, Wally and I climbed onto old Red and headed home leaving WrongTime sitting in the neighbor’s garden patch.
As we got a ways up the road we heard the unmistakable racket of that big mouth donkey.
As hard as it was to believe if we hadn’t seen it with our own eyes WrongTime was coming down the road at a full gallop! Braying and coming straight at us in minutes WrongTime passed us by as we stood there and never looked back. How he missed getting tangled in the reins he was dragging, we’ll never know. When we got home with old Red, WrongTime stood at the pasture gate as if to say, “What took you so long?”
In hindsight of course, the answer as to why that stubborn donkey came home when he did was found in my brother’s parting remarks as we were leaving him sitting in the neighbor’s garden. My brother had turned and said….”Fine you stubborn idiot! Stay and get shot and good ridance to you!”
Once WrongTime thought we wanted him to stay there his natural tendency to do just the opposite sent him home.
For once, WrongTime had done something right!.