Of Kids and Mule

One recent morning I woke to find Polly gone. Yep, while I was under the influence of some knock-out-grade REM sleep, she slipped her picket and took a self-guided tour of Barr’d Harbour, Newfoundland.

Who caught her? A young girl.

Seems Polly fell under the spell of the young gal’s potato chips. Followed her into the family’s yard where the two of them inspected the rabbit hutch. Then joined the girl and her mom for a bit of socializing on the bridge – what we call a deck or patio back in North Carolina. When I showed up, Polly was well into her umpteenth banana.

Funny how an 800 pound animal that can escape an adult and a steel chain can be caught by a kid with a potato chip. Chalk one up to youth power.

It’s a scene that’s played out over and over here in Newfoundland. Kids catching Polly, holding Polly and feeding her from boats. Here are a few kid / mule encounters you’ll enjoy.

The young lady who found – and caught – Polly in Barr’d Harbour. You can see the lass still has the mule’s full attention. Why doesn’t my equine listen to me that way…?

Remember those awkward class photos where everyone is looking somewhere else? One girl is looking at her shoes. One boy is looking at the girl. The teacher is looking at the clock. Only Billy, the kid who always showed up on time, is looking at the camera. And his eyes are closed. This shot has a bit of that distracted quality about it. (Shoal Cove, NL)

Polly and I were inspecting the beach launched boats of Sally’s Cove, on Newfoundland’s Northern Peninsula. How their flared bows let them take to the waters. How the wood turn tables allowed the boats to be pivoted before launch. I thought Polly was interested, too. She worked her way to one of the boat’s bows. Excellent. A travel mate who shared my enthusiasm for stinky work boats. Wrong. Seems a young fellow in the bow had a treat for her. Silly me…. (Sally’s Cove, NL)

Okay, I’ll show you a long shot of that work boat. Nice, eh? (Sally’s Cove, NL)

Shadow of a mule and its kids (Main Brook, NL)

Staring contest: Most kids on Newfoundland’s Northern Peninsula haven’t seen a horse before. Let alone a mule. For some, like this young fellow, it took a mighty long stare for the scene to sink in. (Main Brook, NL)

Thanks all you young Newfoundlanders for catching, holding, feeding, petting and amusing Polly in the moments when my attention has lapsed!

(Map note: map shows mule Polly and my approximate location as of early August, 2012. We later took a few days off in Bishop’s Fall to re-organize for the second half of our Newfoundland journey.)

Bob Skelding
2012-08-10 22:38:20

Phew! It’s a good thing the Newfie kids are looking out for you. If it wasn’t for them, a 4 legged, long eared equine with 63 chromosones would be making a ‘mule’ out of you! Next thing you know, you would be pushing aside a pint of Molson’s and turning your watch forward half an hour.

I hope all is going well. I’m into Oregon and doing great. So far, the local kids haven’t had to round up my horses; but, there’s always tomorrow. Take care,


Connie Johnston
2012-08-13 14:31:57

Barbara and I got the postcard. Thanks. I love the kid pictures on the website — they’re great! When you get back to NC, we’d love to come see the new cabin location — we might even bring food this time! Have a good trip! Connie

Andy Bennett
2012-08-14 17:41:04

Kaptain Kipper,
I’m beginning to think that you lose that mule on purpose just so you can meet new people!

2012-08-15 09:22:19

Andy, Au contraire amigo. I take another view. I’m beginning to think it’s my mule who’s running away to meet new people. I mean really. If you had an owner that insisted on living off kippers, moose meat, rice and tea – and was hell bent on sharing that bounty with you – you’d figure a way out of those shackles and chains. Just for a change in diet! Hope all’s well with you up the holler. Bernie

Floyd and Betty Spracklin
2012-08-18 18:13:18

We’re still scratching our heads at the likelihood of running into two individuals like Bernie and Polly at our Gaff Topsails cabin, of all places. We enjoyed our evening and next morning together. Hope to see you again either in NC or back here. Next time, you bring the fishing rod, and I’ll bring the beer. All the best on your travels. Try not to lose Polly again; she’ll gain weight!!!

Cindy Keats
2012-08-20 10:45:18

Hi Bernie, It was very nice meeting you & Polly, we are glad you came to our little town of Benton. The kids had a great visit with Polly feeding her apples & carrotts.
We enjoyed your stay here with us and having a great chat in our back yard with the fire pit going,we also enjoyed having breakfast with you the next morning. Hope you well enjoy the book we gave you to read on your journey. Nice meeting you and Polly. If your down our way again please drop in to visit…

– Allan & Cindy

2012-08-27 10:00:24

Hi Bernie.Just checking in to say hello.Haven’t had a chance to do so until now .Things have been rather hectic since you were here.It was such a treasure to have met you and Polly.Have lots of pictures to look at for years to come.Enjoy the remainder of your trip and stay .Maureen and a Doug (Bellburns.NL.)


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