Friday, July 1, 2005

My Papa's first cousin and the rabid Jackass

I’ve been going through some of my old stories that family told me, Papa used to tell me on some of those weekends I used to interview him, this is one of the more colorful stories my Unlce Elton, papa's brother told me after church, he used to tell stories all the time about our family, probably like we still do about our family.  This story was about one of his cousin’s.  His mom’s brother’s son (Jule) Julian Ennis Jr.   Jule had just graduated from high school, worked very hard in school and had received a senatorial appointment to West Point.  He was working really hard plowing fields with a mule.  He was working for his Uncle Tarver to earn some money which he greatly needed.  Those were hard times. Depression gripped the country and didn't really recede in central  Georgia until the mid 1940's.  He left the mule there when finished working and walked several miles back to the house. This went on like this for sometime. Something happened at home that required that he bring the mule back home.

Julian Jr. returned to his Uncle Tarvers house to pick up the mule. He noticed that the animal was ornery, but still managed to get the bridle and bit on it. He rode the animal for a while but it became more and more agitated and kept trying to bite him. So he got off and led the mule all the way home, being snapped at and kicked at most of the way. . One the way home the ole mule bit poor Jule.  Julian arrived home with a mule that was in a lather, his eyes were wide and wild looking. When it saw water in back ofour house it went completely mad. It kicked the side of  the smoke house . By this time my Dad and Buford were at Julian's side trying to help subdue the pitiful animal. The rabid animal was frothing at the mouth, and kicking and biting at everyone. Once it kicked the side of the smokehouse so hard itsounded like a thunder clap. It then wheeled around and  grabbed an old syrup can from a shelf on the smoke house and crushed it in his mouth from end to end like the men used to crush beer cans. This was a tremendous fight. My older brothers were finally able to get the animal to the barn. The mule kicked down the stalls inside the barn that night and was found dead inside the barn the next morning.  Later after looking at the crushed syrup can (about the size of a half gallon paint can) Julian told of the mules jaws clapping together just inches in front of his face. Although  carnivores are the only animals supposedly able to pass rabies, to be on the safe side, a doctor recommended that my brothers take rabies shots.  In those days a series of five to seven shots were given with a three or four inch needle in each side of the abdomen area over a period days. 

This story probably wasn’t funny to my Papa’s cousin Jule, I’m sure he was scared to death, can you imagine trying to ride a jackass with rabies?  Couldn’t have been fun.  The story changes with who tells it.  I’ve probably heard 4 or 5 different versions of this story.  Like most stories, they change every time they are told, I’ve heard some versions most saying it was my Papa’s cousin, I heard one version saying it was my Papa’s Uncle.  So I do know it was either Jules Jr or Jules Sr.  It’s funny how some of the family like my Papa, made it sound like a comedy.  Like he was ragging on his cousin, then on other parts of the family, it was a tragedy.  Maybe because Papa didn’t have to get those shots in his stomach.  But just picturing it in my mind it’s definitely full of color don’t you think.  I do feel sorry for the poor jackass.  And for Jules, he lost his mule to work with and got bit and had to get shots.  Wonder how long it took till he was out there trying to make money again?

1 comment:

toonguykc said...

You need to incorporate that tale into a novel based on your childhood!  You write well and you could totally pull it off.   Just please mention me in the introduction.  Okay?  ;)