Throwback Thursday:  My brother and donkeys

“To carry his load without resting, not to be bothered by heat or cold and always be content: these three things we can learn from a donkey”
Indian Proverb 

For a number of years, the Perry farm has been a gathering place for the Smith Family on the 4th of July.  There are several traditions that are upheld during that time-the one for today’s blog is feeding the donkeys.  Pictured here in this photo taken a few years back, are my brother, isissy 2 and two of the great granddaughters with some treats for the donkeys.  Jack, one of the most vocal of the drove (yep that is what a group of donkeys is called-or the not quite as much fun, herd) knows my brothers car and voice, and begins to heahonk or bray (sometimes called “hee-haw-the correct term for their vocalization is bray) loudly for the entire countryside to know it is time to feed Jack.

My brother has always had a tender heart for animals, and if there were such a thing as a donkey whisperer, I am sure he would be in the running. After a long day at work, it would be pleasant to sit on the deck and watch the sunset spash color across the sky.  But Jack is not to be ignored-watering and feeding is what awaits my brother at the end of his work day and the beginning of his donkey owner day.  That is no small commitment-donkeys have sometimes lived to be 40 years old!!

If you are ever on Jepordy, pick the Donkeys category for $1,000, because I am going to share with you some great info about donkeys.  A mule is a product of a horse mare and a male donkey, or jack.  The donkey has 62 chromosomes, horses 64.  Which is why such breeding will produce infertile offspring.  Donkeys are social animals-I’m sure my brother used that reasoning as he acquired a drove not just one.  Teaching a donkey something should be undertaken only if you are prepared to take your time-donkeys simply have to be cajoled when presented with something they don’t want to do. I can relate….

There is a lovely legend about the darker hair across the shoulder and down the back of donkeys.  A little donkey bore Christ to Jerusalem and so loved his gentle master that he later followed him to Calvary. Grief-stricken by the sight of Jesus on the cross, the donkey turned away but couldn’t leave. It was then that the shadow of the cross fell upon the shoulders and back of the donkey, and there it stayed. All donkeys have borne the sign of the cross on their backs since that very day.

Does your family’s gathering place feature animals?  It is a big deal when we get together at the farm.  Oh, and, the barn cats….that is for another day, another blog.  : )

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