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How To Sell A Mule


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How To Sell A Mule

by Muley

December 1st 2018

Back, in my younger days, I used to associate with a couple of fellow muleteers, both of whom had 30+ to 40+years on me.  One of these was a gent named Pat Garret.  Now Pat was in his 80's and kinda' gimpin' around with a cane.

He was an area original old timer.  When the powers that be thought it would be a good idea to create a recreational trail from Spokane, Washington to Coeur d' Alene, Idaho, but they didn't know quite where to do so, someone suggested they contact Pat.  So, ol' Pat saddles up and rides & guides them through his idea for a trail route.  All 50 miles of it.  He was probably in his mid to late 70's at the time.  The upshot was, they actually built the darned thing - and blacktopped it!  every inch of it.  Pat was invited to ride in the inauguration/grand opening parade, which he did.  At the end of which, he was informed that he couldn't use it, as equines were verboten.

Well, ol' Pat decided that he was gettin' to the point where he couldn't mule it any longer, so he decided to sell his old mule, which he'd had forever.  Now, I can't remember that mule's name, but I can still see it in my mind to this day.  It was about 30-ish and showing it's age.  Now that mule had been about 16 1/2 hands and around 1250 lbs, when younger, but was now down to about 16 hands and 1050 lbs.

Pat attended most every horse sale in the region for several months, and he really talked up that mule.  I suppose people learned things like:

    That mule would carry you, or pack all day, and still be rarin' to go when it got back to camp.

    Or, that mule was so good, it never needed grooming, & even shod itself, on occaision.

    Or, that mule would even stand camp guard, & have supper ready when you got in.

    Or, that mule was so smart, he'd prepare your income taxes fer ya'.

You get the idea . . .

Well, the day finally came when Pat put the mule into the sale, and it was lookin' none to chipper either.  The sale was a long, drawn out one, and Pat had gotten there kinda late as he either had to give that mule a shot of Geritol, or maybe take one himself beforehand.  Now, I was gonna' quit & go home, but Pat's mule hadn't run through yet, so I hung around just to see how he made out.  I figured it'd be real nice if Pat went out with a good sale, but I wasn't holding my breath.  The crowd was thinning out, so the numbers of prospective bidders was dwindling.  I sat down next to Pat, and asked him what he thought.  He replied that he'd be ecstatic if he could get $1,000.

When they finally brought the mule in, the auctioneer started the bidding at $500.  If no one bids, they usually back the bid down until they get an opening bid.  I thought to myself, "It's gonna hafta' start at about $300".  To everyone's surprise, they immediately got an opening bid of $500.  Then, the auctioneer started jumping up the bid amounts by $100 increments - and getting them!  When the bid reached about $2,000, Pat was wall-eyeing at me, and I was looking around to see who could be so stupid.  Well, there were only 2 bidders, an' they both were dead-set on gettin' that mule, as they'd probably heard about the excellent camp coffee it made.

When all was said and done, Pat walked out with $5,000 in his pocket, and one of the bidders left with a mule that mighta' died in the trailer on the way home.

Now, THATS how to sell a mule!

Be without fear in the face of your enemies.

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Speak the truth always, even if it means your death.

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