I love small town life for a whole host of reasons. The mom and pop businesses that dot the square and the main drag, the friendly greetings you get as you mosey about town, and neighbors helping neighbors. But who knew my small town would also host donkey basketball?
Yep, it’s true. On a recent weekday night, darn near the whole town turned out at the local school gym for a rousing game of donkey basketball. We all piled into the gym, and the bleachers were a buzz as we watched local leaders, school teachers, and public servants line up as they awaited their wild rides. And in they came. Adorable donkeys of all sizes complete with rubber shoes.
The hooting and hollering ensued as we all rooted for our favorites. Helmets on, the riders mounted their donkeys and began to pace up and down the court dribbling, carrying, and shooting basketballs. And just to be fair, I’m definitely using the word pace quite liberally here. If you’ve never spent much time around donkeys, what you might not know is that while they are smart and can be amazingly sweet, they definitely have minds of their own. This sometimes frustrating trait, made for a great night of entertainment.
Here come the donkeys. This little guy was first to enter to whooping and hollering.
Donkeys start the ceremony by carrying the littlest flag bearers.
The donkeys dribble down the court. The little one was the spunkiest. (Isn’t that always the way.)
Line up under the hoops, the rider takes a shot and the donkey watches on.
Sometimes the donkeys shed their riders. This poor fellow came off more than once but he was determined.
So why in the world were donkeys playing basketball in our little town? Well for a good cause of course. Another part of small town life is the way folks are committed to helping each other, and this night the agenda was focused on kicking cancer (pun intended and emblazond on the t-shirts). The program started out honoring the cancer survivors, then the national anthem (and yes kids riding donkeys paraded around the flag), the pledge of allegiance, the Texas pledge (that’s how we roll around here), and a prayer. You can’t say we don’t take our events seriously. During halftime, a cake auction was held, and homemade goodies fetched hundreds of dollars for a great cause.
It was one of those nights that just made me smile. When I came home and fed the horses and donkeys, I had a little chat with Sweetie Pie, our resident donkey. We talked it over, and while she was supportive of her fellow donkeys, she made it very clear in no uncertain terms that basketball was not in her future. I guess we’ll save the basketball hoops for another day.
P.S. – No donkeys were harmed in the making of this blog.
Life around the farm is pretty simple, and to be honest Cowboy and I just don’t watch the news much because it’s a whole lot of drama, and if you know one thing about Cowboy, it’s that drama is definitely not his thing. But lately some of the crazy talk is just a bit too hard to ignore. Frankly, I think it’s time we take a lesson from some of our animal friends.
A couple of things to know about me and Cowboy. First, we are not political. We are the live and let let live sort. I’ve always liked the quote that your rights end where my nose begins, although a Google search to see who first said this leads to over a million results and a whole other debate. Secondly, we are Christians. That’s right, church-going, creationist-believing, gospel-music-listening Christians. (Okay, the gospel music thing is mostly me.) Do you think you have a picture of us in your heads? Have you labeled us yet? Let me throw you a curve ball. One of my very best friends is gay.
Why does this matter? It’s something that has been on my heart a lot lately, and to be honest, as Christians, I think we can do better. For whatever reason, a fraction of Christians have decided that is okay to call out gay people, to condemn them, and now in Arizona refuse them service. Now I don’t want to get into a whole debate throwing Bible verses around about what is right and what is wrong, but there is one thing that as a Christian I undoubtedly know is right. Jesus called us to love one another, to love our neighbor as ourselves. As Cowboy recently said, “It’s our job as Christians to love and help people. We aren’t asked to be the judge or the jury. God will take care of that.” Have I mentioned that I just adore Cowboy?
Enter my animal friends. You see, we’ve got all sorts of critters on the farm. And they are all a little different and they all have their quirks. But most importantly we love them all and they love us. We’ve got a dog who is a little too large (and yes it’s her thyroid). We’ve had a dog who was deaf and losing her eyesite. We’ve got horses who are deemed mutts by some, as they have no pedigree. We’ve got a donkey who still doesn’t trust us no matter how hard we try. We’ve got one horse who blows at everything, another who can’t leave anything alone, and another one that requires special food and minimal dust for her allergies. But they all work it out. They accept each other, despite their differences they enjoy their life at Wild Horse Valley.
As far as I’m concerned, we all have our differences. My point is simply this, if we all want to get along there is just no sense in focusing on a handful of things to get so wound up about. Someday I believe we will all stand before God, and when He asks me, “Were you kind? Did you love your neighbor?” I want to be able to answer a resounding, “Yes.” Not, “Well, everyone but people who were not like me.”
You see, I grew up in a judgey-pants kind of church. There was no dancing, no going to movies, no secular music. And we had rules. Boy did we ever have rules. But what we didn’t have was a sense of service for helping others. It was missing. (Don’t get me wrong, there was some good stuff too, but this is what is stamped on my childhood brain.)
So why do you ask am I still in church? Because I know that those rules, that crazy environment was made up of mankind, and in general we humans have an amazing ability to screw things up. My faith, my belief is in Jesus and God. My focus is on being the best person I can be. That means loving my neighbor, and my dear sweet friend. He and his partner are welcome in our home anytime. Cowboy and I appreciate their friendship.
There really is nothing to be scared of. My friend has never asked me or Cowboy to be gay, he’s never thought we were odd for not being gay, and we’ve never caught any cooties from him. The truth is, he’s been nothing but patient and kind as I’ve asked him lots of questions to try to help me understand things that he experiences. My friendship is the least I can offer in return.
So yes, I am a Christian. One of my best friends is gay. These two things really can co-exist. The rainbow is the symbol that God gave Noah that he would never again destroy the world by water. Let us not destroy the world with hate.
P.S. – I know this was a departure from my lighter posts, but it was just something I wanted to share. I promise the humor will return with the next post. I’ve got stories about donkey basketball! (Yes, you heard me right. I’ve even got pictures!)
Valentine’s Day is a low key holiday around the farm. Cowboy likes to say, “Do you want to celebrate love just one day or wouldn’t you rather celebrate all year long?” And it’s true, he spoils me and vice versa. The farm is a pretty lovable place for people and our four-leggeds.
But this year, Maybelle decided to start the day off by getting in on the act. Truth be told, I was a sleepy girl on Valentine’s morning, as I had been up late the night before reading away. As usual, Maybelle was the first to stir and start the morning by dancing at the backdoor so she could go out and greet the day.
I stumbled to the door in a haze, and crawled back under the covers praying for just five more minutes. (You can ask Cowboy, try as I might, I have not yet mastered the art of being a morning person.) After a few minutes of running around and doing her thing, Maybelle came flying back in.
She had something in her mouth, but since this is the land of a hundred toys, I didn’t pay too much attention. That is until she hopped up in bed and unceremoniously dropped this blob of something right next to my head. At this point, the haze began to clear and my thoughts immediately went to, “Oh no, what in the world has she brought to me?”
I’ll be honest, a horse apple was the first dreaded though that popped into my mind. Please Lord, don’t let it be that. But oh no, Miss Maybelle had something even better. Somewhere she had found a small dead baby bird, feathers covered in dog slobber and little feet sticking straight up. Can we just chime in with one collective eeeeewwwwww?
Not only was I sad that we had somehow lost a baby bird, because let’s face it we love almost any critter around here, but worse it was now taking up residence next to my pillow. The cobwebs now completely out of my head, I scooped up Maybelle’s gift and apologized to the little bird as it made its way into a trash bag burial.
Maybelle was oh so very proud of her Valentine’s gift, which I think she really believed she could lick back to life and have as her latest friend. Let’s just say that we do not want to repeat that little gift all year long, or really ever again. My funny little valentine, next time a morning snuggle will do.
P.S. – Best Valentine’s present of the day, Cowboy made sure we had nice fresh sheets and pillow cases!