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I Replaced My Sister and My Closest Friends With a Mule

The worst and best impulse buy of my life

Photo by Carmen Miller

Photo by Carmen Miller

Maria Miller, Birdfeed Editor

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I’ll admit it; I swapped out the three most important people in my life with a mule named Shoelace. Now don’t get me wrong, I didn’t literally exchange three people for an animal like some medieval bartering system, but they were the direct cause of my impulsive purchase and trek down to Oklahoma.

A couple of months ago, when the college acceptance letters poured in it dawned on me that I would not have these people with me every day like I do now. On top of this realization, I had just sold a horse who I had owned and loved for years. Let’s just say that I did not take these events with an extraordinary amount grace.

A lot of people binge eat, listen to music, or go out and have a good time when they are distraught; I, on the other hand, went on Craigslist. There I noticed an ad for a mule for sale in Vinita, Oklahoma. The second I saw him, I knew for whatever reason he was the remedy for all my troubles. After all, it is infallible logic that three support systems can be replaced by one mule… right? That night I talked to my mother into it, and she wired money to the owner, Shandy, without telling my father, but that is nothing new for my family. We made plans to make the six-hour drive down the next Thursday night, and drive back Friday morning.

The trip down was painstaking. Six hours of corn fields, cows, and my mother’s favorite Rush Limbaugh talk show did not sit too well with me. About two hours in, I was wondering if I had made yet another terrible, impulsive decision, but at this point, there was no going back. We rolled into Vinita around 1 a.m, and had a brief stay at The Holiday Inn before rising at 6 a.m. to go pick up my new best buddy.

We contacted Shandy, and in her thick accent, she gave us these directions to her small farm just outside of the small town: “Take a left out of the parking lot, drive until you hit Lucille’s Flowers, take another left, over the railroad tracks, and once you see the Shout & Sack it’s a straight shot, but hurry because there is a swallar coming!” The directions raised more questions than they answered, but most prevalently, what in the world is a swallar? As it turns out, a swallar is a massive storm, and by the time we made it to the Shout & Sack we could barely see the dirt road in front of us.

Lucky for us, the swallar ended as abruptly as it began.  It slowed to a drizzle as we pulled into their quaint family farm. After our incredibly long journey to the south, we were greeted by their old black corgi and Shoelace himself. He was exactly as I expected him to be, and sweeter than I could have hoped for. I knew at that moment that it was all worth it. Shoelace, my mother, and I made the six-hour trek back to Omaha with little interruption. Shoelace has been a great asset to my mental health ever since. 

My father didn’t mind too much about being kept out of the loop about our new family member, and as for the people he replaced, they came to the consensus that they are all equivalent to ⅓ of a mule. Personally, I can not think of a greater compliment.

Maria Miller - Flightline Editor-in-Chief

Maria became a member of The Flightline in January of 2016. She is a senior this year involved in slam poetry at Skutt and spends time with her beloved mule, Shoelace, outside of school. You can email her at [email protected]

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Student News of Skutt Catholic High School
I Replaced My Sister and My Closest Friends With a Mule