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Listen. Do you hear the sound of that coyote in the distance? Or the distant hum of the active cicadas? Now where do you think you are? No, you are not sitting at your desk or lying on your bed or even soaring through the air on the park swing. You are deep in the countryside, on an obscure farm, with countless magnificent surprises.
All of a sudden you awaken to the brilliant light of the rising sun through your window. Wait! This isn’t your bedroom window! You are in a strange place with un- familiar surroundings. You are beginning to feel frightened and alone. All of a sudden it comes to you. You are not alone, this place is a place you know, and you are delighted to be here. You are lying in the guest room of your grandparents’ home on the farm. As you wipe your eyes and gradually drag yourself out of bed, you smell the sweet aroma of your grandmother’s pancakes wafting in from the kitchen. You wander into the kitchen and just as you are about to bite into those mouth-watering pancakes, you hear a sound. A sound you haven’t heard in the suburbs of home. You ask your grandmother what it is, and replies with a jubilant tone, saying,
“ That is our new donkey, Ginger. She is a wonderful sight to see, but she can’t be caught. We’ve tried, tried, and tried again, but all she ever does is run the other direction.”
“ I can catch her! I know I can!” you declare with your headstrong attitude putting itself in gear.
“ Good luck with that,” say both of my grandparents in unison as my grandfather walks into the room. And so began my endeavor with that stubborn yet worthwhile donkey.
Later that evening your cousin Kristina and you are going out to the pasture to try to make your first attempt with Ginger. Both of you hop the gate to the pasture and are suddenly swarmed by the herd of sheep that accompanies Ginger in the pasture. You scan the area for the donkey but your cousin finds her in a far corner.
“ You try to catch her first…” you say shakily.
“ Alright, I will,” your cousin Kristina says back with confidence. At first, she tries creeping quietly towards the donkey but as Ginger sees Kristina looking straight at her, that doesn’t work. She tried again, but Ginger prevailed. Finally, Kristina just starts running after the donkey. That is a sight to see! It is something never to be forgotten, the sight of your cousin chasing a scared donkey and seeing the look on everyone’s face. Finally Kristina comes back and says with bated breath,
“ I don’t know…” you say with uncertainty.
“Go ahead.” Your cousin urges with great enthusiasm.
“ I’ll at least attempt…” you say quietly so as not to reveal your anxiety. Next thing you know, you are off trying to wrangle the undomesticated donkey. For about 10 minutes you try the same tactics you cousin tried a few minutes ago, but that doesn’t work and you give up. You decide to try again on your own the next day when you can be alone with the animal. It turns out to be a good decision.
The next day, Kristina goes back home. You are even more determined to catch Ginger. Your grandparents advise against it once more, but once again you don’t want to listen. Today you will try something different. You will catch that donkey.
First, you venture into you grandparents’ musty barn and wander in semi-darkness to the back where you know that there are treats your grandpa gives to the mules neighboring Ginger’s pasture. You grab loads of them and have to stuff your pockets to hold them all. You go out to the pasture and hop the gate like you did the previous day with your cousin. You spot Ginger and immediately lower yourself down to a crouching position. You hold your hand out flat with a treat, and start waddling over to the donkey. You manage to get right up next to her and she takes the treat from your hand! Just before she runs away, you grab her lead rope and have her. You did it! You are absolutely ecstatic. You can’t believe it and yet here she is in your hands.
The consequences of that donkey excursion you went on were plenty. The donkey was able to be caught after you left and was more trusting of people. You grandparents bragged about it to everyone and you are now nicknamed “mule skinner”. You love thinking back on this wonderful experience.
You learned a lot from your time with Ginger on the farm. You learned more so the value of patience and understanding. You learned that everything is not what it seems, but most of all you learned what a wonderful donkey Ginger is.