A donkey at timesHow was your weekend? Mine ranked right up there with Christmas, meeting a new love interest and on par with a first trip to Disneyland. Why? Because it was interesting and what more can you ask for?
By: Kevin Holten, The Dickinson Press
How was your weekend? Mine ranked right up there with Christmas, meeting a new love interest and on par with a first trip to Disneyland. Why? Because it was interesting and what more can you ask for?
To begin with, late on Friday evening/Saturday morning, I observed a young man jump from rooftop to rooftop in downtown Dickinson, destroying whatever got in his way, including a large air conditioning unit that he dislodged from the roof of Park Square.
For a moment I thought about asking him what he was up to because I was quite certain that whoever manages Park Square was not expecting a service man with no tools to arrive in the wee hours of a late fall evening to fix an air conditioning unit that had probably been lifted into place by a small crane.
Yet there he was trying to throw it off the rooftop as if that might coax it into functioning better, much like the old days when you tapped the side of a television set to improve its reception or get rid of those squiggly lines.
Then I suddenly realized that he was much too preoccupied to carry on a meaningful conversation with me and, in fact, might not have been mentally residing in the same galaxy and thus I dialed 911 to summon some better-equipped conversationalists.
Five or six officers from the Highway Patrol, Sheriff’s Department and Dickinson Police Department where there nearly instantaneously and as they searched diligently for this self-proclaimed service man, he somehow managed to fall off another rooftop and hit the concrete below like a 50-pound bag of horse feed; the fall having been captured by a security camera in the alley and observed by us later.
How he survived I don’t know, but he somehow managed sit up and get up as though the police had interrupted him from a refreshing afternoon nap and I couldn’t help but think about how proud his mother must be of her 20 something-year-old son hopping from rooftop to rooftop like Spider-Man on PCP.
Of course, I did manage to voice my opinion of him while he lay there on that cold concrete, comparing his actions to that of a jackass, which he didn’t seem to find amusing, oddly enough, and officers quickly suggested that I step back just a bit and I quickly complied.
Early the next morning, I loaded four cowboys plus I and five horses into a horse trailer and pickup truck and headed west to the Little Missouri Cattle Ranch, 25 miles north of Medora, to round up a few hundred head of cattle over two days and have all kinds of fun amongst the peaks, valleys, mule deer, antelope and coyotes of the Badlands.
It was there that I asked one of the young cowboys, a member of the Dickinson State University Rodeo Team, what he thought I should write about in this week’s column and he suggested that I write about donkeys, since there was a white one in a pasture nearby and I couldn’t resist combining his request with my opinion of the self-proclaimed Spider-Man who’d hopped from rooftop to rooftop just hours before.
This led to research that uncovered some interesting “did you knows’” about donkeys that you might find intriguing. For example, did you know that donkeys originated in the deserts of Africa, they can go for long periods without food or water, and their long ears keep them both cool and help them hear for miles?
Did you also know that the Romans brought donkeys to England, and the Spanish into the Americas that their tails are more like that of a cow than a horse? In addition, the males are called Jacks and the females are call Jennys and a mule, which is not a donkey, is the result of a romantic union between a horse and Jenny.
Donkeys are also quite intelligent, stubborn, courageous and rarely run from a fight and that is why their services are often utilized by ranchers to help protect sheep, goats and cattle from area predators. However, somewhere along the line, despite their part in helping to settle the West, they developed a reputation for being obstinate and inherited the jackass moniker, much to their chagrin, and now, despite many attempts to shake the image, they cannot seem to do so.
To make matters worse, the term jackass is now used by mankind to deride other members of the human race, as though it qualified as a profanity.
Still, I’d like to take this opportunity to apologize to donkeys throughout the land for using their unearned moniker to describe the actions of one “out-of-his-mind” young man who hopped from rooftop to rooftop, because he did nothing to deserve that kind of high praise.
Holten is a freelance cartoonist and columnist from Dickinson.