The Star of the Show: Sassy the Mule
The Colombia program is excitedly preparing for the arrival of Colombian mule driver Leonel de Jesús Loiza, who will demonstrate how people in the mountainous Coffee Region pack mules for transporting coffee and other products. The star of the mule-packing demonstration will be Sassy the mule, who lives in Nokesville, Virginia. Her adoring owner, Nanne Wright, sends this dispatch from Nokesville:
"Sassy's full name is Lacey Lane's M&M Sassafras. She was born on April 11, 1999, and her mother is a Belgian quarter horse cross, and her father is a donkey. Sassy is known as a bay mule, and she has markings of dark reddish brown, a black mane and tail, and black legs."
"Sassy has always been a “people person”! She is a huggy mule, which means that she puts her head over your shoulder and draws you in to her and gives you a hug!"
"She eats sweet grain and hay on a daily basis. Sassy rides and drives. She has a cart that we use to go for rides in, and on an occasion, she also pulls brush and logs for us on the farm."
"People often mistakenly say that mules are stubborn animals, but they are not trying to be stubborn or difficult in any way. Mules are very cautious and like to check out their surroundings before moving forward. If they see something they don't understand, they freeze to check it out, and while they are thinking it over, it's very hard to move them forward. So this is why some people think mules are stubborn! It's seldom you meet a 'flighty' mule."
"Another thing with mules is that they are very, very smart, and they don't forget! If you scold them or don’t give them the treat that you promised, they will get even with you, even if it takes a very long time, even years! They just don't forget and will get even. Mules are a lot of fun."
Van Luong is the festival blogger for the 2011 Folklife Festival.