I am working with mule experts from around the country on our big mule opus for May. The one who is doing the heavy lifting is a woman who goes by the handle "The Jackass Lady." This is so bold I can hardly stand it. Here's my proposed take on the opening spread artwork.
Ever wonder why you never see mules in the bucking chutes at a rodeo? According to my mule-savvy friend, Raymond Isenberg, a mule won't always come out bucking. He may buck one time and not the next. He may stop in mid-buck to stare at the crowd. He may run out and make a lap around the arena and then stop to look at everything. Or, he may run and twist trying to dislodge his rider, but he rarely will buck in the classic bareback rider form that horses do all day long. Now, this same mule may be "broke" to ride and two years later, on some lonely trail, decide to put on a first class rodeo buck-athon, but that is the mule's prerogative. They are too smart to just start bucking on command, like horses do. Or, as R.P.S. Brown puts it:"The horse is a noble animal who performs his service with grace. A mule will wait his whole life for the opportunity to kill a man."
Also working on a couple other things, Custer for example.
—Dr. George Keller, St. Joseph, Missouri, 1849