March 30 – The mission where we lived in Africa many years ago owned some donkeys and oxen to pull the carts when something had to be transported, and let them roam freely to find their own food. They scrounged all over the campus, and when possible they invaded the yards of the missionaries, where greener and tastier fare was often available. The yards had fences and gates but especially often managed to get in at night and eat the missionary gardens. Very discouraging to find nothing but donkey tracks in the garden in the morning. and none of the garden.
We kids liked to ride the donkeys, barebacked and with no reins, just a switch to keep them moving. It usually wasn’t too difficult to corner a donkey and leap aboard. The hard part was to get them to do something interesting, like moving forward. They were not racers or trotters, and some were hardly even walkers when a rider got on. One donkey that did decided to run when I climbed on, headed straight for the nearest school building and wiped me off by pressing close to the wall as he passed by.
I remember there was one donkey we all liked to catch and ride, because he could be made to provide a little excitement. Donkeys have a dark stripe over their shoulders, and we found that if we pressed down on this stripe with a hard stick, he would immediately begin to leap and grunt and whirl around and would reach back and try to bite our toes. That was usually the extent of our donkey rodeo.
Our dogs enjoyed chasing the donkeys if we encouraged them to, but usually ended up getting kicked when they grabbed ahold of the tail. One of the dogs was smarter, though, and would rush up and grab the tail from beside the donkey and immediately swing on it to the other side. The donkey would kick violently but always a moment too late to connect with the dog. – DALE