Our next stop is at the nearby town of Dublin where Elmer Meyers is sure to be fooling around with his donkeys. Uncle Elmer is a huge, hearty man who holds forth in the cool of the evening in a rocking chair beside his barn. There he receives the families who come to look at his stock. Uncle Elmer believes that the future for donkeys lies in the production of smaller animals adaptable to the small plots surrounding modern homes. He is almost fanatic on the subject.
"Breed to that small stuff, man," he says. "It's the coming thing in donkeys."
Uncle Elmer shows us Minnie, his pride and joy. Minnie stands only 32 inches at the shoulder and is heavy with foal. Her last offspring seemed hardly bigger than a jack rabbit. In the corral next to Minnie there is a tiny pony stallion, even smaller than Minnie. After Minnie has her foal Uncle Elmer plans to breed her to this pint-size stallion. His aim is to produce the world's smallest mule.
This has caused considerable difference of opinion among members of the donkey set. Some feel that donkeys should be bred only in their pristine purity. Others side with Uncle Elmer, holding that breeding the world's smallest mule would be something of an achievement.
Leaving Uncle Elmer at his chores, we head back into the hills. Now and again we pass an establishment where only one or two donkeys graze with horses. This represents the fringe element, those who try to squeeze into the donkey set by acquiring a single animal. At last we come upon another true donkey farm with a stone house standing amid young shade. Donkey owners lean toward either young shade or old shade. This establishment is known simply as The Swamps, a name suggested by the nearby wetlands.
One distinctive aspect of The Swamps is great gray boulders rising in the lawn and fields. The original settlers had a lazy habit of removing only the smaller rocks. Instead of taking out the big ones they plowed around them, a custom that is followed to this day.
At this point I must admit that this is my donkey farm and that I am a confirmed member, a leader, in fact, of the donkey set. Here at The Swamps we see more yearlings grazing beyond the old barbed-wire fence. We see Cookie, foundation dam of the herd, and Mr. Bones, a month-old jack and one of the friskiest donkeys on record.
The children bring Mr. Bones out, and he begins to tear around, leaping boulders with reckless abandon. He charges into a mass of snapdragons, and Gladys, the lady of The Swamps, yells, "Get out of that flower bed, you!" The children just laugh, for to them there is no lovelier sight than a young donkey cavorting amid snapdragons.
Evening shadows find us sitting in a group on the lawn dawdling over a last Deep-dish. We chuckle over the time a fat woman almost fainted upon seeing her first donkey. With cheerful tolerance we recall the jibes of the slaves to the speed craze; like the time when Moyer was driving his four donkeys only to have a man lean out of a big automobile and yell, "Look at the five jackasses!"
Members of the donkey set take such taunts in their stride. They know they have found the good life and they know donkeys to be creatures of noble nature. They all join Sam Coleridge in the sentiments he expressed when he wrote, "I hail thee Brother—spite of the fool's scorn!"