Being the Mule · 9 October 2011

I am the mule. No. I am not that stubborn. I am just the pack animal for our family.

I first made the conscious realization that I am the mule when we were at the Grand Canyon last summer. I had the backpack with clothing for when it got cooler or in case it rained, lunch, and a ton of water. The water did get lighter as we went farther along the rim, but when we got to the end of the line, we filled up again for the trip back. Thankfully, we did not walk the whole way, but rode from point to point in the shuttle busses. Still, I had the backpack laden with supplies. We did not need to rent mules for our trip around the Grand Canyon. I was the mule.

Being the mule does have its advantages. It is a little bit of a workout and so I did not gain any weight on our vacation last summer as I usually would because of eating out and visiting relatives (who always have lots of food). I just kept packing our stuff everywhere and ended up about the same weight as when we left. I probably did not get any stronger, but I did get prepared for the fall.

In the fall the boys usually play soccer. Thing 2 is the only one playing now, which means that I only need to pack stuff one time per weekend instead of three like we used to do. I lug chairs and blankets and snacks (including tons of water) to the soccer field from the car.

I am glad that we do not have the old lawn chairs from when I was a kid. The stiff aluminum frames with nylon strips weaved to make the seats and backs were unwieldy at best. I know my dad had to pack those old things to our football games when we were kids. He would just fold them up and carry them over his shoulder. He might have felt like a mule too, but at least his loads were a bit lighter. The chairs these days are not as bulky, but they are heavier than the ones Dad had to carry.

Not that I am complaining.

I am sure that Dad was the mule for our family too. He was the one who carried the chairs and coolers and whatever else we had in the car for outings. When we had family picnics, I am sure all us kids would just get out of the car and run around like the wild animals we were, never even thinking about getting the stuff from the car. After all, we knew our area would get set up and eventually Mom would call us for food. I am sure we did that because that is what my boys seem to do. Unless asked, of course.

All in all, I should not complain about being a mule. I get fed regularly and have a nice place to sleep. When we are not on vacation, I usually only work once a week or so. And it is moderately good exercise. So while I might complain a bit by fighting the reins or braying too loudly, I do not really mind being the family mule. Part of that might be because I know that one day it will be my boys’ turn to carry the load. One day it will be their turn to be the mules.

© 2011 Michael T. Miyoshi

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