Dear Jon Jon Letter: My Thank-You Note to a Grand Canyon Mule

Dear Jon Jon the mule,

I imagine no one has written you a letter before, so I’m honored to be the first. I don’t know if it was fate that brought us together or a female cowpoke named Cindy who sized me up and assigned our relationship to begin. I’m going to assume it’s the latter, as that’s exactly what happened. There you were, tied to the fence with your bretheren, waiting for what must’ve been your 10,000th plod around the rim of the Grand Canyon. We were told we’d be riding the most “experienced” mules at the canyon. Clearly, this meant the ones that hadn’t plunged off the edge in their younger years. I can appreciate a little gray on the coat.

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Sorry for the weird muzzle-thing, Jon Jon. It wasn’t my idea.

I did struggle to appreciate the way you huffed and puffed whenever I asked you to pick up the pace. In case you haven’t been keeping up with my blog, Jon Jon, I recently lost 10 pounds, so I felt a bit offended when you seemingly struggled to crank up the pace to a faster clip. And by “clip,” I mean when the shuffle-plod grew slightly more frequent.

Regardless of your overblown dramatics, I just want to thank you for our ride yesterday. Since I was a single rider and let a party of seven ahead of me, we were stuck bringing up the rear. And, on a trail ride, “bringing up the rear” means you’re viewing a LOT of rears. Unfortunately, in the equine (and human) realm, those rears tend to be more active than you’d hoped for. However, you handled the indignity with quiet dignity as you side-stepped piles of green. I’m assuming you were attempting to keep your hooves clean rather than attempting to run me into trees. That is the level of trust we built during our two hours together.

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Thank you, Jon Jon, for keeping to the back of the line so I could snap photos like this when the guide wasn’t looking.

I also want to thank you for pretending to respond when our trail guide yelled at me to “motivate Jon Jon”. Frankly, it seemed a bit cruel to continually slap your behind with a leather strap. I know some parent this way, and, since I’m on vacation, I’ve been trying to avoid disciplining anyone. Thank you for breathing more heavily and pretending to pick up the pace when I made horsey-kissy noises at you. It made me feel like we were in this thing together.

Lastly, I appreciate your sure footing. Thank you for not sending us tumbling down into the Grand Canyon. That would’ve been the worst, and I’m not sure if I would’ve forgiven you for that.

Jon Jon, I’ll always remember you. Well, that’s probably a lie. I’ll remember you until I can sit without pain again, then I’ll probably move on. You’ve probably forgetten me anyway, as I was the lump who paid to make you walk four miles in the gaseous cloud of 10 other mules. I’m glad our friendship began on such a high note.

Love,

Mama C

P.S. Can we take a minute to discuss our guide’s facial hair? I mean, he was a cool dude, but, holy Toledo, how do you even maintain a mustache like that?

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I kept sneaking photos of Jason the tour guide. Is that weird?

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