The History of Hogspore
It Was Like This When We Got Here
This history comes from the older folks in town plus some written down words from
my granddaughter Evangeline’s geography school books and some what are just made up
cause we might have been drinking too much when we was in the library.
Arkansas is real old. There was an ocean over Arkansas bout 500 million years ago,
though it seems like only 460 to 485 million years ago. The whole place was all underwater,
just like some of your home mortgages nowadays.
The world started shifting and fidgeting around 460 to 485 years ago, (some say it was
500 million years ago), and up come the northwest part of Arkansas right out of the ocean.
The place probably smelled pretty bad for a while what with all the dead fish. There ain’t no
pictures of this and nobody was around so this is about the same thing as making the stuff
Further south, the Ouachita Mountains was formed underwater and they showed up
after the water ran off. This is Hogspore country. The town is up or down Highway 71,
depending on whether you’re coming or going. We don't particularly care whether the town
gets bigger so there’s no sign out on the highway telling you where to turn.
First folks in the area were the Quapaw, Caddo, Osage, (known for over seasoning
their food), Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, Seminole, and the Sakajusemen.
In 1542 Hernando Desoto, the Spanish explorer, came barging through Arkansas,
took a fever, and died on the banks of the Mississippi River. Some say he knew Ponce
de Leon so well that he was allowed to call him The Pons.
Desoto never found gold or a path to China but he did find a 10-piece set of gold
rimmed china at an Indian wholesale outlet. His boys managed to spread so much
measles, small pox, and chicken pox amongst the Indians that they never got back to
their original numbers before Hernando and the blood-borne pathogens showed up.
Hernando Desoto was hated so much that Ginger Rogers was stopped in 1942 and given
a ticket just fer driving a Desoto automobile through Arkansas.
We was made a state on June 15, 1836.
Many a year ago, fore the town got to be all growed up with the 800 some odd
people we got living here now, there was just a few settlers scattered around. They was
the ones with the broken wagon axles. When the wagon train left em behind, they got to
hear how dumb they was for buying a pre-owned wagon with 100,000 miles on it from
Pittsburgh Al’s House of Used Conestoga’s.
They settled down, bred up a bunch a youngins, and then died, with that ol wagon still
in the front yard, a sitting up on 4 tree stumps.
This was before the town had a real name, even before a young circuit rider judge by
the name of Aaron Rinseonce Hogspore rode into town. He settled here when his mule died
right out from under him in front of Deckle’s Hotel and Emporium, Purveyors of Fine
Whiskey and Dental Floss at Wholesale Prices.
These were the times when a hot bath, a Delmonico steak, and the comfort of a
woman only cost 3 dollars, $3.50 if you wanted a baked tater and salad.
Bout 5 years ago, there was a couple of Harvard college communist students here
for the summer doing research on the town’s founder, circuit riding Judge Aaron Rinseonce
Them students found out that the judge’s mule, Ringo, died right out from under him in
the winter of 1865 and that the judge had built up a town right where Ringo had died. Them
socialists thought it was just the funniest thing they’d ever heard of for a town to be raised
up round a dead mule.
They said it would be camp to celerbrate an annual mule appreciation day and so they
got the mayor to start one up. The Commies left and we never did find out where the camp
was that they was talking bout, but Mule Appreciation Day took hold. We all love our mules
and we get to drink right out in the open on Mule Day.
Before Judge Aaron Rinseonce Hogspore started up the town of Hogspore, he had
been drafted into the Confederacy. Young Hogspore had no political leanings at all cept he
didn’t want to get shot. He was a constant volunteer for bringing up the rear. He didn’t see
much action after he caught the Black Mumps when he was in Rondo, Arkansas.
Bout 17 of the boys died from them Black Mumps. Young Aaron swell up right where
a man tends to swell when he gets a good set of mumps. He couldn’t ride a mule for a long
time. He never did get all the swelling down, so that’s why there was a lotta talk bout his
persuasion when he come into town that fateful morning riding Ringo, sidesaddle.
This Civil War was a time when families was split up cause of divided loyalties.
Sometimes, it would end up with brothers a shooting at each other. Mothers a shooting at
fathers, but no more than before the war. Sisters fought sisters but they just stuck to pulling
hair and talking behind each other’s back.
There was the account of the Bentley brother twins, Raf and Neftor, who had served
with Judge Hogspore and got dosed up with the same Black Mumps. They was conjoined on
their side. It turned out that Raf, the one on the right, was a spy for the North. When he was
found out, he was set up for the firing squad.
The whole Confederate regiment signed on for the firing squad. 450 of Tennessee’s
finest rifleman lined up in front of the Bentley brothers.
They tied blindfolds on both brothers. Raf, cause they was gonna to shoot him,
and Neftor, cause they didn’t think he wanted to see his brother killed. Somehow, the order
got mixed up and all 450 of them long Tennessee rifles was aimed at Neftor, the good rebel.
Them lead balls tore the two brothers apart and Raf, the spy, was surprised to find
himself still alive and shed of his brother. The dust was still rising when Raf reached down
and switched up wallets with his dead brother.
When the dust settled, Raf, who was now Neftor, yelled, “I’m alright, but I am pure
enough glad that my brother Raf, the dead traitor is on his way to Purgatory for spying for
The new Neftor Bentley moved into Hogspore bout six months after Judge Hogspore
set up the town. Neftor led a good clean life, went to church every Sunday, and always had
a fat envelope for the donation plate when it passed by.
Judge Hogspore never could come to like Neftor Bentley much. Just something bout
Neftor that just didn’t sit right. Might have been them Black Mumps and the permanent
swelling that Neftor never got over either.
In 1900, there was a big strong-muscled mule name of Thomas, what belonged to
Grand Pappy Warren Winslow of Winslow’s Holler. That mule could pull a plow all day and
click up his hoofs all night at a barn dance. He won every dance contest that they ever did
hold at the County Fair. In 1910, he won a yodeling contest.
Grand Pappy Winslow loved Thomas more than 7 out of his 8 children. The mule got
to sleep inside the house on cold nights along with 1 of the 8 children.
The years went by, (by all accounts they all went by in proper order), and Arthritis
finally took Thomas’s legs. Grand Pappy Winslow was bout to take old Thomas on a short
walk down Euthanasia Lane when Scrap Metal Andy stepped in and offered to give the mule
4 tin robot legs.
Thomas got 4 shiny new tin legs and he was good for another 5 years. Only
maintenance he needed was some well-placed squirts from his oil can. Even after
Thomas give up and died, Grand Pappy Winslow still bragged bout that mule.
Back in the 1950’s nobody was catching Polio up in the hills of Hogspore, so the town
took all them Marched Up Dimes and give em to Scrap Metal Andy to fashion up a life-sized
statue of Thomas the Tin Mule for the Town Rectangle. The Tin Mule’s plaque reads:
Warren Winslow’s beloved mule enjoyed a hot oil can on cold winter mornings. Thomas,
the Tin Mule, punctual friend, always oily for work.
Hogspore’s got a long history of mule appreciation. Here’s some more stories bout
Duncan Winslow, one of Pappy Warren’s kin folk, had a prize winning mule named
Bertram. He didn’t dance the way ol Thomas could but Bertram could do impressions.
He did a knock-down true enough impression of Sea Biscuit walking into the winner’s circle
at the Kentucky Derby, all cocky like he knew he was gonna win all the time. He did Sea
Biscuit so good that most folks fell to their knees with laughter when they saw it. All the
jockeys fell to their feet laughing.
Bertram imitated Mr. Ed and Wilbur Post talking to each other at the same time.
He usually finished up his act by barking like a dog and neighing like a horse, basically a dog
and pony show.
Bertram got struck up with lightning on his hindquarters when he was one year old.
He weren’t killed but he was right traumatized from it all. He gets real skittish when he
hears thunder at night and tries to crawl in bed with Duncan Winslow.
On frosty February nights Duncan and his wife let the mule stay. Ol Bertram is warmer
than an electrified blanket. Duncan likes Bertram being there cause his wife can’t tell who’s
passing gas all night. Most of the time though, it’s Duncan that’s adding to global warming.
There was one particular hard freeze night; Duncan had spooned down three bowls of
chili for supper. It got so foggy in the bedroom that Bertram left the king-sized family bed to
go out to the iced-up barn for some fresh air.
One Saturday night, Duncan Winslow rented out his big barn to a circuit preacher for
a revival meeting. They was a baptizing people six at a time in the water trough, when it
started up to storming with lightning a flashing. Must have been 150 people got saved that
night. They was barn again.
The preacher was on fire, and so was the barn after Bertram got scared and kicked
over a kerosene lantern. Bertram felt much better when the animal hospital upgraded his
condition to a Stable. Turns out that in addition to all the people that was saved for the Lord
that night, Bertram was one of them converts cause he was burn again.
Duncan Winslow is selling time shares of his brand new mule, Buley. Duncan sez,
“There’s still some fairly desirable weeks around harvesting time and there’s that one week
left in December fer Christmas week. That’s a real special bonding time tween a mule and
his farm family, what with the church manger re-creation scenes to share together.”
Duncan is somewhat skilled as a word smith.
Every Fourth of July, we have fireworks. When we get extra money in the city coffers,
we always buy the finale rocket, “Mules Across America.” A 500-foot lit up sparkling mule
with a flag pole twixt his teeth and flapping Old Glory.
Just before the big lit up mule hits the ground, it launches up 500 tiny glittering mules
back into the sky. They repeat what the big brother mule did. There ain’t a dry eye in the
crowd. We’re all filled up with patriotism plus our genuine fondness for anything mule-like.
Inderpendence Day brings me some growing up poor memories. Pappy worked at
the Oatmeal Porridge Factory. It was grueling work. He was so poor that every January,
the payroll department only give him a W-1.5.
Uncle Nilly worked that factory 30 years, and then they found his body at quitting time.
They foreman had the coroner come out to confirm Uncle Nilly died in the morning cause
they didn’t want to pay him for the whole day.
We never had no money fer fireworks on Inderpendence Day, but Mama learned us
a trick or two. She told us to push our fingers right straight into our eyes, til they started
hurting. Then we all saw the bright lights. They was as good as any store-bought firecrackers.
My brothers whined cause we weren’t getting no loud noise with our brain lights.
We was pushing our eyeballs, when Mamma come up and whacked us with her cast iron
skillet. We was all real happy for the extra holiday effects, even Baby Henry when he finally
woke up in August.
I get all tearful-like remembering Mama’s frying pan smacking my hard little noggin.
I sure do miss them self-induced optic nerve impingements and childhood cookware
concussions. Only thing is, even today when I’m more than all growed up, I get a headache
with fireworks flashbacks if I cook up scrambled eggs.
Most big cities got something they call Meals on Wheels. Volunteer folks take a hot
meal to shut-ins. That might be the only hot meal they get that day. Hogspore don’t have a
big budget for meals to get delivered by car so we call it Meals on Mules.
We got 5 mules what helps deliver the nourishments Monday through Friday.
Guess them shut-ins can practice fasting on the weekends.
Meals on Mules is right proud of the record for on-time delivery, cept for the time
when best mule Winfrow took a spill off Incompatibility Ridge. It was Taco Day and for 45
minutes there was corn chips drifting onto the rooftops of the valley houses.
A thick hot mass of Jalapeno cheese sauce inched down the ridge, destroying trees and
briar patches like they was no more than thin crispy tortilla shells.
That molten mass of Jalapeno cheese sauce found its way round Myron Squire’s log
cabin and filled in all the drafty cracks in the walls. Myron got qualified for a Federal
guvernment grant for having an energy efficient home.
Mules are a big part of city life and lore. Mayor Ringer was concerned that some of you
serphisticated people outside of Hogspore might not even know for sure just what a mule is.
He asked me to give out a lesson.
I ain’t going into all the possibilities of a 20 minute romance tween a horse and
a donkey cept to say that most of the time, it’s a boy donkey that’s dating a girl horse.
The offspring is gonna be called a mule.
There is a rarified event where a girl horse is dating a donkey and a race horse
at the same time. That’s called a Ménage a Trot. A mule is sterile, what means that he can
be in the operating room with you if you have to go under the knife. Most times though,
the surgeon will send your mule to the waiting room with the other relatives.
Then there was the Great Folding Calamity of June 20, 2004. A bright star in the north
summer sky called the Mule of Rastus, part of the constellation Compost Heapitus, got hit
by some asteroids. For a few seconds, the Mule of Rastus changed light direction and shined
right into the second floor copy room of the state headquarters of the Association of
Arkansas Dry Cleaners in Little Rock.
The light refracted off them high tech copy machines and reversed the new statewide
guideline drawings for folding up clean underwear. Monday morning the new guidelines got
sent out to all the dry cleaners in Arkansas.
By Wednesday, there was some uncomfortable Arkansas men walking round with their
under drawers on backwards. There was a lot of consternation and some secret
adjustments for a few brief hours.
Hogspore had its first Sepia Alert in 2009 fer a runaway mule named Tolerance.
Nobody suspected foul play cause Tolerance left a cell phone message for Sheriff Riley.
“Sheriff, by the time you hear this I probably will have been tossed off this Greyhound bus
somewhere in Oklahoma. The driver’s been giving me looks for the last 12 miles like he
don’t believe I’m just a big Piñata taking up 4 seats in the back.
I’m so weary from pulling a plow 10 hours a day and my throat’s run raw from singing
work songs all the live-long day. I’m on my way to Californee. I heard everybody out there is
unemployed, no work to be had, and nobody needs no plowing. I aim to get on waiting
tables in Hollywood till I’m discovered for the movies. Next time you see me it’s gonna be
up there on the silver screen or crammed into some silver cans of dog food.”
Most folks can’t afford a brand new mule so they buy one that’s got a few seasons of
crops under him, but with plenty of muleage left. Sometimes we’ll trade in our sorriest
oldest mule, but sometimes it can be a lazy shiftless child.
Myself, I don’t abide with trading in a youngin for a mule, but it sure helps correct the
bad attitudes of the children that you still got living with you.
What I’m leading up to is that Hardy Barkins bought himself a new mule. He took his
old mule, Clover, for a trade in over at Sandy’s New and Used Mule Lot. Hardy got in on that
guvernment deal where they’ll send you up to 4,500 dollars if you buy a new mule that
don’t pass as much gas into the air as the old mule did.
Before Hardy left with his new mule, he said goodbye to Clover. Hardy had himself a
few tears remembering all the good times with Clover. Clover had more tears than Hardy,
but it might a been cause Clover knew she was going to visit Uncle Elmer’s farm. Right soon,
she was gonna be in a real sticky situation.
I seen Hardy sporting his new mule, Bosco, in front of Bickum’s Hardware. Hardy
brought him into work to show him off. I sez to Hardy, “That’s a fine looking animal.
It don’t look like he’s been worked at all.”
Hardy sez, “Yep, he’s a good one, I got a 30 day warranty on him and he don’t mind
working. Most of all, he still has that new mule smell.”