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 up.
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
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
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
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 North.”
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
fer 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
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
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
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.”