Mule Barn Truck Stop – Sterling Journal-Advocate


It doesn’t really take much prodding for old Windy Wilson to start holding court on all the weird stuff…not at the roadhouse in Mule Barn. All it takes is for someone to slow down enough to listen to our aging camp cook. Someone accidentally said the word “quail” and that was enough.

Now old Horton lived in Lewis Crick from here, Windy said. Had this old mule named Putner. Ol’ Putner got his name because when he foaled, he died. But Horton trained Putner to do things that Horton liked to do. In fact, that’s why the two bird hunters in town went to Horton’s that day. Opening day of the quail season, so to see.

They told old Horton he had a mule that could point the quail, and Horton says he’s sure sugar does. He said he’d rent old Putner to them for ten dollars a day. Guaran-dog-teed stabilized it to fly up and shoot, you don’t know.

So they gave him the ten bucks and Horton let go of Putner and he galloped through the puckerbrush and then slammed into the most beautiful long-eared point you’ve ever seen. Sure enough, he found them a company of quail, and when they shot the birds, old Putner brought them back to the hunters. He scooped them into his mouth as soft as a marshmeller.

Well, those old boys had their limits at lunchtime and they couldn’t believe it. They took Putner back to old Horton and said they had to have him, and they didn’t care how much it cost them.

Horton shook his head and said he couldn’t do that. Our sir. Not for money.

Why not? These hunters asked him.

Well boys, Horton said, it’s almost time for the salmon run, and Putner would rather fish than hunt, any day.

Featured by “Packing the Backyard Horse” by Slim Randles, now available on


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