|In case some of you townies have forgotten what a mule looks like this is one - long ears and very straight back.|
Apparently maneuvering this wagon train around was a sight that spectators would turn out for – Ed and his two fellow handlers would use short tugs on the reins to go right and steady pulls to go left. Quite how responsive the mules were is not mentioned, but you can be sure they didn’t always perform according to the owner’s handbook.
Along with him was a driver, who sat aloft the huge wagons which were loaded with borax, and at the back was the “Swamper,” who was responsible for manning the brakes and also the cooking and dishwashing. They lived on a diet of beans and occasionally some bacon. They were described as silent, bad tempered men. Can you wonder?
So the reason I keep Ed and his mules prominently on my desk is to remind myself when things don't go right, that life could be a damned sight worse - I could be Ed Stiles, and that would be no joke!