Monday, December 29, 2008

I get a good review!

This came in today’s email:

Dear Mr. Dawes,

Spoke to [name deleted] this afternoon and she gave me your cell # - no answer, but will try again. We spoke yesterday near the cathedral. As you may have recognized late yesterday as you passed on Dumaine, I often observe carriages and the degree of help and information the host provides. You are at the top for courtesy, knowledge and informative chatter that I see from our gallery and on the street.

Been coming here almost 40 years and never a carriage ride. You give me incentive to finally take a real French Quarter tour. Will be in touch.

[name deleted]
This man waved down my buggy when we were paused at the Cabildo (for two minutes on the Louisiana Purchase) and asked for a business card. He then told my guests that they have the best guide in the Quarter, and he wants to take the whole tour. I said thank you, I’d be happy to give him a tour, and we moved on. The guests laughed and asked if I paid the guy!

So, it looks like I have a potential passenger! But tour guides yell stuff like this at each other all the time.

I'm blessed with a bellowing baritone voice that can control a crowd, and I deliver my lines to all in earshot, whenever I can get away with it. Sometimes it earns me a fare.

Here's a line I feel free to shout across the street when things are slow in the morning:

Hey, y'all come over here and get a fascinating buggy ride! All our mules are strong and good looking, and all our guides are above average!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Mules in my family history.

Public works are in the news today: Obama Pledges Public Works on a Vast Scale. My dad was in the CCC, as a commisioned officer and company commander. He knew how to plow with mules and drive a wagon.

Mules have touched my family history several times.

In 1903, my grandmother Momma Kay became a 16-year-old single mother when a mule kicked her first husband Adolphus Cecil in the head. Three years later she married Harvey McKay and bore 12 children, of which my mother Addie was the oldest.

During the last great depression, Dad was living on a farm in Cajun country. He could rent his mule team out for more money than a man could earn... and fed his wife and three kids.

When I was a teen in the late 1940’s, my dad bought a depression-era project farm in Cajun country. We had a saddle horse and powerful plow mule, Sarah. We used her to snake discarded cross ties from the railrod right-of-way for recycling as fence posts. She seemed capable of pulling any weight, as long as she was pulling in the direction of the barn. We kids rode her bareback, very slowly. Dad rented her out for $5 a day to stretch telephone and telegraph wires. It was apparently faster than using a manual block and tackle.

My dad bought home a little donkey, a Mexican burro. We also had goats, pigs, a dairy cow, and 10 to 20 head of beef, along with chickens, ducks, guinea fowl, dogs and cats. 'Hey Burro' was a stoic and gentle creature, at least with children. But all the livestock... horses, the mule, even the huge Brangus bull accepted her as queen of the yard. At a feed bucket or trough, she would trot up and flick a hoof at the noses or near the eyes of the competition. They would blink and back up few yards to wait their turn.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

My Resume

I posted a Resume suitable for a buggy driver. To view it, go to this companion blog: