I can't tell you how often visitors have asked the woman just that. Not the donkeyphiles, of course, but the ones who are seeing a living, breathing donkey for the first time. They are invariably the ones who also get far too close and say "Hey, Donkehhhh, Donkehhh, Donkehhh!" or ask where our friend Winnie the Poop is hiding. Inexplicably rude, not to mention highly perplexing.
The woman explains that Jack worked hard for twenty-seven years, giving rides, attending parties and parades and putting up with things no donkey should endure. I myself haul the woman around in the cart and do my best to attend social events as donkey representative at large. And still they ask, "why would you own a donkey, what use are they?" I wonder, does anyone ask them to justify their mere existence?
After one such incident, the woman took me aside and said "Sheaffer, I think I have found a perfect quote to stifle those peabrains." I'll give her this - she may critcize us freely and in colourful language but heaven help anyone else who does. She found it in a book called "O Come Ye Back to Ireland" by Niall Williams and Christine Breen. Here it is:
"What is our business here, and in the words of Thomas Merton, 'our business is life itself". Someone, as Thoreau said, must be Inspector of Snowstorms, Inspector of Sunsets...together we are Inspectors of Wildflowers, Secretaries of Sunshine, Surveyors of Meadows, Auditors of Birdsong, Clerks of Clouds, VicePresidents of Hilltops and Valleys, Bogs, Trees and everything." I have read this over several times and Jack and I will both add it to our resumes.