Saturday, March 31, 2007

A cross-cultural experience


Today I went with Rebecca and her family to Vancleave, MS, where they were having their annual Old Time Festival and Mule Pull! It was fun. The grandkids loved the pony rides and petting zoo. We ate a funnel cake and boiled peanuts...two of my favorite country things. The kids also got their faces painted.

The day reminded me of my hometown of Union, SC, where we had annual county fairs like this.

But I'd never heard of a mule pull. The video shows basically what happened. There were all these pairs of mules yoked together, see. And the mule teams would be hooked up to a sled on which huge weights were placed. Each team would drag the sled a short distance, and then more weight was added and the team would try again. Then the distance was measured and another team would be hooked up to the sled and the teams would compete with each other to see what pair of mules did the best job dragging the cart. I was totally confused (as you can tell), but the crowd in the arena seemed to know what was going on!

It was truly a cross-cultural experience. Oh, and on the way to the festival we stopped at this barbecue place called The Shed. I had a pulled pork plate, and was it good! The place looked like its name...if it didn't have a restaurant sign on it, you'd think it was an old tumbled-down store or house. But once we got our food we could see we'd come to the right place!

Rural southern Mississippi is a unique culture. In many ways I prefer it to the non-culture of Orlando. There's a lot less pretension and materialism. Everybody at the mule pull was extremely friendly and you could see that to them, this is community at its best.

4 comments:

David said...

HEY POP! Tell everyone in MS I said hello. I can't believe you went to a mule pull. Perhaps the video doesn't do it justice, but the actual mule pull looked a little boring...I'm sure the crowd made it fun.

Anyway, I wanted to tell you to read about cargo cults (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cargo_cult), one of the weirdest things I've ever heard of. I thought about you because it looked like something you could use in a paper at school...

Mike said...

David - yes, it was a bit boring for city slickers like me. But the crowd was really into it!

Jason said...

Cool, kinda reminds me of home as well. Glad the grandkids stayed on the horse!

Jill said...

A mule pull, huh?
You know, the thing is that it probably was some tradition passed on from a long time ago, when that really WAS exciting!