One afternoon in the early 1960s, my partner Whizz and I were dispatched to Hardy Avenue to see a woman about a horse in her house. I looked at Whizz and asked, “Do you know anything about horses?”
He shook his head and said, “I know they have four legs and people ride them.”
“Well, partner, one of us will have to learn and I don’t have any idea which one.”
“I am driving,” Whizz said. “You will have to corral the horse while I find out what happened.”
I smiled, thinking, he beat me again. I will get him the next time. A group of people were at a store at the corner of Myrtle and Hardy Avenue as we pulled in. Some people pointed to the first house on the left. Whizz pulled the patrol car in front of the house and we got out. A woman came running out onto the porch shouting, “He is in the back.”
I went around back and Whizz went inside to take a report.
I stopped and stared at the culprit. He was calmly eating grass and quite peaceful. He stood about three feet tall and was small in stature. What to call him, I am not sure, for I have heard them called jackass, donkey and burro. Which one I was looking at, I had no idea.
He had a rope around his neck and that gave me an idea. He paid no attention to me as I approached. I moved close enough to get the end of the rope. I pulled the rope around a metal post that was driven into the ground and began to draw him in. He came as gentle as a lamb. When in close enough I again tied the rope to the metal post. I was not taking any chance of him getting loose. I went in the house to check on the Whizz.
Whizz was standing on the front porch while the woman was shouting loud enough to be heard blocks away. I could see that the Whizz had took about as much of the shouting as he could. He looked at me and shook his head.
“Can you quiet her down?” he asked. I walked over to where she was and she shouted, “Look at what that horse has done to my house!”
I looked into a hallway that led into the house. The hallway was full of curio cabinets that were all turned over. Glass was everywhere. Some of the cabinets had glass doors that had been broken. Old style lamps that had been sitting on the cabinets lay on the floor broken into small pieces.
Then I got a whiff of something that didn’t smell so good.
“Whew,” I said backing out on the porch. The little donkey, jackass or burro, whatever he was, had used the hallway to leave his manure. It was all over the floor as if it had been placed there neatly by hand.
I waved at the Whizz saying, “I am going to try to see if anyone knows who the little animal belongs to.”
There were several men sitting in chairs by the store, I walked over to them and asked if anyone knew where the animal belonged. They shook their heads saying “no.” A small skinny boy came up on a bicycle and asked, “What’s the matter mister?”
I asked if he knew who the animal belonged to, pointing to where he was tied up.
The skinny boy answered, “Mister Police, he belong to old man Herman who lives down on Cotton Avenue. Want me go get him for you?” he asked.
“Yes, go tell him to come get his jackass, donkey or burro. Tell him if he don’t come and get him I will have him impounded and he will have to pay a fine to get him back.”
I watched as he rode away on his bicycle, at a speed that was unbelievable. Whizz finished with the woman and came out to where I was. I told him that I had sent word to the owner to come get his animal. In a few minutes I saw the boy on the bicycle coming up the street.
He came in smiling and saying, “Mister Police, I told him what you said.”
“Good,” I said, “What’s your name?”
“My name is Willie, sir,” he answered. I saw a truck coming so I said, “Come on Willie, let us get something cold to drink.” We went into the store where they had a tub of ice with drinks in it. I got Willie one and one for my partner and then went back to where they were loading up the animal.
We got in the patrol car and headed down Hardy Avenue. The Whizz started to laugh.
“What’s so funny” I asked.
“Herman was mad at you for what you told the boy to tell him,” Whizz answered. In those day we didn’t have air in the car so we rode with the windows down.
“What did he tell him?” I asked, turning up the drink and taking a big swallow.
“The boy told him, you said for him to get his donkey ass up there and get his animal or you would put him in the pound and he would have to pay a fine to get out.”
Coke went everywhere.
“He said what?” I finally asked, after getting the Coke out of my nose and off of my clothes, I had Whizz pull over and let me get out.
I started to laugh. “What’s funny?” he asked. I told him and he began to laugh. We both wondered what Herman thought when Willie delivered my message to him.