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Striped Memories
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Striped Memories

I have a good friend who lives in southern British Columbia. Now, this friend of mine is quite partial to exotic tales, no matter how ridiculous they may sound. In this case, it's about the donkey she once owned when we were nothing but eleven years old.

Believe me, I know about breeding zebras and horses. The zorse is quite the genetic surprise, but this was no zeedonk; she had a donkey with a thick dun marking, nothing more. But she fully believed that he was more special, that his heritage was that of an exotic animal from a continent she'd never been to. I expressed confusion at first but came to decide to let her live that fantasy. It wasn't harmful.

Zed, as she's Canadian and thus named her donkey so, rather than Zee, was quite a handful. Whenever I'd sleep over at her place, we'd spend the night in a small camper trailer on her property, talking away all night. The donkey liked to use the trailer as a scratching post in the morning... and that was quite a wake-up call! He wasn't all that friendly, unless you had his dinner, and never made for a great pet. But he was loved, and his owners thought that he was special.

So that made him special to me, too.

I spent a week alone with him, watching the place when they went on vacation. Just me and the Zee... Zed. He managed to break his stall door twice in that timeframe, and I'll never forget the look on his face as he stared at me before taking off over the hills as if he knew that I knew he wasn't a real zeedonk. And when I found him hours later, covered in muck up to his shoulders, he'd just bray at me as if to laugh.

Years later, I asked about him. "How's your zeedink doing?" I inquired, using a silly playful term we had come up with for him many years before. Apparently, he's old and acting every bit the grumpy old man he was destined to be. I'm still not sure if they think he's truly part zebra, but in my heart he sure is!

 

Photo by Neal Wellons.

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