So. Another Mule Day has come and gone.
Two years ago today I was thinking about moving to Columbia. I got in my car and drove there to go view a house on the market downtown, not knowing that it was Mule Day. I found myself battling traffic and weaving through back streets to try to avoid the chaos. I didn’t understand the holiday, but I was intrigued by all of the beauty hidden within the streets of the city while trying to avoid the parade. A few months later, we purchased a house across the street.
A year ago today, I celebrated Mule Day as a local for the first time. I drank, ate, laughed, and sang.
A few days ago, I celebrated my second Mule Day as a citizen of Columbia, Tennessee. I cannot lie to y’all. I have learned to love Mule Day.
People ask me all the time what Mule Day is, and I never answer the same way twice. Because, it’s different for everyone. Some of you leave town for Mule Day. Some of you only go to the parade for your children’s enjoyment.
But some of us throw ourselves ass first into our community and spend the day eating, drinking, singing, and celebrating Columbia’s interesting past. We are a small but fierce group of people. We love our town and we cling to every ounce of history we can find. We recognize that the city grew and thrived once upon a time by Mules that farmed the land and pulled the wagons. I am a firm believer that it is important to remember where you come from, even when you are looking to the future. This community knows that.
I spent some time asking locals what Mule Day meant to them. I got every answer under the sun, but one story stood out to me and I have to share it with y’all. It is the age old tale of true love in a tiny southern town.
Catherine Lindsey Bolton moved here with her family in the 1930s. The Bolton family made a home for themselves in Columbia and owned several businesses at that time. In 1947, Adwell Motors held a big Mule Day square dance. During the dance a gentlemen approached Catherine. Since he wasn’t much a dancer, they spent the whole evening in conversation and that night he asked her to go out with him. They were married just a few years later when he returned from the Korean War and spent the next 50 years together until he passed. So for Catherine, Mule Day is the day she met the love of her life. That day changed her life. I can only imagine how special this time of year is to her family and I guarantee you they make the most of it. It’s funny how we find happiness in places we least expect it. Me? I met my husband at Sonic. He was a cook and I was a rollerskating car-hop. I’m sure Mrs. Bolton wasn’t expecting a handsome gentleman to sweep her off her feet at a celebration of mules.
So, you can make fun of the parade, cause we all do. You can say it’s somewhat silly, because it is. But you can’t deny that this town has a passion for Mules, a passion for history, and a passion for people. I really think it’s just like anything. You can decide to be negative or positive. You can laugh or be cranky. You can choose to love Mule Day or hate it. Me? I choose to be a part of this community,and I choose to celebrate Mule Day. I choose to be part of this town’s progress and be a part of its history. It captivates my heart and soul.
Until next time,