I must have just missed T, the woman who rents our pasture for her two mules, for I came up from the dungeon door after cleaning more of the barn. DW pointed her out, her car door ajar and the mules out on the greener grass outside of their paddocks. The mules were having a time of it, running hither and yon along the fence lines.
About the time the thought to videotape the scene finished crossing my mind I saw T's hands wave up in a manner that made me put my street shoes on and grab my walking stick. Getting those two animals back into the pasture was gonna take some doing.
T and I assessed the situation and the mules responded well to the stick. But there's a lot of open space and the decorative vinyl fence only goes a hundred feet or so, so avoiding the stick was no problem when there was so much more to explore. The dominant head faked and headed out, T doing a running "whoa" while I attempted to intimidate the other from following. No go.
DW was called in for assistance as the animals headed west down the road to the next open gate they saw. Another mule lives there and eventually their curiosity found them in a fairly confined area with a gate. Harnesses and leads were easy with the help of a little grain in a pot.
Thanks were extended, short stories of similar events exchanged, and off we went to catch our breaths and do some assessing and reassessing: No more off-lead time outside of the paddocks. The damage done to T's husband's truck was not more serious than a slightly bent rear bumper. My rear quarter panel was hammered pretty well just above the left side of my bumper, and I would have to replace my tail light.
As the women ran down the road, I ran (yes, ran) to the metal barn to fetch the leads and harnesses. I walked fast back to the truck, threw the gear in the back, fired up the rig and kicked up gravel in reverse.
T had called H, and failing to see them out on the road, he continued on to our place.
"I seen ya comin' and punched it, but I guess not enough."
There was a moment when I thought to take the truck out to the barn to get the gear. I would have too, if it didn't require opening a gate. That would have made a difference. Even the pause. Or a bit more endurance. I felt bad for not looking.
But then again, not too long ago, H had his face reconstructed. "I could tell you stories. Don't worry about it."