The Adventures of Smiley Burnett-from The Wigwam Ranch to Bugtussle TX

This is a story about Smiley Burnett, the mischievous donkey with a checkered (or some might say STRIPED) past. Smiley started his life on the Wigwam Ranch in Liberty , Oklahoma.

The ranch was owned by a real Texan who was a true "codger". His name was Herbert Andrew Burnett & he was my uncle. His ranch consisted of almost 1000 acres of some of the most beautiful country you could imagine. The entire southern side of the ranch backed up to the Red River which divides Oklahoma from Texas . Uncle Herbert was often known to say that his ranch might be IN Oklahoma but he could still SEE Texas ! How true that was…Often when we would visit & ride up onto a high hill, we could see such an incredible panorama of rolling hills, huge pecan groves, & plenty of cows. I often told my husband that I felt just like Barbara Stanwick in the old TV show "The Big Valley".

My uncle was fond of calling me up just out of the blue & saying, "Foxey", (that was my nickname since age 4-more on that later) "you live in the country now, you need some cows." Or "Foxey, you need some donkeys to go with your other critters". So, sure enough, he’d load up some cows & bring them down for me to raise. What I didn’t tell you is that I am a true "city girl". I grew up practically in the shade of downtown Dallas , near Central Expressway. So, my uncle thought it was his job to turn me into a country girl.

 But back to Smiley & friends…As it turns out I didn’t wind up with just Smiley & his mother, Jenny Lind, but 4 more donkeys: Dorothy, Toto, Herbie, & Junior . The few neighbors that we have out here in Bugtussle have donkeys as well & it seems that donkeys like to "visit". Occasionally, the donkeys would go missing & we would have to ride our four-wheeler up to our neighbor’s house & "herd" them back home. Our version of "herding" usually meant me jogging along side of the four-wheeler shaking a bucket of cubes while hollering for the donkeys, with my husband DRIVING along side! If I may use the word dumbASS - I believe it would be appropriate here, generally applying to merather than the real ones.

One morning while on my walk around our little ranch I discovered that all of the donkeys were gone…AGAIN. We assumed that they were visiting their buds in the neighborhood so we didn’t worry about it. But when we returned home from work that evening, the donkeys were nowhere to be found. My husband & I panicked. We started driving all around the countryside, covering several miles, in search of the silly donkeys…but with no luck. We couldn’t imagine what could have happened & I mentioned to my husband that maybe we should call 911! He, of course, thought I was nuts, but after much coaxing, he finally called the sheriff’s office.

 Sure enough, Smiley & friends had been BUSTED - thrown in jail - picked up by the "donkey catcher?". As our luck would have it, at 4am Smiley & friends were nabbed running down the highway heading towards Ladonia (which I should add here has the only liquor store in the county), and were picked up. We had to pay $200.00 for their release!!! Suffice it to say, Smiley has been, shall we say, rendered unable to desire other donkeys of the female persuasion, and now stays contentedly home in his own pasture; but can’t you just imagine the MUG SHOTS?