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Raffle Tickets

In the rural south, occasionally you will find an older gentleman who still uses a mule to make a garden. Until he was 72, my father used one and contended that if you knew what you were doing with a good mule, you never needed a hoe for the grass. Well, there was this old man who had been using a mule for years and it finally died on him. Seeing as he really needed a large garden to hold down food costs, he made a trip to see the mule dealer. Admittedly, they are rare, but they still exist.

At the dealer's place he was surprised at how much prices for mules had increased in the last 20 years - mules live a long time. After examining the available stock and the leanness of his wallet (he only had $125), he concluded he would have to settle for a mule almost as old as himself. After extensive haggling with the dealer, they settled on a price, the old man made arrangements to return the next day with a horse trailer to pick up his purchase, and the dealer agreed to keep it overnight for him.

Early the next day, the old man returned to be faced with some bad news. "Jim," said the mule dealer, "that old mule died last night. I'm real sorry to have to tell you this. I know you were counting on it for your spring garden."

Jim replied, "Well bad luck is bad luck, you really can't do anything about it. Where's the mule now?"

"Oh, he's out back, I was just getting out the backhoe to bury him. Hold on a minute while I get your money for you."

"No, that wouldn't be right, I bought it, you were just holding him as a favour, it's my loss, not yours. But, if you will help me load him in the truck, I'll see if I can recover a little for him at the dog food plant."

Well, Jim loads up the mule and drives off. A couple of months later the mule dealer happens to drive by Jim's place and is astonished to see Jim working his garden on a NEW $4,000 garden tractor. Leaning on the pickup horn, he calls Jim over and asks him how in the world he managed such a piece of equipment when a couple of months before all he had was $125 for a mule and the mule had died on him.

"Well," Jim explains, "after leaving with the mule, I had this idea and I stopped off at the local print shop and had 2,500 $2 raffle tickets printed up. Grand prize...Gardening Equipment. Then I sold all the raffle tickets to people around town."

"Yeah, but where did you get the gardening equipment?"

"From you."

"No, I mean the equipment you had as the raffle prize."

"Like I said, I got it from you."

"Man, all you got from me was a dead mule."

"I know. That's what I raffled off."

"My Goodness, Jim! You raffled off a dead mule?! I'll bet it really made a lot of people mad when they found out about it."

"Naw, not really. The only one really ticked off was the winner, and I gave him his money back."