Farmer Pratt content with life

On Riverbend Road several miles southwest of Montevallo, at a time there’s not much traffic, you just might meet Jimmy Pratt riding along in a wagon pulled by two big black mules.

The mules are in no hurry, but then neither is Pratt. Slow down a little and don’t pass them too quickly; you might be lucky enough to catch the contentment these three possess.

It’s contagious.

We visited a while with Pratt a few days ago.

He left no doubt that he was extremely satisfied with his small-farm life; he fairly glowed as he told us about it.

He was born in that same community in 1938, has always lived there, and went to school in the little Riverbend school where his mother taught.

Our friend worked as a conductor with Norfolk Southern Railway for many years.

Much of that time he worked seven days a week.

Although he really liked his work, he was ready for retirement.

Now, he claims, he does whatever he wants.

The first animals he acquired after retiring were the two beautiful mules, products of his mare and a travelling jack.

They remain his favorites.

Many people think that, because of modern machinery, the mule has outlived its usefulness, but Pratt doesn’t agree.

His deep respect for their love of working and their patience is evident as he talks to them and strokes their silky coats

Besides the mules and their mother, Pratt has two other horses, a buggy pony-in-training, a garden and a few chickens.

He claims that they keep him happy and busy.

One of his most recent projects is renovating a buggy that will be pulled by the pony.

He’s working hard to get both buggy and pony ready to go because he had been trying to get a couple of friends to church and they promised to go when he could take them in the buggy.

We asked him why he chose the mules and the small-farm life when he retired.

“I don’t really know,” he said. “But I’m happy as can be. I know where I’m going, but I’m in no hurry to get there.

I’m not worried about a thing; guess I’m sorta laid back.

I have two wonderful daughters and two great grandkids. My wife, Peggy, pays the bills, buys the groceries and feeds me three meals a day; and every once in a while she says, ‘Well hey, I love you.’ That little four-letter word makes the world go round. What more could I want?”

Catherine Legg can be reached at clegg2@bellsouth.net.