After reading the current response to the eagerly and much-anticipated new French sets, the newest (in a long, long, series of) thread about HaT's plastic; not to mention the numerous "I wanna" threads I am reminded of the story of Heinie the mule.
The story happened many years ago in the eastern mountains of the USA. And old farmer, born to parents of German origin had a mule he used to plow his fields. The mule's name was really "Heinrich" (I am told he was named after a favorite uncle) but the family just called him "Heinie" for short.
Well, poor Heinie was getting up in years - getting old and the farmer knew he couldn't pull the plow much longer so the old farmer was going to have to buy a new mule. As much as the farmer hated the thought, he knew he couldn't afford to keep his old faithful mule if the animal couldn't work and earn his keep so he reluctantly realized he was going to have to sell Heinie.
One day, after putting off the decision for as long as he could he realized the day had come to take Heinie into town and sell him for whatever he could get out of him and use that money with the little bit of extra money he had saved to buy a new mule.
He asked his son, a strapping young lad of sixteen if he wanted to go into town with him to sell the mule. The son agreed to go along. It was a long way into town, at least twenty miles so the pair started early in the morning to make the trip. The two walking down the road leading Heinie along behind them by a rope.
They had gone a couple miles down the road when they passed a neighbor of theirs travelling from town who bade them good morning and asked them where they were going.
"Into town," the farmer answered. "To sell Heinie."
"Well," the neighbor drawled. "That's an awful long way to walk. Why don't you take turns riding in to town?"
The farmer thought about it for a moment. Finally he nodded his head, "That's a good idea. Son, why don't you get on Heinie and ride for awhile. I'll walk."
They hadn't gone but a mile or two that way, with the father walking in front, leading Heinie, with the son on the mule's back when they passed another neighbor's house. The lady of the house was out in the front yard hanging her laundry out on a line. She saw the father, son, and mule travelling down the road with the son walking, "I'd be ashamed of myself young man, riding that mule and making my poor old father walk on a hot day like that! You should let your father ride!"
The two looked at each other and nodded their heads. The son got off the mule and his father got on Heinie's back.
This lasted another mile or so until they passed the old country church where a ladies' meeting was just breaking up. The women took one look at the sight of the farmer riding and his son walking and said, "Why, that man ought to be ashamed of himself, riding that mule and making his son walk!"
The farmer looked down, "They're right, son. Why don't you climb up on Heinie and we'll both ride?"
This worked for about three more miles. Then they passed Jones' Country Store. Mr. Jones was sitting out in front of his store as they approached, "Where you fellers going?"
"We're taking Heinie into town to sell him," the father explained.
"Well, you wont get much out of him if you break him down and wear him out with both of you riding him like that! At Heinie's age the walk alone is like to kill him."
The father and son looked at each other and realized he was right. So they both got off and picked Heinie up on their shoulders and started carrying him in to town so he'd be nice and rested when they tried to sell him.
About a few miles down the road there was a big gully, or crevass. The only bridge across the deep gorge for miles was a crude log footbridge. A single wide log spanned the deep chasm; two ropes strung across the gorge allowed travellers to hold on as they tread carefully across the worn and slippery log.
Well, the farmer and his son started across the bridge, but the log footbridge was slick, Heinie was heavy on their shoulders, and between trying to maintain their foothold and balance Heinie they bot into trouble quickly. There they were, the two men struggling to keep from falling into the gorge and keep Heinie on their shoulders. What a sight they must have been. But you know it couldn't go on forever.
In spite of their best efforts Heinie slipped off their shoulders and fell a hundred or more feet into the gorge. He landed on the rocks below and lay there still.
Now, you want to know what the moral of the story is?
IF YOU TRY TO PLEASE EVERYONE YOU'RE GOING TO LOSE YOUR HEINIE!!!
Yep, just about every time I log onto the forum these days I think of Heinie...