Back at the ranch, Geema hopped out of the truck, then raised the hood and
looked at the engine. “This old truck needs to visit a mechanic. Wasn’t sure this
piece of junk would get us home. On that steep grade, I think that loud backfire
blew the muffler off. Must of scared the daylights out of our jenny. Poor thing.”
Geema slammed the hood down and was wiping her hands on the seat of her
jeans when Mom, Betz, and Polly came outside. Stiff-eared and alert, Tiny trailed
The burro had kicked and stomped on the curvy road home, but now that we had
parked, no sound came from inside the trailer. “Sounds like she’s settled down.
Let’s unload her,” Geema said. “Stand back, everyone. We’re going to unload the
burro. Tim-Tom, get behind me while I open the trailer door.”
Curious, Gumbo heard the ruckus and ambled out of the barn and watched as
Geema cracked open the door. I peeked around her shoulder and could see that
somehow the jenny had twisted around. Instead of a burro rump, wild eyes peered
out. Then, before Geema could slam the door shut, wham-bam, it flew wide open
and the jenny busted out, snorting.
“Watch out!” Geema yelled, and jumped back.
Without a thought, as the burro rushed past me, I reacted like I was catching a line
drive and grabbed the lead rope. When I grasped it, my feet got tangled, and I
was slammed to the ground. In her panicked stampede, the burro dragged me,
and I struggled to hold my head up so my face wouldn’t be pulverized in the dirt.
My elbows felt like they were being jerked out of their sockets. My grip loosened
and the rope slid through my hands. Just in time, I rolled out of the way so she
couldn’t kick my brains out.
With the lead rope still hooked to the halter and dragging in the dirt, scared and
confused, the burro galloped to Gumbo. He stretched his neck over the corral
gate, grumbled a greeting, and she squished against the gate to be near the
safety of the old horse.
“Yippity, yip, yippity, yip, yip.”
“Shut up, Tiny!” Geema yelled.
Betz snatched Tiny into her arms and tried to shut the mutt up while Mom rushed
to me. My legs felt like shaky twigs when she helped me off the ground. My wrists
and hands throbbed like I had caught a hundred-mile-an-hour fastball without a
“Stupid! Stupid animal! Geema, I thought you said burros were easy to train!” My
hands trembled as I inspected my raw, cherry-red palms. “That idiot burro scalped
my hands!” I spit the grit out of my mouth and blew on my hands to make the sting
go away. For sure, that halter hadn’t brought me any good luck.
Mom hovered, checking my wounds. “Oh my, those rope burns are nasty. You’ve
skinned your elbow, too. When we go in the house, I’ll put some ointment on those
raw spots. It’ll make them feel better.”
“Lucky that burro likes Gumbo,” Geema said. “She might have run into the
mountains so far we’d never find her again.”
Too bad she didn’t run away. I wished she had. I wouldn’t miss her.
“Tim-Tom, can you halter Gumbo, and I’ll open his gate and see if she’ll go in.”
So I wouldn’t scare the burro, I went into the barn and then through the stall into
the corral. With sore, cramped fingers, I haltered Gumbo and tied him. Geema
carefully sneaked open the gate, and everyone, including Tiny, watched to see if
the burro would go in.
Gumbo nickered. The burro seemed unsure, but cautiously stepped through the
opening. I slipped behind her and slammed the gate shut. “There, silly burro. Now
what are you going to do?”
“The burro is too upset to let us near her,” Geema said. “We’ll have to leave that
lead rope on. If she steps on it, she won’t like it, but she’ll learn to respect the
Betz gazed through the fence rails. “You’ve picked a beautiful burro. With that
perfect black stripe, belly spot, and star, she is elegant.”
“She is darling,” Polly agreed. “What should we name her?”
“‘Stupid’ is a perfect name. She’s stupid. Look at my hands.” I held my scraped
palms up for everyone to see.
“Maybe we should name her Matilda Too,” Betz said.
Before Polly agreed, Geema said, “Pop always said, ‘Being around a donkey is
the best remedy for whatever ails ya.’ I think Remedy would be a good name for
Mom and my sisters laughed.
“It’s a great name,” Polly said.
They were wrong. The name “Stupid” was better.
Everything in thirteen-year-old Tim McGrew’s life stinks. It was
bad enough his dad left, but even worse, he must move to his
grandparent’s remote ranch on Nowhere Mountain, leave his
friends and school behind, and give up playing baseball.
He loves his whacky grandma and enjoyed summer visits at the
ranch backpacking and horseback riding with his grandpa. But
now Grandpa is dead. And Tim and his dog, Tiny, are the only
males in a house full of women. To top off his problems,
Grandma adopts a wild burro from the Bureau of Land
Management and expects him to train it.
Tim hopes it’s true that Grandpa’s ghostly vibes still linger
around the ranch because he needs help taming the long-eared
donkey with a noisy bray, and even more important, needs
advice on how to get his parents back together.
"This book would make a great addition to
school libraries and classrooms to help
students deal with their own situations in life,
perhaps, and also to introduce them to
methods of training a burro to ride and pull a
cart. I wouldn't be surprised if young readers
discovered they like burros, too." -Beverly
Stowe McClure "Author"
"This is a wonderful book. It's a fun short read.
I finished it it two hours. Perfect for pre-teens, it
has a lot to offer adults as well. I really enjoyed
reading the sections in the burro's point of view.
Miss Porter certainly knows her way around a
farm and her knowledge concerning burros
shines through in Remedy." -Barbara M.
"Great story of a boy dealing with the loss from
his parents' divorce and of change. Well written
and keeps the reader involved. The farm and
animal life was very enjoyable and informative
to a city girl such as myself." -annoyed reviewer
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