Unlikely reunion

We have a change of pace this month.The following is a true story of people in our own backyard of northern Chautauqua County. If you need a bit of heart warming, this could be just the right dose.

The man who told me this story is named Rick, a man who returned home from Arizona in 2004 to be near his family.

He found good wholesome work to begin anew his life back where it all started. Besides fulfilling his own responsibilities, he took on the assignment of tending to two horses and a mule that were housed at stables owned by his father Paul and his wife Sherry.

Within a few years, Rick’s father developed a neurological disease that would eventually take his life in 2010. And now tragedy has struck again as Sherry is battling cancer. This had prompted her to find good homes for her beloved animals. The story that unfolds is about one of those animals. Her name is Peggy and she’s a mule. Our story also involves the hand of God, and a lady named Leanna who needed a new halter for her horse.

Peggy is an unusually pretty mule. I never paid much attention to facial qualities of mules but I’ll take Rick’s word for it. She was acquired about 10 years ago from a farm in Gowanda and she came with registration papers. Peggy is now 21 years old which is middle-aged for a mule. There were no local buyers for her so Rick and Sherry prayed about finding her the right home outside of this area. The answer was to try and sell Peggy on Craig’s List via the internet.

Many miles away in Union City, Pa., a lady named Leanna was frustrated about her lack of a good riding horse. She had two mares that were sweet in disposition but were as wide as a couch. It was a problem for her aching hips to wrap around, so they were recently sold.

The long winter had passed and it was time for Leanna to get her riding equipment prepared for the new season. Her only mare Dotty wasn’t the most ideal horse but she would at least provide a back to ride and the companionship of a horse. She too, was pretty with a signature white star on her forehead. Leanna decided that if her dream ride wasn’t Dotty, it would be in God’s hands for him to provide. Prospects for that happening looked bleak.

Adding to her frustration was the discovery that she needed new riding equipment. Leanna went online to find an inexpensive used halter and before she could hit the search button, she saw an ad for the sale of a molly mule. (A molly is a female mule.)

She described a tingling feeling of the Holy Spirit come across her as she read the short ad. A molly for sale was tantalizing.

About 21 years ago, she had bred two mares with a large jackass and from them came two pretty mules; Pippi No Stockings and Plain Peg.

The demands of raising her young family led Leanna to sell both mules to a farm in Gowanda. And now here she was, some 20 years later, looking for used riding equipment and resisting an ad that offered a molly mule for sale.

Leanna said that a warm feeling came over her and she knew that God was telling her to click on that ad. As the photos downloaded, one came up that virtually said to her, “Here I am – I’ve been waiting for you – Come and get me.”

Could this be the yearling mule she sold back in 1992? That was just too ridiculous to even contemplate. Though it was nearly impossible, the numbers added up to that possibility. She called her husband who is a truck driver and through blubbering petitions of joy she cried into the phone, “I think I’ve found my mule Peggy on Craig’s List.”

Many, many, frantic text messages pelted down on Rick here in Fredonia about the molly he had for sale. Eventually, the twosome party of seller and buyer made arrangements for Leanna to come to Fredonia, to see if it was really Peggy in the flesh.

Leanna and her husband traveled from Union City, Pa., that very night. Rick told her he wouldn’t be available until 7:30 p.m. So, at 7:31, sitting in the Wal-mart parking lot, Leanna called Rick to get final directions to his farm.

The three met at the barn and with great anticipation, Leanna walked into the neat stable to see for herself if this could possibly be a reunion with her long lost Peggy.

There she was. Leanna described it this way. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. There she was looking over the stall toward us – bearing the same tender eyes as her mother’s – long soft ears pointing forward nickering for a snack.”

The registration papers confirmed the truth that over 20 years later, Leanna was reunited with Peggy, the molly who was born on her farm.

Overwhelmed with emotion, the tearful Leanna met with Sherry and the two shared their gratitude for the incredible workings of God to bring about this amazing resolution.

The final miracle of this reunion came about when further examination of the registration papers revealed that this meeting in the stable took place exactly on the 21st birthday of Plain Peg. The molly mule had been reunited with her original owner and was about to return home to the farm where she was born. It truly was a happy birthday.

Another unique connection in this story is that Peggy has the same white star on her forehead as the mare Dotty.

Leanna named this adventure “The Finger Prints of God,” which it truly is.

On the trip back to Union City, Leanna recalled a scripture that she believes describes this amazing homecoming. It comes from Revelation 4:11, “Thou are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”

Nin Privitera is a Fredonia resident. His column appears monthly on the second Sunday.