Archive for December, 2016

My mule stories–invitation to a tea party

Francis had an invitation to a Tea Party at a fancy hotel downtown

Can you imagine a mule going to a fancy hotel to attend a tea party given by a group of elderly ladies?  

donkey eating grass

Francis was a friendly mule who loved my dad.  His mule followed him anywhere.  Mom stayed away, but she loved him too. 

This particular story is about,  “Francis at the Tea Party”.

Dad found this wild mule in Palo Duro  Canyon near Amarillo.  It is the second biggest Canyon in the United States.   It is worth a visit. 

Francis kicked up a storm when he was put in a Horse Trailor.   Why did not dad get a Mule Trailor?    Francis would have behaved beautifully!The small Canyon in the panhandle of Texas

Dad tamed the mule and also taught him how to drink coca cola from a coke bottle.  He managed this in the lot behind his home in Canyon, Texas.

Now, Francis followed dad all the time; whenever possible. Mules are like that.   They will favor one person and will be faithful forever.

Dad would be doing some project and the mule would be right there behind dad’s back.  I guess Francis was curious.

They are usually devoted to one individual.  You can read about mules.  They are so fascinating to learn about. 

Francis’ reputation grew as a mule who behaved beautifully and it came to no surprise that some elderly ladies invited dad and Frances to a Tea Party at a certain dining room in a fancy motel downtown Amarillo.

By the way, my dad’s name was William Harry Wheeler.  He did many wonderful things in his life.    

Anyway, Dad told these ladies that he would be glad to bring Francis to the hotel to attend their “Tea Party” thinking that the publicity about Francis would not hurt the curio shop business.                                                                        

Francis’ reputation grew as a mule who behaved beautifully and it came to no surprise that some elderly ladies invited dad and Frances to a Tea Party at a certain dining room in a fancy motel downtown Amarillo.   

This image looks like the same lobby Francis went to his tea party. 

Hotel lobby of the William Penn Hotel

Here is a picture of a tea room in a fancy hotel.   It looks like the one Francis went to for his tea party.

 

an hotel tea room

Dad later repeated the story to all of us about how Francis behaved.
 Well, the hotel people led Francis across the beautiful, elegant lobby to the elevator.  Now then, Dad was getting worried.  
As you know a mule doesn’t go to a furnished bathroom, so Dad was a little afraid he would use the elevator on the trip up as a restroom.   But Francis behaved beautifully!

Well, will Francis continue to behave?

Next, they walked down a long hallway to the tea room.  Now, dad became really nervous.

So now I want you to picture a gorgeous room with many tables and balloons way up high.  It was bright and distracting.   All these ladies were dressed up to the tee.  

(pardon my pun)    The bottom picture above shows a tea room just like the tea room dad took Francis to visit these ladies.

Francis was led up by one of the ladies to the front of the tea room so that everyone would see him.                                                                                                                                                            

After the whoo’s and aha’s, the leader of the group gave a small talk while the ladies drank their tea and ate their cakes and cucumber sandwiches.   Francis was standing

next to her.

Again dad was a little more afraid Francis would use the tea room as a restroom.   Dad tried to look calm; not worried.    He was not even thinking about the possibility of

Francis biting!!

Time passed slowly for dad.  One minute was like an hour.   Sweat was dripping from his neck and pouring under his armpits

Will Francis continue to behave even more?

To ask a question and answer yes or no.

                                                                                                                                                                             Yes?      No?

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The mule story–the unexpected call

The Unexpected Call—dreaded and late

How would you react to a late unexpected call from the police

while you were asleep in bed?

 Francis is Keeping Company with the Police at 2:00 in the Morning.

It was a morning just like this.  A time for sleeping waiting for dawn.

early morning dawn

One late night late, dad received a call from the police.   They said,

Mr. Wheeler, you need to come out and take a look at your mule!!

Do calls from the police make it a polite complaint?

Dad rushed out and ran to the front of the curio shop where Francis was kept in the back.  

With only his slippers and the same pants and shirt, dad had worn earlier that night, he ran with tears in his eyes.  

That mule loved dad and followed him everywhere and this story is understandably a concern for Dad.

Do you think so too?    Find out how Dad handled the call.

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My mule stories-busload of kids

An introduction to Francis, our beautiful mule who loved drinking cokes and who entertained thousands of tourist over 50 years ago.

He is talking to you.  “Heeeee Haa.”  This is the story about the busload of kids who gave Francis one or more bottles of coca cola one day.

They were excited and ready.   Every time a kid went to the coke machine, he would loudly cry our his mule talk.  “Heeeeee-Haa.”    The ‘heeee’ tone is deep down and low in the throat.   Then the ‘ha’ tone is made abruptly and raised high in the throat.   The kids understood what Francis was saying.

Now, you may ask me what does a mule story have to do with 501 Levi jeans for men?

I would say,  my vivid memories of those days of the big 47-foot cowboy, brings a wealth

of reminders of the denim jeans that the big cowboy wore.   Many tourists touched the denim

jeans and the cowboy and put their kids on top of the shoe to take pictures.  But that memory

extends to other things my dad did which the tourist enjoyed.                                                                                                             Writer of mule stories

I wrote some stories recently that just reminded me of that day over 50 years ago.   Yep!  My mule stories.

 

 

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The big 47 foot cowboy

The big 47-foot cowboy

501 Levi ® original fit and tall & big original fit jeans for men.    The tall and big fit jeans for men describes the big cowboy! 

Levi jeans began in 1873 and in 1960, these famous Tall and big original fit jeans were made especially for the first and the only 47-foot statue of a cowboy.  That is because there are no other statues of this kind that were ever built.

Here where I live, there are several imitations, but they are a lot smaller and do not have real Levi jeans on them.

Today the reputation for the Levi name continues as did the popularity of those original fit blue jeans had earned for the cowboy.

 

W. H. Wheeler's big cowboy

A Reputation Builder!

I would like to personally thank a very dear person, Angelica Paez, who has generously allowed me to show this picture of the big cowboy with his right foot on top of the curio shop porch.   
She is the owner of this picture and is a Vintage photo collector.  I am indebted to her and am proud to display this beautiful picture of my dad’s business and the big cowboy he so dearly loved.

Who Built This Statue of a Big Cowboy?

The big tall cowboy was built by my dad, William Harry Wheeler in 1960, and wore real denim blue jeans, made by the employees of a Levi manufacturing plant nearby.
The big tall cowboy gained his vast reputation throughout the United States, because not only was he the tallest cowboy statue, but that he had the esteem, the art, the love and the recognition for wearing real Levi Strauss jeans.

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Funny stories about the big cowboy

Funny Stories About the Cowboy

There are many funny stories that was told to me or that I was present at the time.  Tourists saw the cowboy and thought he was a plane.   I was given stilts and was ready to run.  The cowboy’s shirt was made in a gymnasium, but it ended up too small.  Dad did not tell them.

I have pictures that will put a smile on your face.  Do you want a cure?  Try on a laugh.

Light and shadow brings happiness

 

laughter with a smilesome men talking and laughing

This picture is from the collection of Angelica Paez.  She bought this picture from a person in Houston.  Now Angelica is the owner. Angelica is an artist herself and does not mind her picture being posted.  It is registered, however.

This is the picture of the big cowboy and the curio shop in early 1963.  The picture brings back many memories of funny stories about the big cowboy and the special 501 original tall & big original fit jeans for men.

Francis. the mule and the big 47-foot cowboy are stories of interest and fun.

Tex Randall

 

Let me introduce myself.  I am Judy and my Dad is the one who built the 47-foot cowboy including the motel and curio shop and a 22-foot cowboy.  Dad’s name was William Harry Wheeler.  See if you can spot my dad in this picture.

Wheeler's 22-foot cowboy

My Mom’s first name was Gayneyl.   She was the businesswoman.  {dad did not care for paperwork.}

 

She also was a piano teacher and a composer.   While we lived in Canyon, she spent some time at West Texas State University–now called West Texas A&M University working as an accompanist for students in Voice Classes.

Dad knew denim 501 Levi® jeans would be the fashion of young people.   The denim western shirt was popular among cowboys.

In the 1950’s and 196o’s, there were real cowboys.   Some today only wear the cowboy outfits but have never even ridden a horse or rounded up cattle.

The curio shop called the Corral Curio Shop was just 15 miles from Amarillo, Texas.   The town was named Canyon.   We moved there in 1952.   In 1963, Dad sold the business when I was at Amarillo College.

Business was doing great.  He sold the curio shop and motel so that his youngest son would have more opportunities and recognition as a genius in the city of Amarillo rather than the small provincial town of Canyon about 15 miles from Canyon.

I am forever thankful to Levi Strauss Manufacturing Company for providing the jeans.   A tent and awning company made the typical shirt of the 1950’s.

Levi Strauss sewing manufacturing company in Amarillo made the 501 Levi® denim jeans for tall and big men.

This is the setting for the funny stories about the big cowboy.

One funny Story–The Making of the Western Shirt!

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