(NOTE: I don’t remember where I heard this story. It may have been from my Dad. He lived through the depression and this sounds like it came from him. Enjoy).
Back during the depression, a lot of people married out of either convenience or need. Men needed feeding and somebody to help out with chores (especially on farms) and women needed shelter and protection. It was as simple as that.
Well, this one fellow had a little bit of ground that he farmed. It was such hard work and he had no family to help him. He met a young lady at church whose family had all died off in the influenza outbreak. Well, she seemed like somebody who could work and so he asked her to marry him. She on her part was grateful for the chance to have somewhere safe to live and to work so she accepted. She went out and spent her few remaining dollars on a pretty little dress to get married in. He did not have a car but he did have a wagon so he fixed it up best as he could. To top that off he went out a bought himself a new mule to pull the wagon with.
So, the wedding day come and they got married in the town church. Now, it was seven plus miles from the church to his place. He brought his fixed up wagon and new mule to carry his bride back home in. She didn’t have much in the way of worldly possessions, but what she did have, he loaded up in back of the wagon, lifted his pretty little bride up in the seat and off they went to the farm and their new home.
It was such a pretty day and they were having such a fine ride. Along about a mile or so down the road, though, that old mule of his just stopped dead in its tracks. He wouldn’t move an inch. That ole farmer looked a bit disgusted, climbed down from his seat, and walked up right in front of that mule. He reared back and slapped that mule right across his face. He looked that mule dead in his eyes and said “That’s one.” With that, he got back up in his seat with his bride, grabbed the reigns, and off that mule went heading for the farm. Well, his bride was pretty impressed with the way he handled that mule. She got to thinking she had herself a pretty good man here.
They went along another mile or so and, you know, that ole mule just flat stopped again! Not only did he stop, he sat down. Well, not to be deterred, mister farmer climbed down from his seat again, walked over right in front of that mule and slugged him right smack dab in the mouth. “That’s two,” he snarled. With that, he climbed back up, the mule stood up, and off they went.
They got within three miles of the farm when that ornery old mule stopped dead in his tracks again. Well, this old farmer swore under his breath, shook his head in complete disgust, and climbed down off his seat. Walked up right in front of this mule, pulled out his pistol and BLAM! He shot that ole mule right between the eyes! He fell over graveyard dead. “My goodness” the little bride said to herself. “How will we get home now?” When the farmer got back up in his seat, she leaned over and asked, “Sweetie, how will we get home now? I can’t walk on this dirt road in my new dress and there are all my things in the back?” Mister farmer turned towards his brand new bride, took her by both hands, and said, ”That’s one.”