Letters to My Granddaughter, No. 43

By | December 15, 2023

[December 15, 2023]  You could almost feel the bat crack when it hit the ball.  The softball popped into the infield and, in a normal game, would have been an easy out.  But the second baseman was sitting atop his donkey, stretching out his glove, missing the pop-up, and falling off his donkey.  The hometown boys sitting on the sidelines broke out in laughter.  The second baseman jumps up, gets the ball from the dirt, remounts his donkey, and throws the ball to the first baseman who missed the throw, then slowly rides his donkey to get the errant pitch.  This took three or four minutes, but the hitter, my Dad, had not yet made it to first base.  His donkey refused to move an inch.  Donkeys are known for their stubbornness, especially when forced to do something they dislike and around people they don’t know.  The small crowd was having a great time; the players were busy controlling their donkeys, and the donkeys were hee-hawing and trying to wander away to the sidelines for their apple treats.  This game was Donkey Softball.

Young men in our small town had organized a donkey softball tournament to raise awareness for our church.  These donkey ball games were popular in the Deep South before World War II, so this game was a bit of a throwback.  The whole town turned out to see the upcoming shenanigans.  I remember walking up to the area where spectators were allowed.  A bird flew overhead and pooped on my Mom’s hair.  She was a real trooper and didn’t freak out like some women would have done.  We walked to the sidelines to get a seat on the “benches” made of railroad ties set on concrete blocks.  When you sat down, you had to be careful about getting tar on your pants or sitting on a toad.  I ran around picking up toads and chasing girls, yelling, “ribbit, ribbit.”  I laughed so hard my friend Jerry thought I was go

The game occurred on our town’s only ballfield and on a late summer Saturday afternoon, so it was hot, humid, and buggy.  One would have thought God had brought one of his Egyptian plagues to us; toads had captured the playing area, and it took about an hour to run most of them off.  The game got underway with my Dad first in the batter’s box.  The game was getting exciting and funny as we all cheered for the home team and our dads.  None of us had played such a game before, and that presented several challenges that needed addressing.  Each team member had to get personally acquainted with “their” donkey.  If a donkey likes you, they are more likely to obey.  Otherwise, they revert to their natural stubbornness, and they could bite.  And all the ball players needed time to figure out the best method of staying upright; there were no saddles, only reigns.

One young man from our town was thrown off his donkey.  A big crowd gathered.  Dr. Coats, who lived at the end of town, checked him out, but nothing was broken, just a strained back.  The game continued.  After some time, my Dad made it to first base and was one of the few to get that far.  The toads returned, the sun went down, and the donkeys were restless.  After one complete inning, three hours later, someone called the game a draw.  The final score was 0 to 0.  My Dad was voted best player, and we all laughed at his small honor.  I spent most of my time yakking with friends, chasing toads, and finding dung beetles, and toward the end of the game, I got to hold the reins of four donkeys.  I thought I was important because of the small responsibility I’d been given.  I was beginning to learn the value of responsibility.  That’s how I learned about the good life and donkeys.


Please read my books:

  1. “55 Rules for a Good Life,” on Amazon (link here).
  2. “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” on Amazon (link here).
Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I provide one article every day. My writings are influenced by great thinkers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Jung, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Jean Piaget, Erich Neumann, and Jordan Peterson, whose insight and brilliance have gotten millions worldwide to think about improving ourselves. Thank you for reading my blog.

35 thoughts on “Letters to My Granddaughter, No. 43

  1. Spiffy

    Sir, spiffy letter to your granddaughter.
    Merry Christmas!!

  2. Wendy Holmes

    Another wonderful letter to “my granddaughter” to read. Gen. Satterfield, you have encouraged me to do the same.

  3. Eddie Gilliam

    Excellent article my friend. We had donkey basketball 🏀 games at my high school several times during my high school years. I love the energy and entertainment of the event. You was correct about the stubbornness of the donkey 🫏. The score was low due to the riders had a problem with the donkey.
    Life lessons are people sometimes are like donkey with a stubborn attitude. You can’t replace me; you can’t tell me how to do my job; you can’t this; you can’t that.
    As a leader in the military I was faced with this problem on occasions. However I used task and diplomacy to get the person to turned out to be a team player.

    1. MrJohn

      Well said sir. You sure know how to make this easy to understand and I am happy that you are a friend of Gen. Satterfield. You add a religious dimension that is wonderful to read.

    1. Shawn C. Stolarz

      old warrior, you made my day, so thx.

  4. Desert Cactus

    Don’t ya just love these letters to Gen. Satterfield’s granddaughter. I know that some guys will think they are too “mushy” but what is often hidden deep in them are the roots of Gen. Satterfield’s transition from a lanky, shy kid to an American hero and Army General. That in itself is miraculous.

    1. Pooch T.

      Tony Kubek, Upon his retirement as a Major League baseball player, Kubek became a commentator on NBC’s Saturday Game of the Week telecasts, teaming with play-by-play announcer Jim Simpson on the network’s backup games from 1966 to 1968 and then joining Curt Gowdy to form the lead crew in 1969. He spent 24 years at NBC, teaming with such announcers as Simpson, Gowdy (whom Kubek later called his favorite partner), Joe Garagiola, and Bob Costas. Kubek could be considered baseball’s first network baseball analyst as contrasted with a color commentator, similar to Tim McCarver and Jim Kaat later.

  5. Dead Pool Guy

    “I thought I was important because of the small responsibility I’d been given. I was beginning to learn the value of responsibility. That’s how I learned about the good life and donkeys.” – Gen. Satterfield.

  6. Pastor John

    FINAL SCORE 0 to 0. 🧢⚾ Exciting? No winner, no loser. But a good game nonetheless. Players, spectators, donkeys and all had a great time, I’m sure. Now, did the men of the church accomplish what they wanted? I think so, even if Gen. Satterfield did not address it. The “whole town turned out.” Now yes I think they accomplished their goal. Use what you can to spread the word of God. 🙏

  7. Greek Senator

    I wonder when this series will end … hint, I hope never … I’m learning so much that even my wife Matilda is reading this blog now. And she can’t wait until the next letter installment. She reads these letters as entertainment, but I read them as a lesson in becoming a man. That is, I think, what Gen. Satterfield intends with these letters, and YES, entertainment is part of that. The entertainment is what attracts and holds our attention but the content keeps us learning.

    1. Doc Blackshear

      Good thing Gen. Satterfield recognized the Dr. Coats. I’m surprised his town even had a doctor but his description.

      1. Ron C.

        Indeed, it takes many skills to hold a town together and the religious community is one of the keys.

  8. Max Foster

    And so begins another chapter in the life of Gen. Satterfield as a little boy. He is doing boy things and running around like a kid who is free and wild (to a degree). But it is from this freedom that Gen. Satterfield learns about how to act as an adult. I hope he writes about what he wants to be — in the Army — and more about that decision. My favorite part of this article is the beginning, “You could almost feel the bat crack when it hit the ball. The softball popped into the infield and, in a normal game, would have been an easy out. But the second baseman was sitting atop his donkey, stretching out his glove, missing the pop-up, and falling off his donkey. The hometown boys sitting on the sidelines broke out in laughter. ” – Gen. Doug Satterfield

    1. Fred Weber

      Max, I agree with our assessment. And I too love these letters. They give me an idea about writing letters to my children so when they are older, they have something to read and to better understand me and their mother, and how I met her.

      1. Scotty Bush

        I wish you well on this Fred. It takes a lot of time, but worth it in the end. ✔

  9. Otto Z. Zuckermann

    Wow, loving this series, Gen. Satterfield, BTW, I finally finished your book “55 rules for a good life.” Best book I’ve read this decade. Keep your books coming. I’m startinng to think you are some kind of hidden philosopher.

  10. Doug Smith

    “One young man from our town was thrown off his donkey. A big crowd gathered.” – yep, no surprise there.

  11. Frank Graham

    My My My, finally, we get another letter to ‘my granddaughter.’ EXCELLENT! Never miss one of these letters that Gen. Satterfield is writing to his oldest grandkid, a granddaughter.

      1. American Girl

        Yes, IS, massive is true but also we want to say that this series is becoming more than we think Gen. Satterfield might have imagined. He is giving us a look inside his head and are finding that, as a boy, Gen. S. is just like other boys but, and this is a big but, he seems motivated to do things that most kids today would reject; like going hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, working jobs, and all before he was even a teenager. Great job, Gen. Satterfield. I look forward to more of these letters to ‘my granddaughter.’

      2. The Kid

        Yes, Frank and Savant, I hope to read many more of these. ❤ Loving them all.


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