Kindly Farmer Puckett has always hauled a wagonload of fireworks to the town's Independence Day Social. His no-nonsense wife has always worn her holiday hat. But the year the farmer acquires a hu-mon-gous new mule to do the hauling, all traditions are out the window. Jake Johnson arrives on the farm, sits -- and stays seated. He hollers for food, but otherwise comes to resemble "a big, hairy rock." No enticement works to budge him: not pitchfork prods, not horn honks, not even extra rations. As July Fourth nears, Mrs. Puckett steams, "There's just one thing we haven't tried." But Jake Johnson has the last, braying word as, tall-tale-true, that one thing sparks the "best lit-up Independence Day Social there ever was."