By Marcia Stuermer
Clarissa was a town burro from Murphy’s, an historic Gold Country town who died earlier this year. She was 27. She was an affectionate and wildly loved animal- the result of a University of CA program that rounded up feral burros in Death Valley and adopted them out.
No one could visit the town without paying a visit, usually with a treat. After her death, her shed was turned into a giant memorial of flowers, notes and other gifts. Often townspeople paying their respects could not hold back tears. The town of Murphy's will hold a tribute in her honor on August 6th. It is rumored that they might even erect a statue in her name. It’s yet to be determined if the town will adopt another burro to hold court.
Let me tell you, I have never heard such a sound as the earth-shaking braying that would come from a delighted Clarissa when she was aware that someone had brought her food! I hope that sound will continue to echo on that corner of Murphy’s Main Street for many years to come.
Note: Marcia Stuermer also created this piece for our first exhibit, "Looking for Loci".