Saturday, December 13, 2008

Always the Bridesmaid, never the Bride….

It was an auspicious start of the day when I encountered the snow storm on Highway 18 early this morning and was able to drive through it without sliding into a ditch. I can’t drive in the snow very well but luckily I had my Dodge RAM 2500 and 4 wheel drive. I can whip it into 4 wheel drive pretty quick now and as soon as I saw the snow storm, I put into 4 wheel drive and slowed down. The two lanes were down to one lane and the road was hardly visible since the snow was coming down fast and thick. I could only see about 50 feet in front of me and kept a close eye on the tail lights in front of me. The person behind me didn’t allow me that courtesy and was on my tailgate of my truck as we came down off the mountain. Perhaps a course in “How not to tailgate” would have been in order for this guy?

There was a tree on the highway and I eased my truck around it and kept going down the hill. I then saw, a bunch of tail lights on the Highway and they were not moving. So I slowed down my truck to a crawl. There were several cars stopped and a tree covering the road and it was blocked. Two men quickly got an axe out and began to chop down the tree. I slowed down to a stop. The guy behind me did not stop or pay attention as he ran into my hitch. Sigh. I didn’t get out as it was dumping snow and other cars were sliding around. I am sure his car got a dent in the hood. My truck was fine. It didn’t even move as his car hit mine.

The two guys made short work of the tree and dragged it off and we all continued on our journey. Everyone, including Mr. Tailgater kept a respectable distance away. We all inched along and when we got to the lower elevations and there was no snow. I shifted out of 4 wheel drive and cranked the Country Western Station a notch louder. Mr. Tailgater whipped past me only to get slowed down by the traffic jam in front of me. There is justice after all.

The girls were unfazed by the recent happenings and in fact, were fast asleep. So much for my co pilots. I called Sue MacDonald to let her know that I would be late due to the snow and as it turned out, the judge was delayed due to a ferry closure. The rest of the trip was fine aside from a few scattered rain showers.

I arrived and found out that close to 50% of handlers had pulled due to the weather. Our Open class shrank from 21 to 13 dogs. I was second on deck but the first handler had bailed so I was first on deck. We had yearling and this years Barbados lambs to run at this trial. They have never been worked in a big field and worked hardly by Border Collies. They were fresh and extremely light.

“Ain’t Got NO Brakes, Tess” was on deck. She had a nice outrun and walked slow on the sheep and lost 7 points. She brought the sheep hard and offline and the first leg she had to be way off the sheep and lost 12 points on her fetch. She finally got the sheep settled on the cross drive and lost 9 points. I had the sheep lined up in the pen but they kept wanting to snuggle next to me. We finally timed out at the pen. Tess was a muscle dog today.

Later it was Nan’s turn. She is fast and can spook then sheep with her moves. I sent her away and she bolted up the hill at breakneck speed. She can in nice behind them and I gave her a hard down. I learned from my lesson with Tess to stop the dog at the top and let the sheep flow and then keep the dog off them. Nan took the down and slowed down on the fetch when I asked her. She only lost 4 points on her outrun, lift and fetch. I kept her slow on the drive and tried to make her flanks square. She had one stall at the cross drive and she lost 6 points on her drive. She had a wonderful, thoughtful pen and didn’t lose a point. As we were going into the shedding ring, we ran out of time. Her final score was 80 points and other runs were close to her run. No one got a shed today. After it was all over, Nan got FIRST PLACE.

So up to this point she has always been a bridesmaid but never a bride….well, today she was the bride. And a very happy bride too!!

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