Monday, June 30, 2008

Close only counts in Horseshoes, Hand Grenades, and Narrow Escapes of Death in Richmond

My life is full of adventures and tales of glory - fighting the good fight, taking on the enemy, risking it all for knowledge of standing on the side of righteousness. And then there is the portion of my life I like to refer to as 'dumb luck' or this week as '#7 of my 9 lives' -- or to put it plainly, 'Kate Goes to Richmond and Tries to Stay Alive.'

Somehow each time I make the trek a mere 90 miles south, I enter the CZ - the Catastrophe Zone. Once there was the mystery monster flying bug in the bathroom that waited until you otherwise occupied to jump out and help nature along by literally scaring the crap out of you. Next time, while out on a Zombie walk, I was attacked by a giant (I think) flesh eating spider (or at least one with a wicked bite), had my arm swell up and ended up with a fever. I almost died, I swear. And then there was the time we were racing to catch a 6 am train and....oh wait, I didn't die...but someone almost did. (Hi Jen!)

Life with Jen is never boring - there's the endless adventures of hikes around Belle Isle, the never ending search for lost keys, wild exploits in parallel parking, and always going where ever the wind takes us - I always have a fan-damn-tastic time in the south with her. This past weekend, however, was nearly my last.

Jen needed to have her oil changed (and needed a good excuse to drive the other car that has A/C during the hot hot weather) and asked if I'd mind following her to the shop in one of the cars. I lept at the chance to drive a car! oooooh emmmmmm geeeee! A Car! And I was secretly hoping we could take the long way to the shop so I could spend just a few more minutes behind the wheel. Without even having to ask, Jen read my mind. But we didn't just take a spin around the block....ooooooh no, we took a trip down Old Gun Road.

Old Gun Road is a back road at its best. I'm sure the speed limit is about 15 miles an hour, but with all the curves and dips and turns and ups and downs, you really can't appreciate it going less than 40. And appreciate it we did. I was doing a pretty good job in my car keeping up with the Lead Foot Leader when we started up an incline. A poor sap on a bike training for the Tour De Richmond was huffing and puffing up the hill when Jen zoomzoomed around him and took off. I, naturally did the same, as safely as I could when I looked ahead of me and saw a Jeep. Coming towards me. And I swear to God, accelerating towards me. The biker was next to me and I thought I had enough time to increase my speed just a bit more and squeak in. barely. I was so focused on a) not pushing the biker down the 4 foot drop off the side of the road and b) not hitting the Jeep head on in a car that didn't belong to me, that I missed Jen seeing my life flash before her eyes. After I very expertly (and almost too late) maneuvered back into my lane, Jen called and texted me to let me know we were done with this little road trip. Apparently killing your house guest is against southern custom.

Sunday night, with not a whole lot to do, Jen decided to take me to her happy place. It's a lovely farm about 20 minutes from her house with lots of horses, donkeys, llamas, and the lone pig (who looked more tasty than friendly). We thought we'd take Jen's horse, Topper, and the other, very gentle and mild mannered and well trained horse, Snoopy, could be my trusty stead for the night. Walking down toward the pasture, Jen pointed out her adopted horse and at the exact moment we watched her mild mannered boy bite the horse next door. Hard. Hmmmm...he might not be the one to ride today. Ok, instead we decide to say hey to Snoopy and maybe just ride him around the indoor ring for a little while instead. Harmless, docile little Snoopy. Jen gave me the leader line as we walked towards the ring while she carried the tack. She tied him up to a 12 foot section of heavy metal fencing in a easy release knot and said "now, if anything happens and I'm not here, just pull this end of the rope to let him go." But why would I need to know that? He's so sweet and gentle!

I went to work, brushing him down, prepping him for his saddle. I finished one side and moved to the other while telling him just how handsome he is and he's not so scary even though he's fricken huge... Next, I don't know what happened but something spooked him.

Snoopy reared up a foot from me and started thrashing around. There was no grabbing the rope - I was getting the heck outta dodge. The moment I turned around to get back, he dislodged the entire piece of fencing and hurled it around, still attached to his bridle, right behind my back close enough for me to feel the breeze. Still bucking and thrashing, he turned and took off for the pasture. About 30 feet into his escape, the leader line broke, dropping the fence just outside the building entrance, with the quick release knot still firmly in place. He didn't run far and seemed to be completely calmed down. Jen grabbed a fist full of grass, offered it up as a peace offering and grabbed a hold of his bridal to lead him calmly back to his pasture.

There would be no riding today.

Thank heavens no one was hurt - even Snoopy with his wild outburst of gentility didn't have so much as a scratch to show for the tantrum. An hour later or so, after my heart had returned to a more steady and less frantic pace, and realized I'd dodged death or at least a severe maiming a second time in two days, I wondered if it was really worth it to put my life on the line to spend time with Jen. That's an easy question - of course it's worth it - but next time I head down for a weekend, I think I'll wear a helmet.


Dylan Craig said...

Ha! Kate, you write an awesome blog. I'm glad to see the suntanned beef wasn't one of your narrow escapes from death that weekend.

Klue said...


Pun intended. Hahaha.

Young and Confused said...

I knew those were Jen's shoes. Also, you know, you don't have to lack complete morality to feel a little evil at times!