And Boys On The Side

My Easter weekend visiting my good friend, Lisa, in Lexington didn’t start out so well. Friday was full of tornadoes, storms, wind, rain….and holiday traffic. Though not crucified, I was definitely persecuted. :) At one point in my quest to avoid wrecks, I found myself passing a sign that said “265 END” and making a U-turn at another sign that read, “No bridge to Kentucky” in Utica, Indiana. Thank God it was daylight, because I could definitely have missed the signs and ended up in the river. Biblical, right?

Anyway, the five-hour trip for a three-hour destination aside, it couldn’t have been more fun. I miss having a gal friend to chat with and laugh with and make fun of boys with. And Lisa was the perfect antidote for all three.

I met Annie (I still just want to throw a big ol’ red ball to her) and Austin (who I wanted to take home despite not liking cats at all), got a tour of her cute home, and went to dinner at Ramsey’s for a nice meal and a catch-up.

Saturday morning, we spent some time shopping in Joseph Beth Books and then met up with a couple of friends of Lisa’s at the Bronte Bistro for lunch. Then, off to the Three Chimneys Farm for a tour and a close-up visit with Big Brown, the winner of last year’s Derby and Smarty Jones, winner of a past Derby, I believe.

Apparently, after horses win races and become famous, they retire and breed. Nice life if you can get it. I should clarify, because between breeding, there’s some modeling involved. Big Brown spent a lot of the time prancing and sprinting and posing for the cameras. And I mean exactly that. He would see someone pull out a camera and he’d stop and turn his head to this side and that. If we walked away too soon, he’d run ahead of us and pose so we wouldn’t forget to take more pictures as we left him.

While walking the farm, we saw a horse cemetery, Seattle Slew’s statue and tombstone and, of course, rolling hill after rolling hill. Gorgeous. I don’t know the last time I’ve spent or enjoyed so much time in nature. I’ve only walked in grass the last few years when I’m either walking the dog or mowing it. Note to self: walk in grass more.

The walking paths were all cushiony for the horsies’ feet, too. Poor things, they’re so mistreated. Well, this does bring one to the breeding barn. And the mares. And the boots, the KY jelly, the lip twitches, the sticks, the balancing supplies. Oh my. At least they get a teaser and a semblance of a bath beforehand. The highlights for the female persuasion in any species, I suppose.

The sweetest little country man named Sage (I think?) tried to explain the breeding process with a straight face. I kept one eye on him the entire time, because the mounting pressure was visible in his little round, red cheeks, lingering glances to the ground, and shuffling of his feet, and he was just too cute not to bother. I know he breathed a sigh of relief when he had no takers on watching the deed get done. (Yes, horse porn was part of the $5 tour!)

Then, we visited The Horse Park, which is in the midst of preparing for the 2010 World Equestrian Games (a first in this country, I learned ), and then made a decision to brave the crowd at Keeneland where we met up with bistro friends and an out-of-town uncle and friend. Where’s Karen? Oh, she’s with people at the race today. If you had told me this ten years ago, I wouldn’t have believed a word of it. But what an experience! The collection of horses busting through the finish line is definitely something to see. Not to mention the ladies all dressed up in sundresses (it was 50 degrees, but never mind) and stilettos and the men in pastel seersucker and corduroy suits. And the sheer money of it all.

The boys with us couldn’t have been lovelier. Nice, polite, funny, considerate breaths of fresh air. And the added bonus of some timely ego entertainment. Someone has to know everything, after all, and thank God, ‘cause where would we be?

Next we went to a friend’s barn for feeding of the goats duty. Albert, Rachel and I can’t remember the other one’s name. Their favorite treats are Wheat Thins – whose isn’t? It was evening and we (Lisa, that is, I just watched ) had to close the barn, which is something I’ve seen on The Andy Griffith Show when Jubil Foster closes his barn still for the day, but never in real life.

Sunday was another nice, lingering chat, sushi for Easter lunch, and a sunny, clear, and uneventful ride home.

I’m so happy for the trip and had such a nice time and visit with a great friend, but I must admit that I'm especially proud of how well-behaved I was around people and, even more so, all the boys. I’m not used to so much interaction, but I think I did very well - for a middle-aged curmudgeon, that is – which gives me hope for my more fun side on the other side of menopause.

It’s Wednesday now, and I’m still re-adjusting. Returning to Indiana after a wonderful trip away is, I imagine, a lot like re-entering the atmosphere from space for an astronaut. A little ear-popping, returned weightiness and a whole lot of melancholy for happier and more exciting times.