Late summer weirdness – Carolyn

Yesterday we had a heat index over 105 degrees. Tonight we’re down in the sixties. Go figure. Yesterday the horses were solid sweat balls. Tonight they are probably shivering. Summer in the south is always insane, but it’s too early for our usual three or four days of cool temperatures in September, before it goes back up over 105 until October.

I have horse friends who have two abodes—one in Maine where they spend the late spring, summer and early fall, and one around Orlando, Florida, where they spend the winter. I’m not certain I could get used to moving lock, stock, horse tack, carriages, and all the household things, clothing and such twice every year. One of my friends drives a fifty-foot horse trailer. She is maybe five feet three on her best day. Her husband loads her up here in Memphis or there in Florida, and goes on about his business, leaving her to drive this behemoth full of large live animals four hundred miles all by herself. I have trouble driving my two-horse trailer with one horse and one carriage. I certainly can’t back it up very well. She, on the other hand, got stuck in a fast food parking lot towing that trailer and had to back the whole rig out into the highway. She did it, too. I would have gotten out, called Triple A, and asked them to hire somebody to do it for me.

Trailers tend to be satanic anyway. A number of years ago I was part of a pit crew (never again) for a sports car driver I was dating. We were racing in Daytona—not the Nascar thingie, but a small sports car race. Miserable. The men worked on the car all weekend. The girls barely got a soda, much less a meal. On the way home on Sunday night after the race, dehydrated, hungry, sunburned and exhausted, we were driving through north Florida on a desolate and probably alligator infested highway, when suddenly the trailer with the car on it coasted right by the truck, crossed in front of us and came to rest halfway down an embankment. The tow bar had broken. My date, the driver, hopped out of the truck, ran to where the trailer was canted off the road, and forgot he’d been smoking his pipe. He stuffed it in his pocket.

Two minutes later he came hopping back to the truck in the process of yanking his jeans off and beating out the smoke and flames that were erupting out of his pocket.

He was singed, but not burned. We all spent the night and most of the next day trying to find someone to weld a new tow bar on the front of the trailer.

There is no place to party down in the back roads of Northern Florida.

Two weeks later, he called me to ask me if I wanted to spend the weekend with his crew while he drove at Watkins Glen.

I declined.



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