Monday, March 11, 2013

Coffee, By the Ocean

We had a pretty fabulous weekend.  On the last day of my husband and son's California golf trip, my son made a hole-in-one.  According to Golf Magazine, the odds of an amateur player making a hole-in-one are 12,000 to one.  I add that statistic for those of you who are thinking, "oh, that's nice," instead of "Wow!  How amazing!"  They arrived home safe without incident, although the 4-hour time difference (an extra hour due to the Daylight Savings Time change) was really messing with them.

Meanwhile my daughter and her BFF, competing as a two-person team in the C division at the Old Dominion Region Pony Club regional qualifying rally (say that ten times fast), went for World Domination, snagging first place by a mile.  My daughter was High Point competitor for their division, with the BFF right on her tail.  This sort of surprised me, honestly, because moving to the C division (which means they are C-rated pony clubbers, which is really too complicated to explain) meant that, after years of competing in the D divisions, they suddenly had much different and harder material to learn.  Instead of being asked to identify a horse's external body parts (mane, withers, pastern, croup) for example, they had to name the bones in a horse's foreleg, starting with the top.  They had to identify equine intestinal parisites from photos, and also toxic plants.  (My daughter's ace at toxic plants.  A few years ago she got on a weird toxic plant jag and memorized the entire reference book.)  So the BFF's mom, my friend Trish, and I really didn't know what to expect. 

For the girls, doing so well was fabulous because it means they will get to compete at Pony Club Championships this summer.  Both would prefer to go in a riding discipline, but if they don't qualify in those they'll be able to compete in quiz. 

Our quiz entire contigent consisted of myself, my daughter, the BFF, Trish, and BK, a lovely teenager who's clearly been raised right, given what a joy she is to take anywhere.  BK's team finished second in the Senior D division, which was fantastic--but what was even better was BK's attitude from the start.  She was teamed with two brand-new pony clubbers from another club, whom she didn't meet until the morning of the rally, and since the others were brand-new they didn't know a lot.  At lunchtime they were in last place.  BK didn't mind.  "I'm not trying to qualify for championships, we're all just here to have fun," she said.  They were having fun, and then in the afternoon they had fun and did better, and wound up second, and we were proud.

We stayed in a hotel right on the water.  Trish and I in one room, the girls in another.  We got there staggeringly late on Friday night, courtesy of a wreck on I-81, and shuffled into bed.  In the morning the ocean looked lovely.  The hotel breakfast room was a morass of girls, pony clubbers and soccer players and a junior field hockey team.  We went inland to the school where the competition was held, and stayed there forever, due to the usual scoring snafus and delays.  By chance we lucked upon a fabulous little local Italian restaurant, then went back to the hotel in the dark.  The girls went swimming in the indoor pool.  Trish and I opened the balcony door, so we could hear the ocean, and cranked up the heater, so we didn't freeze to death from the wind.  It was all good.

In the morning part of me wanted to hit the road at dawn, get home with all possible speed.  Another part was pole-axed by that stupid time change.  We compromised by hitting the snooze buttons on our alarms for half an hour.

Here's the thing.  Trish has said before that I've inspired her.  She recently bought a horse for herself, for example.  I appreciate that, but I want to say right now:  Trish, you also inspire me.

When we did get up, and woke the girls, I was definitely in my hurry mode.  I could have been packed, grabbed breakfast, and been on the road in twenty minutes.  I often speed through things like that. 

Trish, on the other hand, went down to the lobby for coffee.  She came back up with three cups--one for me, and two for her.  Then she put on her coat, opened the balcony door, and went outside.  "I thought I'd drink this out here," she said. 

No.  I was in hurry mode.  She was supposed to slurp coffee while throwing on her blue jeans.  It was time to go

But the sun was rising over the ocean, and the waves were crashing onto the shore.  Spindrift blew up from the crests of the waves, catching the light.  Gulls wheeled overhead.

It was lovely, and I would have missed it.  I would have rushed past the ocean, which you might have guessed we don't have in Bristol, TN, so that I could get home at 4:30 instead of 5:00 pm. 

I looked at Trish, sitting peacefully in the sun, and I wrapped myself in a blanket, took my coffee, and sat down in the other balcony chair.  I enjoyed the ocean.  And then, at a reasonable pace, we began our day.