Once again, Members and guests of the Piedmont Driving Club wrapped up an afternoon of carriage driving and comraderie with CAKE – birthday cake, of course! But allow me to page back through the day, for there is so much more to report, and I’ll get to the cake….
With temps in very agreeable low 80’s, puffy clouds and verdant green as far as one could see, 6 carriages set out to travel the quiet gravel roads from Doug and Queenie’s Innisfree, home to their many chestnut-hued Thoroughbred (yes!) driving horses. There was a plan afoot…..we needed to get Doug off his mower (as he was still “making ready” for company) and AWAY from the property. Queenie insisted that she could manage setting up for the picnic that was to be held in the stable following the drive. Doug never questioned that, why would he? This was Queenie, his wife, life-partner, care-taker of all things great and small (horses, Dalmations, cats and chickens…), and most loyal supporter. We convinced Doug that he could be more useful in the Cox carriage, where he would sit beside Whip Molly Savage as she led the group on a 6.5 mile drive. Carl and Caroline Cox sat in the rear of the wagonnette with Marci Bade’s son and his fiancé while Doug provided commentary on the many estates and points of interest along the way. Following were Barbara and Tom Wolf with ”Sheba” put to a lovely village cart. As usual they were a pleasing picture –
Tom in jacket and tie, Barbara in a spring dress with a lovely hat – but this time they were completely out-classed by Sheba who wore a simple strand of PEARLS around her sleek neck! After all it was Mother’s Day, a time to celebrate feminine pulchritude…
Albert Anderson once again squired his lovely wife Lisa via a cart he restored. “Cloud” responded beautifully to his strong but sensitive hands. Albert, as you may know, spends much of his day fashioning metal into intricate and often delicate shapes. Deb Bauserman and guest were stunningly dapper behind her Hafie gelding. No more struggles for her – with a new trailer that houses both horse AND carriage, she simply slips both out, dons harness, puts to and goes…..! Marci and Keith Bade drove “Maya” to their new carriage and after the rest stop made a switch of passengers, bringing her son and fiancé back to the picnic while Keith joined the Cox carriage. Judy Hahn came again with “Buddy”, her handsome Standardbred/Percheron gelding, strong enough to pull several members of “Team Gleneden” in the Bronson Wagon. They are a pleasure to watch – each has his/her job and the horse is
always the center of attention. They are careful to see he gets what he needs, be it a pat, a rub or a cooling spray when his work is done.
The group travelled together through the quaint village of Unison and up to the top of a very special meadow – special because it was nearly lost to a developer who sought to plant 28 houses there and now, thanks in part to Doug and Queenie, it remains forever in scenic easement. Queenie, Lisa and Marci had conspired earlier to provide us with Mango Mojitos and canapes stuffed with crab and chicken while we rested horses, chatted and savored the view. On certain dates one can observe the sun set in one direction while the moon rises in another – spectacular! After a leisurely trot to Innisfree, we arrived back at the Kemmerer Stable to find that it had been totally transformed. The plan worked! In Doug’s absence, Queenie had managed to string Happy Birthday banners, balloons and decorations throughout. And on the table, of course, was an enormous cake inscribed, “Happy Birthday Doug”. Who knew that this was his 76th birthday????? Well, we all did, but we never let on and he was TOTALLY surprised! There was plenty of food and fun (the standard for a PDC picnic!) but one thing about the venue that made it extra special was Doug and Queenie’s tack room……those who took the time to enter saw a lifetime of carriage adventures depicted in pictures. Doug, as many of us already knew, has experienced more on the box seat (behind single, pair, team and tandem turn outs) than most of us will ever even be able to read about! He is a legend in the art and sport of driving and we of the PDC are honored by the interest he takes in our simple pursuits! Indeed it was a very Happy Birthday for everyone present.