Sunday, July 16, 2017 Members and guests of the Piedmont Driving Club parked trailers under huge shade trees to unload, harness and hitch for a picnic drive from 4MyLuv Farm in Middleburg, Va. It was a beautiful day, sunny and warm with low humidity. Our hosts, Brian and Patricia Walker and adjacent land owners Woody and Erika Offutt, were on hand to greet everyone. They had invited neighbors to watch the carriages move off. Champagne flowed from somewhere behind the Cox trailer. All were jovial, all was well.
But wait! What was lurking across the lawn, peering out from between the trees? Did I see a camel? Could that have been a water buffalo? What about the momma zebra and her baby? And there was more….an elephant, a bear, a giraffe…YIKES! With giggles and sly glances, those in the Club who had driven before from this venue looked around to watch any “new comers”. How would Lil’s pony handle these creatures? Could Mary steer her unicorn through this unlikely “herd”? Was Sheba finally over her suspicions? (Just to be sure, Barbara hand walked her over to as many of the statues as time would allow. “No problem, Mom, now let’s just hitch to the cart and get out of here!”)
Whenever we meet at the Walkers’ we wonder if they will have added to their collection. I did see a crocodile, (or could it have been an alligator?) that I’d never noticed before, near the pond. Fortunately there was no drama as whips, grooms and guests climbed aboard the carriages for what turned out to be a spectacular trot ‘round the countryside.
At the midway point, Kentfield, we were delighted to find a table manned by Queenie Kemmerer who was busily fixing Mimosas and placing cookies and other goodies in baskets. A long way from Innisfree where we last saw her, how did she get here? There was no car in sight. Suddenly a booming voice from under a shade tree: “It is about time you arrived…. we might have finished all of the Champagne!” And who did we see on the box seat, behind his team of chestnut thoroughbreds, but Honorary Member Doug Kemmerer.
Picnic host Deb Bauserman had provided all the goodies which the Coxes had placed under a tree before the drive. Who knew that the Kemmerers would have discovered the stash before we arrived at the rest stop? We were happy to have them join the group and there was plenty to go around while horses rested in the shade. Doug led eight carriages back to 4MyLuv. Before long we were feasting on Deb’s poached salmon and all the delightful accompaniments that had been provided by Club members.
Caroline Collomb and one of her pretty grooms took a dip in the pool. Several of the male guests tried to figure out who might have been the model for a recumbent statue at poolside. It seems that the Walkers appreciate art other than the likeness of wild animals!
President Anne Watkins surprised Club founding Member Kitty Newman with Honorary Membership to the Club, a life time award. Host Brian Walker filled glasses with his signature Bloody Marys to toast the occasion. It was a perfect end to a delightful day.
Whips for this drive were: Carl Cox, Mary Munster, Bertrand Collomb, Caroline Collomb, Lil Jacobs, Barbara Wolf, Anne Watkins, Deb Bauserman and Doug Kemmerer. Sounding the horn on the Cox carriage was Bobby Dreyer.