Just when I thought it was safe

As Labor Day weekend approached, I began to think I had gotten lucky and manged to avoid being volunteered to work at the Kentucky Classic Horse Trials at the Horse Park that weekend. If I hadn’t gotten a draft notice before the weekend, I must be home free. Friday afternoon, I let my guard down and made a tactical error that cost me Sunday morning. Mid-afternoon Friday, I decided I needed a brief break from work. I decided to get some fresh (albeit hot and humid) air, stretch my legs, admire the student body (looking very good on a hot day), and seek physical sustenance for myself, with a stroll across campus to Baskin-Robbins.

As I crossed a street approaching the store, I realized I was being tailed by a black Jeep Cherokee driven by a man in dark glasses. After finding two Bell South trucks in my driveway “working” on my phone line (which had no problems) earlier in the week, , at a time when they wouldn’t have expected me to be home, with no explanation of why there were there, I really wasn’t surprised at being tailed. Silently chuckling at the cluelessness of Federal agents who think they’re undercover when they stick out like a sore thumb, I made a quick assessment of the situation. This bozo wasn’t even going to make me miss my ice cream.

Baskin-Robbins is on the corner of a busy intersection, with doors on both sides of the store. JeepMan was obviously going to wait outside until I came back out. But if I went out the other side, and timed my exit right, even if he saw me leave, traffic would prevent him from getting around the store and catching up with me.

Confident in my plan, the only decision left was my choice of ice cream. One scoop of black walnut was an obvious choice, but I had to wrestle with the decision of whether to add another scoop of a different flavor. Contemplating my waistline, and riding breeches that needed to fit on Monday if the predicted rain held off, and realizing how difficult it is to finish off a double scoop on a hot day before it melts all over my hand, I opted for the single scoop.

After paying for the cone, I turned away from the counter, hoping to catch a glimpse of the Jeep in the parking lot to see where he was, and bumped right into the man in shades, who, contrary to my prediction, had actually followed me into the store. Immediately (but too late at this point), I realized the severity of my mistake. This was no bumbling government agent (I should have remembered they prefer black Suburbans), but a far more tenacious pursuer. I’d been hunted down by one of Maggie’s henchmen, looking for a stadium jumping timer for Sunday morning. These guys would track down Osama bin Forgotten if there was a chance of talking him into fence judging. Wearily admitting defeat, I agreed to “volunteer”. Rubbing in his victory, David departed with the line “I bet you’ll think twice before you buy ice cream again!”

Aside from occasional coerced labor at horse trials, there hasn’t been much to report in the horseplay category this summer. What little horseplay I’ve indulged in (and it’s been damn little with the heat) has been mainly uneventful hacks around the farm with my couple of dawgs. There have been occasional amusing incidents, like Norm jumping into water tanks and splashing enough water on the ground for Chowder to roll in since he couldn’t make it into the tank, and Arthur spooking at Norm jumping up on top of a row of roll bales to survey his domain, but nothing really worthy of a separate report.

Today, the rain did hold off, and I did fit into my breeches, and had a wonderfully relaxing trail ride with about 65 other hunt members. Again, the ride was pretty uneventful, but it was wonderful to get out with the group, renew acquaintances, and begin to get psyched up for hunt season (roading hounds starts Wednesday, although there’s a good chance I’ll skip the first one due to rain).

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