Fri, 02/05/2021 - 9:20pm

Out With the Old, In With the New

Y'all come back now, y'hear?

As we gracefully enter our golden years – whether as judges, breeders or exhibitors – from time to time we ask ourselves a highly significant question: Should we create/consider options for a new chapter? Out with the old and in with the new – be it our hips, knees, elbows, shoulders, feet, hair line, face, etc. And, in the process of accessing our personal-appearance improvement options, we often apply the same thought processes to buying a new car, restoring an old car, remodeling a home/kennel, reupholstering a favorite piece of furniture, purchasing new clothes, acquiring a new breed or even starting a new hobby (God forbid!). All of these options bring new life and vitality.

As the executive director for a health clinic, my “out with the old – in with the new” options revolve daily around the COVID-19 pandemic. The staff and I are constantly reviewing best practices to determine what we can do internally to improve services and the physical structure to assure safety. Such improvements include new flooring, new heating/cooling system, air-purification units, new window treatments, and recovering all of the chairs in the patient lounge from fabric to commercial vinyl.

I’m sure by now you are asking yourself, where in the hell am I going with this story, and how does it relate to me personally in the purebred-dog community? Well, be patient, gentle reader, and keep reading. Remember this is the new you, and that involves moving forward in possibilities (LOL!). Breathe in! Breathe out! Go with the flow and feel it. Who knows – maybe yoga is part of the new you?

Ok, back to the story line.

Twelve chairs total in need of a new look that is easy to clean. I phone BEE AND THE HOUND – Lover of Dogs, Fabric and Interior Design!!! Providing Pillows, Custom Silk Scarves and Dog Beds … aka … Everything Fun and Beautiful! OUR-FRIEND-ROZ – fellow dog judge/kennel club member/owner of Bee and The Hound.

“Hello, my love, how are you?”

“I am well, what’s up?”

OUR-FRIEND-ROZ and I discuss the particulars for the clinic waiting-room chairs makeover, and she agrees to take on the project. “Send me photos of the chairs, along with measurements and color selections. I will work up a quote for you tonight and send you the numbers in the AM? THANK YOU!!!”

A text with chair photos, dimensions and color pallet is sent! OUR-FRIEND-ROZ responds back immediately. “I’m going to the distributor about 4PM today to get prices on vinyl.”

“Excellent, can’t wait. Thank you!”

I ask MS.POLLY if she wants to make a road trip when I deliver the chairs and she is 100% in for the ride.

“I will keep you posted.” “Perfect” OUR-FRIEND-ROZ replies.

MR.FRED, retired attorney and faithful clinic board member, offers his large 4x4 pickup truck for transporting the 12 chairs to BEE AND THE HOUND, located in Charlottesville, VA. The trip is approximately two hours. The plan is to pick up MS. POLLY this coming Thursday morning at 10:00 AM, arriving at OUR-FRIEND-ROZ’s at twelve noon. MS.POLLY lives approximately twenty minutes from me, in the direction of the destination.

Wednesday afternoon, a member of the staff drives me to MR. FRED’S to pick up his silver-colored, extended cab, Ford F-150 STX 4x4. Unlike my personal vehicle, FRED’S truck is spotless. “There is a box of new security straps and clamps for stabilizing the chairs in the back and a small step ladder in the bed. I figured it was easier for me to provide these items than for you to worry about it,” MR.FRED shares, while at the same time giving me a tutorial on driving the silver beast.

Climbing in the F-150 STX, I quickly realize that I must add new shoulder and hips to my “out with the old-in with the new” mental list. “Good Lord, I am going to have to lift and catapult MS. POLLY into the passenger seat,” I laughingly share to the windshield while driving back to the clinic to load the chairs.

After roughly two hours, I manage to pack and trap the twelve chairs into the bed of F-150 STX. I drive back home, thankful for tomorrow’s forecasted sunny day and my road trip with MS.POLLY. Peering into the rear-view mirror, and viewing the mound of used furniture, I am reminded of the Clampetts and the opening scene from the ’60s classic TV series “The Beverly Hillbillies.” Laughingly, I sing along, driving down Route 17 toward the house.

Come and listen to my story about a man named Jed

A poor mountaineer, barely kept his family fed,

And then one day he was shootin at some food,

And up through the ground come a bubblin crude.

Oil that is, black gold, Texas tea.

Well the first thing you know ol Jed’s a millionaire,

The kinfolk said, “Jed move away from there.”

Said “Californy is the place you ought to be,”

So they loaded up the truck and they moved to Beverly

… Hills, that is. Swimmin pools, movie stars – The Beverly Hillbillies.

Prior to retiring for the evening, I pack a small cooler for our trip to Charlottesville. A bottle of moonshine and two ’possum pies. Seriously –two small cans of Perrier Lime water, two apples, two cheese sticks and two turkey Slim Jim snack sticks.

F-150 STX arrives at MS. POLLY’s at 9:56 am. Placing my black face mask over my nose and mouth (yes, it’s to cover both), I gently lower myself from the truck, check the straps securing the precious cargo and proceed to the back door to greet MS.POLLY.

She exits before I reach the landing. “Good morning, and what a beautiful day!” MS.POLLY joyful chirps, full of life in anticipation of our adventure. “Oh, my!” she blurts while approaching the silver chariot filled with used chairs. “I hope you have them nice and snug!”

“We are all set, no worries,” I reassure.

Thankfully, MS. POLLY, probably from her debutante days, has no problem maneuvering around the pickup truck. She grabs the upper handle, steps on the running board and tosses her butt in the passenger seat like an old pro. Standing behind and watching, I am relieved for not having to place my hands on her buttocks for support and leverage.

FORD 150-STX 4x4 pulls out of MS.POLLY’s drive and onto the rural country road. Before I can say a word, MS.POLLY blurts out – “I feel like a member of the Clampetts!” “I know exactly what you mean,” I say, refraining from going into song.

We waste no time filling each other in on anything and everything dog-show related – health status of sick judges, which shows are the latest to cancel, vaccination availability, judging panels, etc. Once all new topics are exhausted, the remaining one hour and thirty minutes is spent reminiscing about the old – DR.BOB, DAVID, AKC, OUR-FRIEND-ROZ, starting the Middle Peninsula Kennel Club, when we first met, Mississippi, Kentucky, friends we have lost, Take The Lead, the AIDS crisis, judging, our first Best in Show wins, breeding programs, living in Charlottesville, etc.

“You can turn off the GPS. I know where we are. Right after this intersection turn right at the mailbox. It’s a long narrow, steep drive, so be careful, JETHRO!” MS.POLLY says with a grin.

OUR-FRIEND-ROZ’s paved drive is just wide enough for FORD 150 STX 4x4. I am thrilled when we pull up, safely park and start to unload the mountain of chairs.

OUR-FRIEND-ROZ helps with the chairs, keeping appropriate social distance. And afterward she provides us a tasty lunch. The time is filled with updates, news, possibilities and precious memories spanning over 40 years. New topics – art, landscaping, fabric, kennel club, upcoming shows, health, pandemic, food, Charlottesville living compared with Tidewater living, dogs, puppies, diets, books, College of William & Mary, etc. Old topics – George Ward, Dr. BOB, DAVID, dog shows, art, food, dogs, wins, judging, friends, favorite judges, books, international travel, grooming, judging panels, handlers, Take The Lead, etc.

Our dog-show lives are steeped in old memories and new possibilities. Every present-day experience – in and out of the ring or the whelping box – includes all of your experience when you started in the sport. Pay attention to what you remember, as it brings meaning to the moment. And it just might save you a tremendous amount of heartache and money on something new. Keep in mind – when you jump out of an airplane, remembering the parachute is a great way to start!

Well now it’s time to say goodbye to Jed and all his kin.

And they would like to thank you folks fer kindly droppin in.

You’re all invited back next week to this locality

To have a heapin helpin of their hospitality

Hillbilly that is. Set a spell, take your shoes off.

Y’all come back now, y’hear.



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