Friends are the Best Part of the Trip
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
We had almost 2 full weeks at Raf and Astrid’s (eurodressage.com). JJ and Raf had a lot in common with their passion for dog training. JJ even did some manual labor helping Raf with the new stables he is building on their 15 acre property. Raf has a business training dogs for individuals, called Dogs and Me. He travels to their homes and works on issues owners and dogs are having together. A graduate in psychology, he understands both aspects of the interactions between humans and canines.
The nights were totally quiet and dark, just like home in Kentucky. Astrid’s retired pony and dressage mare live on the farm with of all things a quarter horse mare and foal, which was born just before we got there. We have been friends for many years, since 1998, and we have seen Astrid grow from a shy young girl to an accomplished writer and journalist who recently earned her doctorate in English literature.
When I first attended Aachen of 20 years ago, I became friends with a young German girl who was an attendant in the ladies’ room near the Dressage stadium. We began to write, and since then Marion and her Father, Manfred have been to the USA to visit us, and we have stayed with them in the past in their apartment in Aachen.
Now a longtime secretary for a collection agency, Marion still works at Aachen along with her father. They have the best job of the entire show. They are stationed at the ingate for the main arena and know every show jumper rider who has galloped past them. Marion struck up quite a friendship with USA Showjumping coach George Morris. Maybe it was her pink hair that attracted him. We were all too busy for a visit except to hang out together while they were working at the gate on Sunday. We gave them WEG pins, and Marion brought me some wonderful German face cream.
Bye bye for now dear friends. Thanks to the internet we are always in touch, but there is nothing like big hugs and some face time!