We lived in Redmond, Washington which is in the Seattle area from 1989 to 1995. Fuzzy Faces began in 1991, but we had been in business for a year before that. We did craft shows for our first year and changed the name of the business when we started doing dog shows. I sold at dog shows in Washington, Oregon, and occasionally California the first few years. In 1994, I started traveling all over the country doing dog shows. In May of 1995 we moved to Michigan.
I do most of the dog shows by myself. My husband, Kelly, goes with me whenever he can and helps me a *lot* (he helps a lot at home, too, with business things). I go all over the country, so an average drive to a dog show is 500-800 miles. However, a trip to the West Coast is 2,500 miles, and I go there, too, once in a while.
It takes me 6-8 hours to unload the van and set up my booth and about the same amount of time to tear down the booth and get everything back in the van. This is why you'll see references peppered throughout my stories about how tired I get when I'm doing the dog shows.
I have over 50 bins of Fused Glass Pieces, Wooden Dogs, and whatever else I'm carrying in my booth at that particular time. I sell more Suncatchers than I do anything else in the Fused Glass Pieces, and these are very heavy when I have a bin full of them. They are, after all, glass and lead. I have 12-15 bins that weigh at least 50 pounds. Toting those around just wears me out! After I get everything unloaded and out of the van, then the real fun starts. I have to hang about 160 Suncatchers and fill the shelves and tables in my booth with lots of other things. My canopy (tent) that I put up for my booth weighs about 100 pounds, and I don't weigh an awful lot more than that, so I have great fun dragging that around.
It is often 10:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. by the time I finish packing up (I'm normally in my booth by 7:30 a.m. or 8:00 a.m., so tear-down day is a very long day, often without any dinner). At this point, with any luck, I can be 1-4 bins lighter than setting up, which always helps!
I travel a fair amount every year doing dog shows all over the country. I usually take two of my dogs with me, Ebony and Sasha, for protection but, most of all, for company. When you travel, especially with two dogs, interesting things tend to happen to you now and then. That's what these stories are all about...
Sometime during the summer of 1994, I was traveling cross-country again, heading home. We had just entered Colorado from Nebraska on Interstate 76. We pulled into the first rest area which was, literally, in the middle of absolutely nowhere, for a potty stop. I walked the dogs and had Ebony on one flexi lead and Sasha on another, which is a difficult maneuver, but it definitely saves time! We were walking through this beautiful patch of grass--Ebony going in one direction and Sasha in another. Something distracted me, and when I looked back at Sasha, there she was in the middle of a coiled rattlesnake. She actually had both of her front paws in the middle of the snake's coils! She was looking at me and wagging her tail as if to say, "Look what I found, Mom!".
I panicked totally, to say the least. I was so afraid. Sasha was probably 10' or more from me (our flexis are 26' long), I had Ebony on the other lead, and I had to do something fast! I started yelling and jumping up and down and pulling Sasha towards me all at the same time. Unbelievably, the snake never took its eyes off me through this entire maniacal dance I was doing. If snakes have such thoughts, he must have been thinking, "What is that crazy lady doing?". I managed to get Sasha away without her being bitten.
When I told my husband about the incident, he said that there is a snake in Colorado which looks just like a rattlesnake but is non-poisonous. It's called a King Snake. I know I didn't hear a rattle sound, but I was so far away from the snake and the noise from semis going by on the Interstate was fairly deafening, so I guess I'll never know for sure what kind of snake it was. I do know that I am very grateful that nothing happened to Sasha.
I started wondering when we got back on the road if I would have been able to get help for Sasha if she had been bitten if I had called 911. I don't know if anyone would bother to help a dog in serious trouble. I hope they would, but I have carried a snake bite kit in my glove compartment ever since that day, just in case...
Also in the summer of 1994, I did a show in Greyslake, Illinois in June. I had traveled from southern California to Greyslake, and I was a little more tired than usual this trip. I also had to move the booth about a 1/2 mile for Sunday's show. When I do a show that's a move like that on the second day (even if it's only a 1/2 mile), I have to pack up every bit of my booth, put everything in the van, go to the new site, and completely unload and set up again. By the time I had torn down the booth on Sunday, it was dark, and I drove about 100 miles and stopped in a rest area barely west of Chicago to spend the night. I was incredibly exhausted.
I woke up at about 3:00 a.m. and has to use the "facilities". I did just that, and when I was coming out of the stall in the rest room, there was a man with his back to me washing his hands. I, of course, was nowhere close to awake at this point, but I knew he shouldn't be there. I was also, of course, grateful that he was only washing his hands because, as I looked around the room, I saw urinals. I was in the mens' room!!
I flattened myself against the stall (like the man wouldn't see me), kept my eyes on him, and slithered out the door, hoping he wouldn't see me!
A little later on that same summer, we had stopped at a rest area heading east on Interstate 94 in Montana. Throughout eastern Montana (and some of the other western states), the rest areas all have signs that say something like this:
To say the least, I am always extremely careful where I walk and where I walk the dogs in one of these rest areas. I have a very healthy respect for those sorts of conditions and keep my eyes peeled!
A man in a station wagon pulled up and parked about 50 yards away from us. He let his Golden Retriever out of the back of the station wagon with no lead, and the dog ran about 20 yards up into some brush and immediately ran back to the station wagon and hopped in. This happened very quickly. While the dog did that, his owner was busy trying to tie the dog's lead to a signpost, not bothering to read the sign above him.
When the man finally had the dog's lead tied, he went back to the station wagon to get the dog out again, but the dog wasn't having any part of it. The dog wouldn't budge, no matter how hard his owner tried.
The owner had, of course, been tying the lead to the "Rattlesnakes Have Been Observed" sign. The Golden, his instincts ever better than us humans, had heard snakes in the brush, and he wasn't getting out again for love nor money!
When I told this story to my friends, Howard and Rhea, Howard asked me if I had tried to warn the guy. Fair question, but I was too far away, and the Golden was in and out of the brush in approximately one second flat (possibly less), so even if I had tried to warn the man, it wouldn't have been in time.
I believe it was that same summer that I was visiting my daughter in Los Angeles and decided to go down to Tiajuana, Mexico for the day. My daughter and I had been down there many times together, but she couldn't go with me this time, so I went alone.
I desperately needed some blankets. They make the warmest blankets I have ever seen in Mexico, and the prices are excellent! As I was driving across the border, the Mexican Border Guard motioned me aside to a building just off to the right. I drove in there and was met by two other Mexican Border Guards. I don't have to tell you I was absolutely terrified. Neither one of them spoke English, and my Spanish is fairly limited to things like, "Como questo?" (How much?), which wasn't going to get me too far in this situation.
We had to wait for a Border Guard that did speak English before we could carry on a conversation. I kept looking at the two stern faces of the guards while we were waiting. I had nothing to hide, of course, but I also know that in Mexico this does not necessarily mean anything.
The other guard finally arrived, and, come to find out, they were upset because my van was filled with stuff. I explained to them that I had come to the Los Angeles area to do a dog show and, because I did not live there, I had no place to put all those things while I went to Mexico. Three stern faces were looking at me through this whole conversation. (Did I tell you I was extremely nervous and getting more tense by the second?)
I had Ebony and Sasha with me, of course, and Sasha started to bark. (I wonder if she had an inkling of the kind of trouble I could be in.) I said, "Sasha, cut it out." or something to that effect. One of the guards started to giggle, and the three of us looked at him, and he said "Sasha Gabor!!" over and over again and laughed and laughed. (For those of you who don't understand that comment, I assume he meant Zsa Zsa Gabor, but, because of the language barrier, I was never able to find out for sure why *he* thought it was funny.)
Of course his fit of laughter sent us all into gales of laughter. I was probably laughing twice as hard as usual because I was so tense, but it truly was funny to hear "Sasha Gabor" in a Mexican accent, not knowing exactly why it tickled him so much!
The joke broke the ice, and they were kind to me and let me go. I went into Tiajuana proper, did my shopping as quickly as possible, and then left. I haven't gone to Mexico alone since then, and I don't know as I ever will!
This is one of my favorite stories. The telling and retelling of it has sent my daughter, my husband, my best friend, and me into gales of laughter on more than one occasion. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
I was visiting my daughter in southern California in October of 1995. I had done the German Shepherd Dog Nationals there and had stayed on a few extra days to visit with Irene. We decided to go to Disneyland the first day, so we both got up early (a small miracle for the two of us; we're both night people) and arrived not too long after the park opened that day. I always kennel the dogs there, and we were parked quite some distance away. What a journey that is--trying to get two dogs over a fair amount of ground carrying water for them, our purses, etc. I dropped and managed to spill some of the gallon of water I was carrying at least once that morning!
Anyway, we spent the entire day at Disneyland (we're die-hards!) and had a WONDERFUL time. We were exhausted beyond belief when we finally got back to the car after picking up the dogs. When I started to pull out of the parking space, we heard this awful noise beneath the van. I stopped the van, and Irene and I got out to look. Well, somehow or other, I had managed to run over an orange cone, and it was stuck near the left front wheel well. The worst of it is, I couldn't even remember running over it! I've never done that before (one of my favorite phrases these days). Anyway, Irene got down on her hands and knees and pulled the cone out.
We drove off and on the way home hit a huge traffic jam on the 91 freeway going north. We were tied up for at least a half an hour. We found out later that a tanker truck had tipped over and spilled. After a few minutes of sitting in traffic, I smelled this awful burning odor, like there was very little oil in the van. I couldn't move or get off the freeway, so by the time we got moving again, my over 40 year old brain simply forgot about it.
The next morning Irene and I went shopping. I kept looking for an oil change place (I was smelling that awful odor again), but we didn't manage to find one. We got back to the motel, and I forgot about it again.
The following morning I made up my mind to do something about the odor right away. I located an oil change place fairly close to the motel and drove there first thing that morning while Irene was in class. I couldn't understand why the van might have a problem. I had just purchased it in February of that year, and I am frightfully good about oil changes with all the traveling I do. I even use synthetic oil.
When I got there, I asked the guy at the oil place to please check the oil. He did and said it was fine. I told him about the odor (by then the manager was also standing there), and no one could figure out what was going on. The manager finally went downstairs underneath the van and looked it over. He came back up and said he peeled something off the tail pipe. All of a sudden my memory came back to me and I said, "Was it orange?". You guessed it--the orange cone!! Part of it had attached itself to my tailpipe and the high heat had melted it and caused the odor. Was I embarrassed!
They topped off the rest of my fluids in the van and sent me on my way without charging me a cent! What nice guys!
Another story that sends us into gales of laughter happened in September of 1995. I was doing a four day dog show in Richland, Washington. My best friend, Madeleine, and her significant other, Roy, were also there. We had an absolutely fabulous four days of visiting! My husband and I had moved from Washington state to Michigan that May, and this was the first opportunity I had to visit Madeleine.
You have to realize how bone tired we are after each dog show day. We work from at least 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., sometimes longer. Then we have to put sides up on our tent canopies and make sure all the merchandise is secure (or at least as secure as we can make it) in case we get some bad weather. Then all we have time for is to get supper and go to bed and do it all over again the next day, starting with unwrapping the booth. There really isn't too much time for socializing except at a three or four day dog show.
The second or third night I was there, I was in Madeleine and Roy's trailer talking to Madeleine. She was sitting on the couch with her back to the bed, and I was facing her from the other end of the couch. Roy came in and pulled some left over spaghetti in one of those Styrofoam containers out of the refrigerator and started munching on it. He set the spaghetti down on the bed and went outside to do something.
Madeleine and Roy do not have any dogs at present, so in their house, setting food down within dog range is a safe move. However, Ebony was in the trailer at the time. She got up on the bed (without either Madeleine or I noticing) and started eating Roy's spaghetti. Madeleine heard a strange noise and looked at the Styrofoam container and said, "Oops!" or something to that effect. I just looked at her and she told me what Ebony had done (I was still oblivious at this point). I asked her how much she thought Ebony had eaten, and Madeleine said, "Not much.", so she and I went back to our conversation.
Roy came back in from outside and picked up the container and realized quite a bit of his spaghetti was gone (far more than we thought). We told him Ebony had eaten it, and he didn't believe us! He kept insisting that Madeleine had eaten the spaghetti. The more he insisted that Madeleine had eaten it, and the more protests we made that Ebony had eaten it, and the more Roy didn't believe us, the funnier it got, until neither Madeleine nor I could talk, because we were laughing far too hard. Unfortunately, I can't translate the look on Roy's face into print. If you could see how his face looked (his eyes were positively snapping!), it would make you laugh just as hard!
I spent all year teasing Roy about his spaghetti. I think it took him six months to sort of believe that Ebony really had eaten the spaghetti (in point of fact, we're not entirely sure that he really does believe it was Ebony even now)! When I saw Madeleine and Roy at a dog show in Washington state in July of 1996, I actually brought my homemade spaghetti sauce all the way from Michigan (where we're living now) to make up for what Ebony had eaten the year before!
I did a dog show in Kansas City in March of 1996. It wasn't a very good experience for several reasons. I have never had such difficulty unloading at a show in my life. They left one of the big doors in the Kemper Center building open for us vendors to get our things in, but the exhibitors starting using the big door, so they shut that door. I had to pry open a regular sized door with my fingernails to get in and out of the building for the rest of my unloading. Just imagine trying to get the door open, hold the door open, and get my loaded cart inside, then going through another door that was easier to open with the cart. The Vendor Chairman also moved my space twice while I was setting up. A job that should have taken an hour (unloading) took close to three hours. Then I still had to take another 3 or 4 hours to set up. I was far more exhausted than usual when I got through.
Someone (singular or plural) set off the building fire alarm several times during the three day show. That made the show a little more stressful than usual. I never did hear all of that story.
To top it off, people just weren't buying. It was one of those shows. And, of course, loading up after the show was over wasn't too much easier than unloading had been. I couldn't get my van anywhere near the door I needed to bring my stuff out of for a very long time which made that job much more difficult.
I was absolutely exhausted after I finished, and I still had to drive 900 miles home. I stopped at a Cracker Barrel restaurant just outside of Kansas City for dinner, and I went in and had a lovely meal. I really like Cracker Barrels!
I have tendonitis in both shoulders, so walking the dogs can be a very painful experience for me. Sasha weighs 70 pounds and Ebony is about 50 pounds. If they pull on the lead, it creates all kinds of problems for my shoulders; especially my right one. I had Kelly install a U-joint in the van so that I could attach double leads for each dog to the van and just let them outside to do their own walking. It works very well as long as I can park next to some grass.
When I got back to the van after dinner, I let Sasha outside and noticed out of the corner of my eye that she was just sitting on the grass looking at me. Then I let Ebony outside, and I saw her sitting as neat and pretty as you please beside Sasha, both of them just looking at me. This certainly got my attention, so I looked at them full on and realized I had made a horrible mistake (one that really could have turned out badly if either or both dogs had decided to take off on me). I had not attached their leads to their collars, so they were sitting there loose.
Of course, I just about had a heart attack! I got out of the van and attached their leads to them, telling them both what very good little girls they were!!
I can't resist telling this story, even if it didn't involve the dogs.
In early August of 1996, I did the Briard Nationals at the Royce Hotel which is located near the airport west of Detroit, Michigan. I think it was the second day of the show, and I went around the corner and down the hall to use the ladies' room. Well, I got locked in the stall. I tried and tried, but I couldn't, with all my strength, get the door unlocked.
What to do. You can just imagine the thoughts that were going through my head. I looked at the bottom of the door, and I don't think there was 8" of clearance and, besides, the floor was all wet. I didn't want to think about what the liquid might be, so I ruled that out as an option!
Unfortunately, in addition to there not being much clearance at the bottom of the door, the stall walls were higher than usual. I am not too tall--only 5' 4" or so on a good day. I put the toilet seat down and crouched on the seat, removed my sandals, and put them under the wall into the next stall. I stood up, swallowed hard, and got up on the back of the toilet. I grabbed the top of the wall with both hands and managed somehow to get one leg up on the top of the wall, then the other, and I eased myself down on the back of the adjoining toilet, praying I wouldn't fall! I do believe I used some muscles I hadn't used in a while.
I was absolutely livid that something like that could happen to me in a "nice" hotel, so I went down to the front desk and told them what had happened. I also told them in no uncertain terms that I didn't appreciate it at all. I told them I was a vendor at the dog show and that they could reach me down there if they needed to talk to me. No one ever showed up to offer an apology or ask me if I was hurt or anything else that day. What a "nice" hotel...
In April of 1997, I did a small one day dog show in Berryville, Virginia, which was part of the Cherry Blossom Circuit. Berryville is a very small town with a main street that is quite old. The show was at the fairgrounds a short distance from the edge of town. I got there later than I had expected to the day before the show; nothing unusual there--I always seem to be running late. I was given a space for my booth that had a large tree on one side. Anyway, I got some of my booth set up before it got dark and had to complete my setting up process in the dark.
The first thing I usually do is get my canopy set up, and this show was no exception. That way I've got cover to finish setting up if it rains. I couldn't pound the two stakes in on the one corner where the tree was, so one of the other vendors came over and pounded the stakes in for me. I never thought twice about it, but I found out later that the reason I couldn't pound the stakes in was because they were in a tree root.
I didn't have another dog show for two days and had gotten permission to stay on the grounds the night of the show, so I tore most of the booth down that evening, discovered I was absolutely starving to death and decided to get into town to have dinner before the restaurants closed. I had everything put away in my bins but still had the shelf units, tables, and canopy to take down. Setting up and tearing down in the space of 24 hours leaves me absolutely totally exhausted, so I willingly set down the burden and went in search of food. I found a seafood restaurant on the main street in town and had to wait about 15 minutes or so before someone came to seat me which I thought was very odd at the time, but I was too tired to go somewhere else.
I was totally unable to make a decision on what I wanted to eat because I was so tired, but I finally made up my mind and then it must have taken close to a half hour to get my food. The dish I had selected was definitely worth waiting for--some kind of lobster/crab/cheese sauce concoction that melted in my mouth, but I as well as the table kitty corner to me had to wait a very long time for our food to arrive. It turns out that the chef was having a lot of trouble with the gas in the kitchen (for the stove), and he was having a heck of a time preparing our meals. Also, the chef's brother-in-law had stopped in to visit him that evening, and that restaurant is never that busy on a weeknight, so the chef pressed him into service as a host and waiter, which he had no experience at!
In spite of all the waiting, I had a full and satisfied tummy when I left the restaurant. I stopped to get some gas for the van and somehow managed to shut my thumb in the van door in the process. I can remember standing there thinking, "Gosh, that hurts A LOT!!!" before my overly tired brain could react and get my other hand to open the van door to release my extremely painful thumb.
I went back to the fairgounds and got a good night's sleep in the van with Ebony and Sasha. I started tearing the rest of the booth down the next morning and getting the van loaded and lo and behold, I couldn't get the two stakes out of the tree root to save myself, and there wasn't a soul around. There I was with my 96 pound canopy rooted firmly to the ground on one side only. I was standing there starting to think that I was going to be spending the rest of my life in Berryville, Virginia, or at least some undetermined portion of my immediate future when a couple of really big guys arrived on the grounds to set up for some sort of concert that night. I begged them to come help me. Both of them did their best, but neither one of them could get the stakes out, either.
Now, at this point, I was certainly a little amused, because these two didn't do any better than I had at removing the stakes. The ancient battle of the sexes was a draw as far as this particular incident was concerned!
One of the guys took off for a local hardware store, only to return in 15 minutes or so to say that it had closed down for good. Then he remembered that he had an uncle in town who had all kinds of tools. He rushed over there and returned with a crowbar (thinking it might work to pull the stakes out of the ground but the stakes were in there so firmly that all the crowbar did was dig deeper and deeper into the dirt beside the stakes) and a pair of gigantic wire cutters. After the crowbar didn't work, the guy used the wire cutters, cut off the heads of the two stakes, and I was able to remove my canopy.
This very nice man had freed me from spending the rest of my life in Berryville, and I'm afraid a simple and extremely grateful "Thank You" wasn't really enough for all the trouble he had gone to to help me. I never knew his name, but my gratitude goes out to him and his friend for taking the time to help a stranger.
My thumb, by the way, took over six months to grow out, and I was very lucky I didn't lose the nail completely. I had put a huge dent in the base of my thumbnail which I didn't discover until the nail started growing out.
In November of 1997, my last show of the year was in West Friendship, Maryland. It was a three day show, and we had much better weather than we had had the year before. The vendors are all outside at this show, and I had just about frozen to death at the show in 1996. I had my propane heater going all three days in my booth in an attempt to keep warm and had singed my hair twice and my down coat once in the process! Unfortunately, a couple of customers had also managed to singe their jackets, too, but not as badly as I singed mine.
The weather was chilly even so and, of course, after dark, the temperature shot down some more. I had on a tee shirt, turtleneck, sweatshirt, hooded zippered sweatshirt, and nice warm wool socks under my jeans as I was tearing down my booth. I had my down coat with me but didn't wear it, because I could move a lot easier in the lighter clothing and get the job done faster. I had been wearing a wool headband with a wool stocking cap over it all day, so I put the hood of my sweatshirt up over my cap and tied a very warm scarf around my neck tightly, and wore my chamois gloves as they were lighter and more flexible gloves to work in than my winter gloves. Every hour or so I got in the van (I left the engine running the whole time I was tearing down to keep Ebony and Sasha warm) to warm up for a few minutes, and then I'd get back out there and continue to pack up.
I finished tearing down fairly close to midnight, and I don't have to tell you how exhausted I was. I drove less than half an hour to Frederick, Maryland, saw a Knight's Inn sign, and stopped there for the night. While I was checking in, the gentleman at the desk asked me what the weather was like. I told him it was raining a little out there but that as long as the temperature didn't dip any more that it probably wasn't going to freeze and get dangerous out there. He didn't seem surprised at my answer or ask me any more questions, so I forgot about it.
I got the girls, their water, dog food, a change of clothes for me, etc. into the motel room and sat down and called Madeleine (who is on the West Coast) to tell her how the show had gone. While I was talking to her, it occurred to me that the gentleman at the desk had looked at how I was dressed when he asked me how the weather was, and I started giggling. What he had seen was a person *totally* bundled up, and he must have suspected the very worst weather when he saw me. I hadn't removed any of the clothing I was wrapped up in, because I still wasn't completely warmed up when I got to Frederick! I must have looked like a forest green version of the Abominable Snowman to this poor man!
In March of 1998, I had two days to make it from the Los Angeles area to Dallas, Texas for a dog show, and I had to set up for the dog show on the second day (a feat which takes me no less than 6 hours). Everything went fine. Instead of the usual 750 miles I normally do per day, I did 1,000 miles that Wednesday from Los Angeles into Texas, because I was able to do 80 mph almost the entire day. The speed limit through outer California, Arizona, and New Mexico was 75 mph, and I set my cruise control for 5 miles over the speed limit just like I always do. I passed into Texas on Interstate 10 after dark and had pulled off for the night in a rest area on the interstate. I have driven through the panhandle of Texas many times over the years, but this was the first time I had driven across Texas taking a different route.
I had left Interstate 10 and had just started to travel Interstate 20 the next morning and hadn't been on the road an hour when I saw a Texas Highway Patrol car coming from the opposite direction. I had my cruise control set for 75 mph which was the usual 5 miles over the speed limit. I saw the car make a u-turn and slowed down to the speed limit and reset my cruise control. The police car tucked in behind me and followed me for a long time. This is extremely nerve-wracking for any driver, but I was trying to drive along minding my p's and q's.
Finally, the patrol car pulled out a little from behind my van, the officer flashed his lights, and I pulled off to the side of the road. The trooper came up to my window, which I had, of course, rolled down, and his face fell when he saw me. I think it was my age. I am a middle-aged woman and, even though most people think I'm about 10 years younger than I actually am, I have enough wrinkles on my face for anyone to know I'm not a young kid. I rarely get pulled over by the police, because I don't drive outrageously, and at my age, they pretty much leave me alone. This was not true when I was younger, but that's another story entirely...
As an aside, Ebony and Sasha did just what they always do when greeted by any official presence--be it a customs officer, policeman, etc. One of them (usually Ebony) gets behind me in my seat, kind of laying on my shoulders, and pulls on my long hair, making me extremely uncomfortable, trying to get at the person in question while the other dog (usually Sasha) comes at the window through my lap, trying to get at the person in question. This is 115 pounds of dog flesh (I sometimes weigh less their combined weight and sometimes more), so it isn't the best of situations for me! Sasha once lapped a customs officer at the Canadian border. I told him she would if he got any closer--well, he did, and Sasha did. He was a dog person, though, and thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing.
The fairly young Texas Highway Patrol officer then informed me that he had flashed his lights and used his siren several times to attempt pull me over. Evidently, he'd been trying to pull me over since he made the u-turn. Now, at that point, it was all I could do not to at least giggle a little, but I had to control myself or risk getting in big trouble. If he was in the back of my van driving directly behind me, he must have seen that my back windows were completely blocked with my bins for my booth and that there was no way I had any visibility except through the mirrors on either side of my van. If his vehicle was where my mirrors couldn't see him, how did he expect me to be able to see him? Don't they teach these guys that in Trooper School?
I patiently explained to him why I didn't see him flashing his lights. Then I tackled the problem of my not hearing the siren. Honestly, I really think he was pulling my leg about the siren. I told him I had both vent windows open and that there was considerable wind noise from that, but that my radio wasn't on, and I couldn't understand why I hadn't heard his siren, being very respectful for the entire conversation, of course, even saying "sir" at least once, even though I do believe I was twice as old as he was.
At this point, he asked me for my insurance certificate and gave me a lecture on "being more aware of my surroundings when I'm driving". Truly, when he pulled me over, he didn't think I was driving, he thought I was dead. When we were further into our discussion (after he asked me to get out of the van), I said something about seeing him make the u-turn, and he was very surprised that I was actually quite alert!
While I was hunting frantically for the insurance certificate, he told me that he stopped me for going 76 mph. You know how cruise control isn't an exact science if you're going up or down a hill--it can vary by one or two miles from its setting. I couldn't find the certificate anywhere, and I started mumbling a lot--things like, "I *know* I'm supposed to have the darned thing by law.". I have a very tiny purse, but I must have about eight or ten different pockets and hidey-holes in it which were big enough for an insurance certificate. In the meantime, Mr. Highway Patrol wrote me up a warning for going 76 mph. I was very lucky I didn't get a ticket, but he informed me that if I couldn't find the insurance certificate he would have no choice but to ticket me.
He handed me the warning he had written up, and I was on the very last pocket in my purse and found the insurance certificate!! I was free and clear to go, thank goodness.
At some point during our conversation, the policeman had told me that it was perfectly o.k. for me to go 75 mph and that I wouldn't be stopped for doing so. I had great difficulty understanding why he was splitting hairs for 1 mph, but that wasn't up to me to decide, and I certainly wasn't going to question him about it!
After I was on my way again, giggling a little about the whole thing, I started to notice that no one was actually speeding in Texas, a fact that had heretofore escaped my attention completely (it takes me a good two hours to wake up fully in the morning, and I got pulled over within maybe an hour of road time that morning). In normal interstate traffic (which really is a whole different ball game from any other kind of driving), you'll have people going slower than the speed limit, people doing the speed limit, people like me who go slightly more than the speed limit, and there are always a few that are going way over the speed limit. Not so in Texas. Not one driver on my entire trip through that very large state (with the exception of the Dallas/Fort Worth area) was going more than 5 miles over the speed limit. I have never seen such well behaved drivers, but I guess the Texas Highway Patrol rides herd on the entire state!
In March of 1998, I did a four day show in Perry, Georgia--the Peach Blossom Cluster. I hadn't been in Georgia at a dog show for four years, and I was hoping for better weather (more sun) than we had in Michigan that time of year. When I got there Wednesday evening, we were under a tornado watch for about 24 hours, and a tornado did touch down Friday morning about 10 minutes east of the show grounds. Thursday evening tornadoes had done a lot of damage in Atlanta, too, which is about 120 miles north of Perry.
Between the tornado watch, rain, windy weather, etc., I never got the booth close to set up until the third day of the show. This was o.k., because people who had been in the booth on prior days kept discovering new things in my booth. I did manage to soak up a fair amount of sun during the four days or so that I was there, so I was happy. I even had shorts on one day.
I had my large wooden dogs on the right side of my booth from the first day, and I had pulled out another table from the van on Saturday, set the table on top of one of my other tables in the left side of my booth and was pulling the legs out of the bottom of it. All of a sudden, I lost my footing and fell over backwards. Usually when I fall (the few times in my life I have managed to achieve this extraordinarily embarrassing feat), I fall over frontwards, so falling over backwards was a whole new experience. I hit the ground and rolled until my elbow struck something really hard which brought my body to a screeching halt.
I stood up, dusted myself off, took a look and found out that the Old English Sheepdog wooden dog had stopped me. Then my elbow started hurting. I've run into the large wooden dogs many times in the years I've carried them in the booth, and they are too solid to move anywhere when your shins run into them. I had a pretty decent scrape on my elbow and no bandaids with me.
Suzie of Huskytoons, her husband, Bob, and friend, Charly, were all in her booth right next to me when all this went on, and when I stood up, I started laughing and told them they had all missed the show and hadn't even seen me fall down!
I went off in search of a bandaid and was lucky enough to find one at the first r.v. I stopped at. A lot of us dog show people camp right on the show grounds for the duration of the dog show, and a lot of exhibitors and even vendors are lucky enough to have recreational vehicles. I have a van with no amenities, but Ebony, Sasha, and I survive quite nicely.
I asked a woman outside the r.v. if she had a bandaid and she looked to be the age of a mom, so she asked me what I did. I showed her my "boo-boo" and she asked a woman inside the r.v. if she had a bandaid. Of course, that woman wanted to know how I had hurt my elbow (she being of mom-age, too), so I started telling this perfectly ridiculous story. Finally I just gave up. They had seen the wooden dogs in my booth and knew what they were, so I just told them that the Old English Sheepdog had bitten me! I got a bandaid, thanked them profusely and went on my way.