Sunday, May 26, 2013

No Horses, No Balls, No Regret

In the further interest of celebrating my birthday, I was invited to a polo game today.

Picnic lunch in hand, we drove to King Family Winery for the kickoff of a season of Roseland polo.

The line down the gravel driveway was long and when we got to the front, we saw why.

A woman was patiently explaining to each carload that the polo match had been canceled due to the rain-soaked field.

But, she made sure we knew there would be a rugby match instead.

Okay, so no horses, but another unlikely sport.

My first thought was, I've seen polo played a couple of times and I've never seen rugby.

Good enough.

We parked the car under a drooping pine tree and addressed the first priority: acquisition and release.

After the drive, I wanted to find the facilities plus we needed to get a bottle of wine from the tasting room.

The bathroom line was already ridiculously long, but we used our time in line to buy a bottle of Crose' Rose, so it wasn't in vain.

Bucket and bottle in hand, we marched back down the driveway past license plates from Ohio, Maryland and New Jersey and set out a blanket, chairs and foodstuffs near a boisterous group who may or may not have been from New Jersey.

My guess: yes.

Especially after I overheard one of the women ask someone, "What is it with Virginia and sunscreen? I see kids over there lining up to get sprayed with sunscreen. It's a beautiful day, no one's going to get burnt."

She was correct, it was a beautiful day, cloudless and incredibly sunny.

I figured the UV factor was probably a full-on 10.

I know I had SPF 50 slathered all over every inch of skin.

One of her friends responded, "Well, so-and-so said she once got burnt when it was only 40 degrees outside!"

Jaws dropped.

All I'm saying is, the people in front of us were not the brightest.

Meanwhile, on the polo field we saw dogs frolicking, balls being kicked, Frisbees tossed and many kites being flown.

But no sign of rugby players.

And, horror of horrors, we heard a rumor that it was going to be a touch rugby game.


From a full-contact sport with the slogan, "The only pain in rugby is regret"?

Halfway through the Rose, I wandered down to the Port-a-potties by the horse barn where I found a far shorter line than the one inside.

When my turn came, I took care of things with my usual expediency (I am known for my brief visits), meriting applause and the remark, "Thanks, Speedy!" from the guy in line behind me when I emerged very shortly thereafter.

Everyone has to have a talent.

Back at camp, we sipped our wine (finding the 2012 more cranberry-tasting than grapefruit, which was our primary memory of the 2011), and watched the familial tableaux unfold around us.

A preppy-looking guy talking to a bunch of girls about his Cessna.

A trio of very buttoned-down looking business types, all with tattoos on their white legs.

Two little red-headed girls whose skin was burning in the sun before our very eyes.

A stocky kid from the New Jersey clan (white Oakley sunglasses, braided red and white necklace, basketball shorts so long they met his socks) wandered over to the tree under which we were sitting.

Fingering it and obviously looking for conversation, he asked me, "Why is the tree wet?' as he touched where several branches had recently been cut off.

I explained sap to him while the grown-ups with whom he'd come got progressively loopier.

After a couple hours eating, sipping and observing, we got the official word.

The rugby game wasn't going to happen.

I can't say I was sorry to miss the abomination of touch rugby, though.

Even without a game, the winery had been an ideal picnic spot for a sunny, breezy afternoon.

Driving out, I saw white chairs set up in front of an arbor and figured a wedding was in the offing on this beautiful night.

Rounding the bend in the driveway, I spotted a plein air painter perched on a hill recreating the pond below.

So the polo had been canceled and the rugby game never materialized.

It was a gorgeous day to drive to the mountains and have a birthday picnic.

Or, as the haters might say, yet another way for me to celebrate my never-ending birthday.

And the problem with that is...?

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