Thursday, 30 April 2009

Having survived the Boston Marathon and escaped Swine Flu (I think), I’d like to relate one of the more interesting experiences of my recent sporting sojourn to the States.

In between the Masters golf and the marathon, I spent a few days in Lexington, Kentucky, home of blue grass and the centre of the American thoroughbred horse racing industry.

The bloke I was staying with had some Amish builders renovating one of his farm cottages. As fate would have it, my visit coincided with an invitation for some Amish hospitality at their farm. Five days out from the marathon, I was slightly concerned about eating the Amish food, bearing in mind they do not believe in using electricity. So refrigerating or freezing food was obviously out of the question!

I need not have worried about food poisoning. Their salted and smoked meats were succulent, their vegetables fresh and crisp and their desserts were to die for. As an added bonus, after a week of weighty hospitality at the golf, there was no beer on offer.

With their pudding-bowl haircuts, beards-without-moustache, horse-and-buggy 19th century mentality, they’d be easy to dismiss as backward. Yet these kind, simple folk offered me hospitality the five-star Masters could never match.

Duckshooting is but one sleep away. For me it’s a great opportunity to return to Southland to my old home town for some quality bonding with some great mates. For many of us our friendship dates back to 1964 when we started out life’s academic journey at Riversdale primary school.

Some proved to be more scholarly than others but we’ve all done okay and, besides, all men are equal in the maimai. Included in our number are a doctor and a lawyer.

By day, the latter is a serious, pin-striped, charge-like-a-wounded-bull solicitor. Come opening morning he’s just a big kid who loves nothing more than dressing up in his latest Armani or Gucci camouflage gear. He looks, as I oft quote, like a hybrid-cross between Liberace and Rambo.

Early tomorrow morning, as we line up for breakfast at the Riversdale pub, he will doubtless frighten us again with his latest ensemble. Ironically the only ones with nothing to fear on the day from the camp combatant are the ducks.

So good luck to John Young and to all weekend warriors! Rest your weary heads tonight. At first light, the battle against the feathered foe begins.


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