A Note about Sugarbush Draft Horses

I see it over and over again, and no matter how many times it's said, it's still wrong. "Sugarbush Drafts are just an Appaloosa Draft Cross". Uh.... no. The Sugarbush Draft Horse was a breed created many years ago in Ohio. While the initial cross was made using Percherons to Appaloosas, in the many generations following, the breed has been solidified into a consistent type. Saying these horses are "just" a draft cross makes as much sense as saying that AQHA horses are "just" a Thoroughbred cross, American Cream Drafts are "just" a dilute Belgian, or that Morgans are "just" a grade.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten Years Ago Today, The Towers Fell.

The alarm went off early that morning.  I had to be at work by 8am, and I'm so good at being late.  But that morning I couldn't be late.  Dr. P was out of town, and it was Susan's morning off.  In other words, I would be the only one at the clinic that morning.  We had a couple of patients from the day before; spays and neuters that stayed overnight to recover from the anesthesia.  I had to be on time, because they had to be fed, watered, and walked.

I drove about an hour to work every day, and I remember that it was a lovely morning.  My windows were down, the late summer air smelled good.  I can't remember if it was fresh cut grass or flowers, but I remember thinking it smelled very nice as I drove through the countryside.  I had the radio going, and had almost sucked back the whole cup of coffee, but that was ok, since I would make a fresh pot as soon as I got in to work. 

Morning radio is always nothing but talk.  Not enough music, and too much yapping, but it was better then driving in silence.  I'm not a morning person.  Silence makes me want to crawl back in bed.  So when I heard the guys talking about some tragedy, I didn't really pay too much attention.  It's morning DJs, a "tragedy" could be anything from spandex on the wrong woman, to the music awards.

Then I heard the sound for the "breaking news" cast.  Some jingle, or intro voice over.  I can't recall, but I did turn up the radio.  The anchor was talking about a plane hitting the World Trade Center.  Ok, so this has happened before.  I expected a days news cycle dedicated to some stupid punk teenager with a new pilots license, and was hoping that there was minimal loss of life.  The anchor mentioned that reports on the type of plane were inconsistent, with some saying it was a cesna, and others a 747. 

Now, my brother is a pilot.  I've flown in a Cesna.  They aren't exactly big.  How you could have such widely varying descriptions boggled my mind.  I turned up the radio again, and rolled up the windows.  A few seconds later, he announced that it was a large commercial plane, followed almost immediately with the news of the second plane hitting the tower.

At just that moment, I pulled into the clinic.  I needed to open the gates, so I could drive through, but I didn't want to miss the news.  I rolled down the windows, cranked the stereo, and scurried out of the car.  As I fumbled with the gate, they confirmed that it was a commercial flight.  The guys on the radio gasped in shock at the thought that this could be an attack, and not just an accident.  I got back in, and drove up close to the door, so I would miss as little news as possible.

My Uncle works there you see.  Not in the big WTC buildings, but at another smaller building just below them.  I wasn't sure how close, but I knew that it was too close for my comfort. 

As the news poured in, I walked dogs, fed the patients, and listened closely to all the speculation.  I heard about the Pentagon, and flight 93 being lost.  I listened to speculation about Russians, and Air Traffic Control problems.  Every one had a theory, and every one was willing to share.

They closed the skies.  No planes allowed to fly over the USA.  Working within mere miles of an airport (Alliance carries packages, not people for the most part) I was stunned when I saw military planes over head.  They were making sweeps it looked like.  But we're out here in the middle of NO where.  About the only thing important in the area was the Texas Motor Speedway.... which was not even holding an event.

Later I learned that some small plane pilot wasn't quick enough to land.  He was "informed" that nothing in the air meant him as well.  I bet he crapped his pants when a couple of F 16s (or what ever they are) gave him an escort!

But hearing the news on the radio is very different then seeing the visions of the burning towers, and all the tragedy that went with that.

My friends called me.  My family called.  My clients called too.  Every one checked on everyone that day.  I have to admit, I couldn't understand the client who came in weeping.  She had never been to New York.  Didn't know anyone in New York.  Didn't even really know what the World Trade Center buildings were.  But they were falling, and she was in tears. 

My brother was chosen to call my uncle's family.  We knew he'd be busy, and not able to respond, but at least if we got in touch with his wife, we'd know if he was ok.  It made more sense for one person to call then all of us, so my brother was chosen.

Uncle John was supposed to have been on vacation that day.  He had slept in, had a wonderful breakfast, and then heard the news.  Of course, he had to head to work.  He's an FBI agent.  He was needed to help.

When my shift was done, I headed to a friend's house.  I walked in, and asked to see the news.  Craig turned it on, and Laura yelled from the kitchen that she was sick of watching that crap.  She came around the corner, and I appologized, and told her I hadn't seen a thing all day.  Trapped in a vet clinic with no TV, I couldn't wrap my mind around the idea that those 2 very large, very strong buildings had fallen.  

Laura on the other hand, had been working at the hospital all day.  Every room she walked in, every patient she cared for, every human who was aware of what was happening had been watching it.  A million channels, a million opinions, and she had been innundated with it all for hours on end.  We sat and watched for a bit, and I saw the replay.  When they said the towers collapsed, they meant it.  I had invisioned a chunk falling off, or holes in the walls.  Complete rubble was beyond what my mind could grasp.

Days later, I saw more coverage.  I learned about the people jumping from the windows in a vain last attempt to live.  I heard the stories of the brave firemen, policemen, and so many strangers who all did what they could to help their fellow man.  I saw grey.  Shades of grey on everything.  From the dust on the streets, to the pallor in the faces of those who had lost loved ones.  All of New York was just shades of grey.

I remember hearing one reporter comment on how at that moment, there was no racism.  Everyone was the same, covered in the dust of the twin towers.  Everyone was lost, everyone was scared, and everyone, for the first time in a city as culturally diverse as New York City, was the same.  Think about that for a second.

It's not just that hard times make us as a people pull together.  It's that hard times make us forget about the little things that really don't matter.  Who you're married to, what god you pray to, and how much pigment is in your skin are all rather minor things.

Today is the tenth anniversary of that tragedy.  We as a nation swore we would remember.  We promised to never forget.  It's not just about where you were, or what you were doing at the moment the towers fell.  It's more then that.  So many lives were lost, and the only thing we can give to their memories is our promise to be better then we were before.  To be true Americans and to love other Americans, even if they don't think the same as you.  Because in reality, that's what makes us so great.  So Powerful.  And so terrifying to those who would bring us down.

The terrorists will never win, because the freedom to be an individual is the most potent weapon on earth, and THAT is what this country is all about.


  1. It's interesting to me to hear it from someone so far away. I'm right in NJ. My dad was supposed to be in the towers and I am so thankful he was not. We all knew people in the buildings and saw the smoke and miss the towers in the skyline to this day. I can't believe it's been ten years already.