Clydesdales, Meadowbrook carts and a Russellpit dog. Friday my wife Julia and I went to the Dixie Draft sale in Troutman, North Carolina. As a couple, this is an annual chance to catch up with friends. For me, it’s a chance to remember an ear ache and a soft ball line drive from the 1970s. And then there are the dogs.
The Dixie Draft Sale
The Dixie Draft Sale is held twice a year – April and November – at the Iredell County Fair Ground outside Troutman, North Carolina. From wagons to plows to a horse or mule to pull them with, this is the place to come for all things work horse. It’s a primo place to people spot and dog spot. Your chance to get a glimpse of what’s in that old barn you’ve driven by a hundred times and wondered what’s inside.
The Dixie Draft Sale – or just the Troutman Sale if you’re the kind of person that can’t come to the sale without a trailer to haul home the loot you plan to buy – is a decades-old affair. It’s held at the same venue where – 40-plus years ago – I showed my pony Snowflake.
This is the same place I learned how not to stop a line drive with my face.
How (Not) to Stop a Line Drive
It’s here, at the Iredell Country Fairgrounds, in the mid-1970s, that I learned not to catch a line drive baseball in front of my face. I did that. Once. In the field where the sale is held. The batter hit the ball. It came straight toward me. I reached in front of my face. Hands straight out. Framing the ball up in the heart shaped opening between my thumbs and forefinger.
The ball slipped through my ten-year old grip and beaned me on the chin, leaving me with an earache that convinced me I’d broken both my ears.
I’d just learned of ear bones and walked around the next days with a ringing in the back of my head. I was sure those hammer and anvil shaped bones had snapped as crisply as a stove dried wishbone.
But my dad reassured me it was just my jaw bone that had rammed my ear and said nothing about how stupid a way it was to catch a ball. He told me, he had done the same thing as a kid. I felt a lot better after that, like I shared a common bond with the man who’s hand held mine like a catcher’s mitt.
Here’s the scene 40 years and 40 paces from where I learned how not to catch a softball.
And now….Dixie Dogs.
The sale may be about horses, mules and horse drawn implements, but one of the things I enjoy most is checking out the dogs. They’re everwhere: on leashes of chain, rope and bailing twine. They peer from vests, coat pockets and back packs. They beg for fried pies, french fries and pets.
Here are some dog pics I though you’d enjoy.
Coming tomorrow: Dixie Faces, some of the faces and friends we came across today.