Missed opportunities

There was an inkling of a plan this past weekend; make a trip up to the Mid-Atlantic Spaniel trials. The trip would have been long ( ~10 hrs each way), but the reality is that it's not easy to get from here to ANY spaniel field trials without traveling at least 8 hours each way. I wasn't interested in going to compete. Emmie is just now coming off the injured-reserve list and isn't steady to wing-and-shot anyway, which is a real Rubicon for field trials.  Steady-to-wing-and-shot only comes in as a metric for Hunt Test at the Master level. 

I was really just hoping to drive 10 hours, stay in a crappy motel room and watch some quality spaniels in action; hopefully I'd learn by osmosis and generally pick the brains of those who would stand still long enough for me to sidle up.

As it happened, I didn't go.

I also didn't go to the 'inkling of a plan' #2: the Southern SXS; held on this same weekend.

While this was in NC and would have only been a ~7 hour trip each way, the likely-hood of wanton drooling and physical pangs over my particular financial situation was much higher. (why they have this thing right after tax time, and right when my $ is due for our hunting lease is beyond me!)  Booth after booth of guns.  Properly aged, well mellowed guns that I could actually pick up and handle?  Booth after booth of accessories: leather, waxed cotton, brass fittings, tweed....not that I'm all worked up about that kind of thing.

No I wasn't going to do that to myself.  I will have to appreciate the beauty and smell of burnt cordite, but it will happen in my mind, not at the range.

Of the two-I think I would have chosen to go to PA, and had I done so I might have had an interesting time.  Before I got Emmie I was in deliberations over getting a cocker, a "super-cocker" to be more precise. I honestly can't say why we wound up not getting the cocker, but we didn't.  In the end I think I was concerned (probably overly so) that this would be more dog than I was able to handle.  I really can't tell you for sure, only that when I told the breeder our decision I figured I'd never hear or see anything about them again.

Well, the spaniel world is small. Turns out that the 4th place at this field trial was one of the pups I was looking at, and her progeny was #1 ("super-cocker" indeed):
Darcy and Ruthie-belonging to Walter Leytham
When I found out about the win I contacted the seller and congratulated him. It's been five years, but I wouldn't have held it against him if he told me to piss-off for wasting his time back then.  Part of his reply today:
I am sure glad I kept her.  She was the runt, but from the time she opened her eyes, she couldn't keep them off of me.  It was like I was her whole world. I decided she was mine.
I don't know what would have happened if I had gone ahead with my purchase, but I don't think I have wasted my time, and I hope in hindsight, he doesn't think I wasted his.