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French Braid – Tying Together More Than A Little Hair

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172 – June 2017

By Peri Norman

When I started in showing dogs, it was considered impor- tant to have your hair secured so that it did not get in your face when you were moving or stacking the dog. I would squirm impatiently as my mother worked her magic so that my hair would not come loose due to my activity or the wind and rain. In fact, all were welcome and my mom did hair for many of my friends as well. Over the years, Mom has done her famous braids for her daughters, granddaughters and innumerable competitors in 4-H and junior showmanship competitions. If there are no children in need of braids, she will happily assist as a ring steward or in any form of hospitality. She is cool that way!

In more recent years, she has often elected to stay home from the shows. She’ll say something like, “You have your sister to help, so I will stay home and take care of some dogs here.” She will keep watch over the senior dogs and enjoy football games on the television. Phoning home with the dog show report is a big deal, as she always has words of encouragement, no matter who is calling; win or lose.

A couple of weekends ago, I was scheduled to judge my first all-breed Best In Show. My mother came with me. Her aspira- tions for my judging have always been grand, so I wanted her to join me for the occasion. Neither of us slept too well on Friday night.., just wound up from the drive, I guess. On Saturday morn- ing we were both up early and ready to go. With about ten min- utes to our intended departure time, on an impulse, I asked her to French braid my hair. It seemed like a good decision at the time because the wind that plagued our drive was still howling as we arrived at the show grounds.

What happened next brought tears to my eyes! People searched out my mother at ringside to comment on my French Braid. Professional handlers that I showed in Juniors with, adults who men- tored me as a junior, and people who had seen me at shows for the past forty years knew me with short hair. There was a verita- ble parade of people taking a moment from their busy day to chat with her. When I finished judging and headed back to the car, she regaled me with the stories and comments that people shared with her. In spite of high winds, blowing dust and cold, my mother had a day filled with blessings.

The next day, the story repeated itself. Some of the same lovely people and some new ones sought out my mother to share kind words and old stories. I judged my first Best In Show on Sunday and I think my mom had more fun than I did. I deeply appreciate Apple Valley Kennel Club for the invitation to judge their show. I can’t offer enough thanks to the people who were so gracious and kind to my mother. And I just can’t help thinking what a great com- munity we have at the dog show; tied together with common history and mutual respect and represented by a simple French braid.

Click here to read the complete article
172 – June 2017

Short URL: http://caninechronicle.com/?p=126741

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