|"Paul Revere" poses with USDF members at the convention welcome reception. Photo by Jennifer Bryant.|
OK, so we didn't actually go to the touristy watering hole (with accompanying gift shop, of course) named for the long-running TV comedy set in Boston. We did pass "Cheers," though, on our way through Faneuil Hall Marketplace to our destination, Ned Devine's Irish Pub, site of the 2014 Adequan/USDF Annual Convention welcome reception.
|Making merry at the welcome reception, sponsored by NEDA. Photo by Jennifer Bryant.|
|Region 1 member Fran Severn and "Molly Pitcher" deep in conversation. Photo by Jennifer Bryant.|
The reception was generously sponsored by the New England Dressage Association, and NEDA president Kathy McHugh greeted attendees. A DJ spun upbeat tunes and encouraged USDF members to visit with the costumed "Molly Pitcher" and "Paul Revere," who willingly posed for photos. A coincidence that more people clamored for pix as the party progressed and the open bar saw more action? I think not.
|Exterior of Quincy Market. Photo by Jennifer Bryant.|
The picturesque marketplace, aka Quincy Market, was dressed in its holiday best, with the trees lining the walkways adorned in twinkling white lights. Carolers entertained passersby. On the bus back to the convention host hotel, we passed a park where a large Christmas fair and tree-lighting ceremony was taking place. Surprised at the massive crowds, we looked more closely. It turned out that much of the turnout was for a demonstration against the recent Staten Island grand jury's decision not to indict the NYPD officer after the Eric Garner chokehold death.
|Carolers at Fanueil Hall Marketplace. Photo by Jennifer Bryant.|
|Bronzed basketball shoes of beloved Boston Celtics legend Larry Bird in Fanueil Hall Marketplace. Photo by Jennifer Bryant.|
For a moment, against such a serious backdrop, the concerns of a dressage organization seemed frivolous. Even the holiday merriment, juxtaposed against the sign-waving protesters, suddenly felt out of place. But in truth the events served as a reminder that even though peace on earth hasn't happened yet, it's still worth striving for. Maybe, given life's twists and turns, it's even more important to embrace the uplifting times. I know that's why I hold fast to my love of horses and dressage, and why people travel every year to the USDF convention to renew friendships and do their part to help our sport. When we attend convention, we're among friends. Come join us!