Excerpt from Still Me by Christopher Reeve, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Still Me

by Christopher Reeve

Still Me by Christopher Reeve X
Still Me by Christopher Reeve
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  • First Published:
    May 1998, 324 pages

    Jun 1999, 255 pages


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At an event in Massachusetts just a couple of weeks before the accident, Buck was stunning going cross-country. He just ate the course up; he had a ball, and so did I. This was very encouraging to me, because we'd missed some practice and a couple of events in April; once he had a sore back, another time he had an abscess in his foot, which kept me off him for more than ten days just at the time I would ordinarily have been shifting into high gear in preparation for the season. Perhaps I should have seen these as warning signs. But Buck was so talented and seemed to enjoy going cross-country so much and our partnership seemed so solid that I thought we were well enough prepared. Our performance at that event the weekend of May 14 seemed to confirm that all was going well.

In April I had moved to another barn in the Bedford area called Peace and Carrots (a very nice facility even though I couldn't stand the name) and was reunited with my first coach, Bill McGuinness. Most of the barns in the area concentrate on dressage or hunters or jumpers, but Bill ran the only combined training barn and had a group of half a dozen loyal clients, all of whom were as motivated as I was. They had decided to go to Culpeper for the Memorial Day weekend, and Bill invited me to come along to help keep expenses down. I knew from experience it's more fun to compete as a group, so I agreed to go and got an entry in at the last minute. I've since learned that this sort of impulsive decision is typical of many accidents.

At the last minute someone decides to get in another car or take an earlier flight. I would have preferred to go to Vermont; our summer house is nearby in Williamstown, and we could have stayed there. I've often thought that if I'd stuck to the original plan nothing bad would have happened. But Dana pointed out that if we'd gone sailing that weekend instead, I could just as easily have been hit in the head by the boom, knocked overboard, and drowned. An accident can happen at any time, even to someone who is cautious and in control.

In the spring of 1995 I remember that Dana and I were very busy doing our own things. Dana, a wonderful singer and actress, had several auditions that she needed to prepare for. I was riding a lot, getting ready for the season, and also involved in helping to rewrite the script for Kidnapped. And there were other things-my work for The Creative Coalition (TCC), a public service organization for which I served as copresident, social obligations, personal appearances, and speeches. This weekend was intended to be a family minivacation before going back to work.

The plan was that I would drive down, Buck would go in the big trailer with the other horses, and Dana would take our son, Will, to Washington by train, then rent a car, because we thought he would enjoy the adventure. We stayed at the Holiday Inn not far from the fairgrounds, which had a pool and a sloping grassy area where the three of us could kick around a soccer ball. I arrived ahead of them on Friday in time to practice that afternoon.

Dressage and cross-country were going to be on Saturday, and show jumping on Sunday. Buck and I rehearsed the dressage test on Friday afternoon, and it went well. That night we all had an early dinner at the Holiday Inn. Staying in a motel was a big deal for Will, who was nearly three. He had his own bed and his own room, and he felt very grown-up about it. When he unpacked, he put everything-clothes, shoes, toys-into one dresser drawer. We piled pillows around his bed and kept the door to his room open for safety. Of course, this meant very little privacy for us. Often we were apart on Memorial Day weekends because of our schedules. I think Dana was less than thrilled to spend this holiday watching me compete. She said to me, half-jokingly, "Next Memorial Day, I get to choose what we do." She was thinking: We really need to spend some time alone together. We'll just get through this weekend and we'll be able to reconnect again.

Use of this excerpt from Still Me by Christopher Reeve may be made only for purposes of promoting the book, with no changes, editing, or additions whatsoever, and must be accompanied by the following copyright notice: Copyright© 1998 by Christopher Reeve. All rights reserved

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