Anyone who has subjected themselves to my blog for any period of time knows that I am all about celebrating. I have never needed those funky calendars that give you the dates of festivals from other cultures and countries. I can pretty much fill all the dates on my own! LOL
Saturday is the running of the Kentucky Derby, the first horse race of the famous Triple Crown. I am not a gambler. None of my fascination with the Derby has anything to do with handicapping the race. It is all about the horses. I have loved horses every since I can remember. I loved riding; there are pictures of me riding the first time when I was only 2 1/2 or something. They had to hold me on the horse but the family story is that I totally refused the pony and would only sit on the big white horse. If it wasn't for the fact that my mom has a nearly preternatural terror of horses, I would think she was an indulgent parent who made up the story. I tend to believe it though, because she spent most of her time trying to convince me not to ride.
Thankfully, I was blessed with indulgent grandparents who paid for lessons. And with a horse farm within a hefty bike ride of the cottage where we lived each summer. I would bike up to there and sit on the fence watching. Just watching. And at days end, any unexercised horse could be ridden by yours truly. For free. It was bliss.
I lived breathed, drew and dreamed horses. I decided that I was going to be the first female jockey and that not only that, I would win the Kentucky Derby. (See if you bear with me long enough there tends to be a point most times) It might have worked, except that I suddenly around age 10 or 11 shot up and became tall. Ever look at jockeys? They are wee things. And sparrows weigh more than most jockeys.
Suddenly I was no longer just under 5 ft. I was 5 ft 6 and my dream was dead. Kaput. Gonzo. Mom probably did the dance of joy. I was petty enough to point out that it pretty much guaranteed I was not going to be a prima ballerina for a big ballet company. (I come from a family of dancers and this was the dream my mother and aunt cherished for me). Ballerinas tend to be wee sparrows too! I told them I could still breed horses, maybe train horses, work in stables. . . but the truth was, I really REALLY wanted to be a jockey and that was now a fading possibility.
But despite watching my dream fade, I never lost my love of watching the Triple Crown races. A joy that thankfully my children share with me. I am not sure whether it is the contagious enthusiasm of their Ooma screaming and shrieking when the race is on, or my re-telling the stories of the Triple Crown winners I have seen, but we all love it. We even (gasp) eat in the living room on Derby night. Trust me, I don't do eating in the living room as a general rule. And almost never in front of the TV. But Derby night is different. I don't know what we will eat while we pretend we are sitting at the posh race. I am thinking raspberry iced tea and lemonade with mint sprigs. Or I was thinking that till I heard about lemonade pie which sounds pretty darn neat too! When we do errands tomorrow i am going to see if I can find some silly hats at the second hand store and we can decorate them and look like those posh southern belles. . . I am not sure what the boys will decorate theirs with but no doubt their unique creativity could turn it into something hysterical. Whatever we do, it will be fun.