I think I went on a family vacation to Kentucky in 1979. I was 7 years old. I could have the year all wrong. I’m writing this on a whim and my parents are not available for comment/confirmation so this story is unconfirmed. (I would be a lousy reporter.) Anyway, this is significant to me for today is the Kentucky Derby.
I think it is crazy how we remember so little about our childhood except for random details. This is one of the details I remember. It was summertime and hot. We went to a horse race at Churchill Downs and bet on a horse. I don’t remember if we won. I watched a horse get its horse shoes put on. We bought a horse shoe full of dried mud and it hung on my pink wall in my bedroom for years. My biggest joy that day was picking up all the ticket stubs off the ground…betting stubs? They were all sorts of colors–purples, oranges, yellows and speckled. I kept those things for years. To me, as a child, we had just seen the Kentucky Derby (it wasn’t). I remember loving it. It was hot, humid, dusty, and green. We bought a glass that had all the winners written on it and I remember Secretariat’s name. I thought it was a crazy name and could not understand why there were no horses named Rainbow Connection. To me that was an obvious pick.
My parent’s still have that glass as far as I know, again, this story is unconfirmed. Every year as long as I can remember we had a Kentucky Derby “Party” at our house with me, my mom, and my dad. It consisted of a yellow black and white TV being put in our green sun room (with extension cords) and maybe having hamburgers on the grill and a special drink in that glass? Details are fuzzy. It’s a good memory though. That and the trip to Kentucky.
I was 7. I have a 7 year old now who is about to turn 8. I wonder what snapshots of his childhood he’ll take with him into adulthood? Those memories are like dreams. I don’t remember the before and the after, how we got there, what we did next. I just remember a handful of randomness.
The race starts at 6:24 pm today. I think I will grab my little guys and make them stand with me as “My Old Kentucky Home” is played.