City Lights in San Francisco, Powell’s in Portland, and The Last Bookstore in Los Angeles are my favorite bookstores. I am sure each of you have one as well. I hate the demise of bookstores, and still try to buy as many as I can through Barnes and Noble, as well as local stores wherever I might visit.
Speaking of books: One of the only countries to come out unscathed by the digital era’s death blow to the printed word, Portugal is a country that still loves books. In these atmospheric, utterly charming bookshops and libraries, you can spend an hour–or two or three–remembering that the power of the written word is made all the more exquisite by the tactical experience of a book. Spending time with Portugal’s rich literary history can help you steal some insights into Portuguese culture: its seafaring past, its Jewish history, its classic romantic tragedies, and its affinity for political subversion. These spots, made for bookworms, also boast some of the country’s most stunning views, its best local drinks, and–like any good book–tons of potential for adventure.
I believe our bookstores characterize our people and culture about as well as any other indicator. Some will tell you our society is defined by its educational institutions, yet still others say it is our churches, bars, cultural venues, and recreational facilities.
So, what is it about books? Some people prefer electronic readers. Some prefer podcasts. I still prefer hard copy.
I carry at least two or three books when I travel: a light reading, John Grisham type of book, a heavier, more thoughtful book like Dostoyevsky or Ishiguro, and a travel guide or two. I tend not to rely on electronics, since it eats up my battery. I need the GPS when things get somewhat confused, like Uncle Leo.
Informal trading of books is quite common on my trips as well. I can trade with the hotel, a travel friend, or a book exchange. The only danger is that I might end up with a book that I have read before!! No harm, no foul!
In some third world countries, finding a book in English is a HUGE problem. But the best option is to find a used bookstore, invariably beset with many old “dime” novels in English. You might find treasures like Saroyan or Hemingway, or “dime novels” like Danielle Steele or Clive Cussler.
Whatever you do, just be prepared. Reading really helps to pass the time, and who knows? You might learn something, like a new word, or an old word, used differently.
Books tend also to encourage conversation with strangers. Quite often, a stranger inquires about the book I am reading. Or, I might do the same. Heck, that is how I met a “fat” guy named Bob on a flight to DC. Bob turned out to be the actor, Robert Duvall.
Never under estimate the power of the written word!
I did not realize this: An astonishing 4 percent of the world’s cheese ends up stolen, making it the world’s most stolen food (via Time). If the global percentage holds true in the United States, then that makes 4 percent of roughly 12.7 billion pounds annually (via Agricultural Marketing Resource Center), or 508 million pounds of stolen cheese. How heavy is that, exactly? If the weight of an average car is roughly 4,000 pounds (via the Environmental Protection Agency), then cheese thieves steal the equivalent of 127,000 cars worth a year. Suffice to say, it’s a lot.
I can understand why cheese is stolen from grocery stores. It is expensive, small enough to place in a pocket or purse, and nutritious. I don’t think I have ever stolen any cheese, from a store. But I once attended a large welcome reception. Upon leaving, my frat brothers and I discovered a HUGE wheel of cheese, untouched. So, we brought it back to the fraternity house and had cheese for a semester.
In my working days, the two most stolen items were razor blades and Preparation H. What a strange combination! Blades are expensive, and again, small enough to hide in a pocket or purse. Most are locked up now at retailers, and often have an anti-theft sticker as well. Even today, razor blades remain numero uno.
But (pun not intended), Preparation H is stolen, but not for the obvious reason. It was once considered a great wrinkle remover, before it was reformulated several years ago. Women were stealing it faster than condoms being stolen by teenagers in heat! Retail, in general:
Teeth Whitening Strips
I think this tells you quite a bit about our society. Material things still matter, more than personal hygiene! So, if you steal, please go for personal hygiene. Deodorant and body washes may rise to numero uno on the list!
The numbers are rather staggering. I appreciate the island culture being so cautious. Perhaps all states could learn something from them. The Hawaii Tourism Authority says visitor arrivals to the islands in July fell by almost 98% compared with the same month last year.
Most of the visitors last month were from the U.S. mainland, and only about 2,100 were from international locations.
For the first seven months of the year, arrivals plummeted nearly 65%.
All arriving visitors are subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine, a measure that for months seemed to keep the coronavirus at bay in Hawaii.
But now, after the local economy began to reopen and restrictions eased earlier this summer, Hawaii is seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases, spurring yet another round of stay-at-home orders and business closures.
We have dear friends there who were temporarily laid off from their tourism related jobs. We have other friends On Kauai who were not affected. In either case, a state that depends on tourism must address this pandemic is a more aggressive manner. Kudos to them!
We have a trip planned for February. But with the pandemic, we plan to visit only Kauai, and skip our normal jaunts to Honolulu to see friends, and to Maui for its usual splendor.
Meanwhile, according to USA Today:
Tourists and travelers are beginning to return to Las Vegas, but mostly by highway and well below pre-coronavirus pandemic levels, according to airport and convention authority reports released Thursday.
McCarran International Airport said it handled 1.6 million arriving or departing passengers in July, down nearly two-thirds from the same month a year ago but up 56% from a million people in June.
Highway travel to Las Vegas approached the levels of summer 2019, reaching 90% of the total a year ago, according to the regional Convention and Visitors Authority. Traffic jams are again common on Interstate 15 when weekend visitors head home to Southern California.
I usually hit Vegas about twice a year. We have dear friends there, and we love to visit them. We go, not to gamble, but to visit, and perhaps some outdoor activities. Our friends who live there are now in California for the summer.
Whatever you do, please keep in mind that Hawaii and Vegas need our tourist dollars, once we get a vaccine, and return to a semi-normal travel routine.
Japan has the world’s oldest population, with an average age of 47 and a life expectancy of more than 81 years. More than 28 percent of its people are over the age of 65, ahead of Italy in second place with 23 percent, and compared with 16 percent of Americans.
But Japan has recorded 1,225 deaths from covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, compared with nearly 180,000 in the United States. In Japan, 14 percent of the deaths were in eldercare facilities. That is compared with more than 40 percent in the United States, despite a lower proportion of U.S. seniors living in nursing homes.
The disasters that unfolded in nursing homes in the United States and Western Europe during the pandemic have exposed the neglect and underfunding that have bedeviled elderly care in much of the West. Japan’s more positive experience may offer important lessons for the entire industry as it reviews policies and protocols for the next possible world health crisis.
The contrast is partly because Japan reacted more quickly than Western nations to developments in nearby China, and swiftly tightened controls on staff and visitors at its eldercare homes, said Reiko Hayashi, deputy director general of the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research.
Looking briefly at Japan’s demographics: Population is 126,476,000. The fertility rate is only 1.4, but a rate of 2.1 is needed to actively replace itself without immigration. Life expectancy is 85 years (88.1 for females, 81.9 for males). Median age is 48.4, quite old for a modern economy.
But culture also appeared to play an important role: Experts point to a higher priority given to elderly care within society, stronger measures already in place at care homes to prevent infections and high standards of hygiene.
I can point with great admiration to my cousins. One situation, where my elderly Aunt was confined to a memory care home. My cousins brought her back home since they were not allowed to visit, and she was not lucid enough for Facetime or Zoom.
In another, my cousins removed my two Aunts from Fairwinds, and placed them in a private care home. At Fairwinds, they were isolated in their own rooms, meals were brought to them, and all group activities were eliminated. In the private care home, they could watch television together, eat their meals in the same room, and enjoy some freedom (in their bubble) outside of their own bedroom.
I am so proud of my cousins (Chrissie, Nate, Kenny, Gayle) for doing this. Yes, they can afford both the time and financial resources to do this. But they decided to honor their mothers by making their lives better. And I believe our culture and upbringing resulted in doing what is best for my Aunts.
The pandemic has brought out the best in some people, like my cousins.
My first question is: Do you think global warming might have a role in the plethora of fires here in California?
California wildfires: Heading into the historical heart of its wildfire season, California already has set a record for acreage burned, as well as its second, third, and fourth biggest fires ever. Precious parkland is among the charred lands. The AP reports that new wildfires are ravaging bone-dry land during heat waves; locals, disrupted by the pandemic, are now contending with emergency airlifts and power outages.
I am headed over to a Red Cross temporary shelter at Clovis North High School today. If you can find it in your heart, please feel free to donate cash or food to your local Red Cross. Or better yet, volunteer your time. We need you now.
Thank you for all the people displaced by the fires.
Chronological aging is inevitable. However, you have control over how well you will age.
Coach Hughes wrote this eBook for all roadies age 50 and older. It will teach you how you, too, can fight the physical effects of chronological aging:
1. Assess honestly your strengths and weaknesses using the American College of Sports Medicine’s recommendations and the Athletic Maturity quiz. 2. Exercise consistently year-round. Use it or lose it applies even more to mature roadies. The older you get, the faster you lose a type of fitness if you don’t exercise that type. 3. Train wisely to avoid setbacks and injury. 4. Plan how to combine the riding you love with addressing the areas in which you need to improve and then set goals and track progress. 5. Ride aerobically year-round to maintain and improve cardiorespiratory fitness. 6. Include intensity workouts that are appropriate to your goals. 7. Strength train regularly to complement your riding and to maintain your capacity to do activities of daily living. 8. Stretch regularly to increase your riding comfort and to maintain your capacity to do activities of daily living. 9. Practice balance drills to reduce the risk of falling, the number one reason mature people go to the emergency room. 10. Engage in weight-bearing activities as part of your aerobic and strength training. 11. Balance exercise with the rest of your life so you get sufficient recovery and avoid overtraining. 12. Have fun!https://www.roadbikerider.com/register/anti-aging-12-ways-you-can-slow-the-aging-process/
Here are some of my secrets or hints:
Balance-do not go extreme in anything, whether food, diet, exercise, or ??
Fluids-drink plenty of water. If you use sports drinks, as I do on hot days, please dilute with ice and/or water.
Avoid high impact (as you get older) sports, like running, basketball, tennis.
Stay out of the heat (or the extreme cold).
Forget about quantity, emphasize quality of your workout!
Wear sunglasses when exercising outside.
Always buy the proper shoes for each sport!
Wear a hat or cap when exercising outside in the sun. And sunscreen.
Sweat bands always come in handy.
Carry an energy bar just in case!!!
Above all, have fun, meet new people, reward yourself during and after!!!
From National Geographic, a totally, non-political magazine and organization:
Today, we celebrate the people whose work requires them to be on the front lines while so many others work from home. More than 55 million Americans work in jobs that are deemed essential, according to the Economic Policy Institute (pictured above, John Tolbert, a New York City bus driver). Social distancing is not an option for many of these jobs. Many essential workers work for low pay and without protective equipment. Some work anxiously, fearing exposure to the deadly coronavirus. Too many have died after contracting COVID- 19.
Honestly, I never felt like I was an essential worker. I just felt I was doing my job. And I never expected either recognition or extra pay. But I did take strong exception to remarks by Orangeman that health care workers were stealing and selling PPE! Excuse my French, but he is an SOB for saying that about us. If he had even a slight clue about health care, he would know that we support each other, even the competition, in times of need.
So, I salute you, the farm workers, the delivery people, the postal service, and anyone else who had to help out during the pandemic.
I doubt I will ever be a vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian, or flexitarian. But I will confess to periods, as short as a day, maybe longer, where I avoid eating red meat or chicken. One of my favorites now, is eggplant, an often-forgotten purple vegetable. What do any of us know about it? Another favorite is Brussels sprouts, along with many Chinese greens (like gai lan), names of which I cannot spell or pronounce very well. Here is more on both:
From “Explore” Health: Eggplants, one of the few purple vegetables you’ll find in a mainstream market, aren’t very popular with consumers. In fact, they don’t even rank in the top 20 veggies sold in the U.S. But after reading about the nutritional benefits of eggplant, you may want to step up your intake. Here’s the lowdown on this somewhat mysterious plant, and easy ways to incorporate it into your everyday eating routine.
One cup of cubed eggplant provides just 20 calories, but offers up some important nutrients. Anthocyanins, the pigments that give eggplants their purple hue, have antioxidant properties linked to anti-inflammation and obesity protection. Another, called nasunin, is particularly good at fending off free radicals, and protecting cells from damage that can lead to premature aging and disease. This may be especially true in the brain, making eggplant an important food for protecting against neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s.
Eggplant’s chlorogenic acid supports immunity through its antimicrobial and antiviral activities. And a cup of eggplant also provides about 10% of the daily target for manganese, a mineral that helps produce collagen and promote skin and bone health. The veggie supplies smaller amounts of folate and other B vitamins, potassium, and vitamins C and K.
In addition to the antioxidants, nutrients, and fiber eggplants provide, they may offer protection against the top killer of men and women in the U.S.: heart disease. Eggplant anthocyanins have been shown to help reduce artery stiffness and central blood pressure in women. Central blood pressure, the pressure in the aorta, which sends blood from the heart out to the body, is a predictive measure of heart disease and stroke. Anthocyanins also help prevent the oxidation of “bad” LDL cholesterol, a precursor to artery hardening, which can lead to either heart attack or stroke.
Eggplant is a non-starchy, or low-carb vegetable. A one cup portion, about the size of a baseball, contains just 5 grams of carb, and just 2.5 grams net carb. In addition to supporting digestive health and bowel regularity, eggplant fiber helps regulate blood sugar and insulin levels, and supports weight loss by boosting fullness. It also makes a great filler when cutting back on other higher carb foods. For example, serving one cup of cubed eggplant with a half cup of cooked penne pasta instead of the reverse saves about 20 grams of carb per meal.
Eggplants are a member of the nightshade family, which also includes tomatoes, bell peppers, and potatoes. Tom Brady famously avoids this group, due to compounds they contain called alkaloids, which are linked to inflammation. If you have an existing inflammatory condition, such as rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis, avoiding nightshades may help to not exacerbate your symptoms. But there is no solid research to show that nightshades cause inflammatory conditions to develop.
It’s also important to know that steaming, boiling, and baking all help reduce the alkaloid content of nightshades by about 40% to 50%. In addition, you lose out on the anti-inflammatory antioxidants and other nutrients nightshades provide when you avoid the entire group. If you have chronic inflammation consider trying an experiment. Without making any other changes to your diet, cut out nightshades for two to four weeks and monitor your symptoms. If you do notice a difference, and symptoms return after adding them back to your diet, minimizing or avoiding them may be for you.Another favorite of mine, Brussels sprouts (also from Health):
Brussels sprouts (yes with an s, like the city) are named after the veggie’s history of cultivation in Belgium. Part of the cruciferous vegetable family, the sprouts’ cousins include cauliflower, kale, broccoli, cabbage, collard greens, and bok choy.
Low in calories, at less than 40 per cup, Brussels sprouts are also low-carb, packing just 8 grams per cup raw, including 3 grams as fiber. And they’re nutrient powerhouses, providing a range of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and a little bonus plant protein. Here are seven more impressive reasons to incorporate them into your regular eating routine.
Brussels sprouts are antioxidant powerhouses. One study found that when volunteers ate about two cups of Brussels sprouts per day, damage at the cell level was slashed by nearly 30%.
The fiber in Brussels sprouts (about 4 grams per cooked cup) helps regulate blood sugar levels, supports digestive health, and helps feed the beneficial gut bacteria tied to positive mood, immunity, and anti-inflammation.
One cup of cooked Brussels sprouts packs over 150% of the minimum daily vitamin C target. This important nutrient acts as an antioxidant, supports immunity, vision, and iron absorption, and is needed for collagen production.
Per cup, cooked Brussels sprouts pack over 250% of the recommended daily target for vitamin K. In addition to helping to clot blood, this nutrient plays a role in bone health and may help protect against bone loss.
Compounds in Brussels sprouts act like natural detoxifiers, meaning they help deactivate potentially damaging chemicals or shuttle them out of the body more quickly.
In addition, the sulfur compounds in Brussels sprouts are known to reduce ulcer risk by limiting Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) overgrowth and preventing bacteria from clinging to the stomach wall.
Just to cleanse your palate: Life Savers made their debut in 1912, when chocolate manufacturer Clarence Crane decided to branch out and produce a candy that wouldn’t melt as easily in heat. According to ThoughtCo, their name came from their life-preserver-like shape, which was created by a pill-making machine. The first flavor Crane used for his product was peppermint, which was sold as Pep-O-Mint when Edward Noble bought the rights to the candy in 1913.
So, there are two of my favorites. When I eat them, I automatically feel better, good fiber too. Not because I am trying to be a vegetarian, but because I really enjoy eating them.
Being from California, you have no doubt experienced my bias toward California wines. No doubt, I like Napa, Sonoma, Central Coast, Lodi, and Central Valley wines. But you know I have experienced wines in other places, like Mendoza (Argentina), Bordeaux (France), Champagne, Willamette Valley (Oregon), central Washington, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain, Romania, Stellenbosch (South Africa), Chile, among others.
But looking at the totality of wines and vineyards yields a different look at wine. Only 18.3 million acres of vineyards on the globe (for wine and table grapes) according to the new 2019 statistical report just out from the OIV (International Organization of Vine and Wine). Just 5 countries represent 50% of all the vineyards in the world: Spain with 13% of global vineyards; followed by China (12%), France (11%), Italy (9%), and Turkey (6%). World vineyard acreage has been on a decline since 2003. Where is the U.S.? The U.S. is fourth in the world.
The fun begins
With the recent wild fires here in California, the wine production numbers could be radically altered. This will either change the types of wines we drink, or raise the prices since Orange man imposed tariffs on French wines. My suggestion for you is to stock up now on the wines currently in the store. And you can always buy wine from areas least affected by the fires.
Exactly 4613 wineries (and 5900 growers) are currently operating in California. The state accounts for 43% of all the wineries in the U.S. but 80% of the wine produced. Admittedly, the California wine industry is the most mature in the country—the number of wineries in the state has grown by only 27% since 2015. By comparison, Texas and Michigan, in the Top 10 most wineries per state, have grown their numbers by 84% and 80% respectively. California’s dominance of the U.S. market makes it the fourth largest wine producer in the world.
And: September is California Wine Month, the state’s annual harvest celebration. Each year, wineries, grape growers and regional associations across the state host special events and tastings, and 2020 will be no exception. However, due to COVID-19 concerns, this year’s festivities will take the form of virtual wine tastings and tours, live-streamed auctions, digital cooking demonstrations, special wine discounts and the first-ever virtual grape stomp. California Wines has also created a Harvest 2020 Playlist on Spotify to help put wine lovers in a harvest state of mind, wherever they happen to live.
First, some history: Historically, an enoteca was a wine library; a place where bottles of wine were displayed. Today, the word enoteca is also used to indicate a wine bar where a curated collection of wines is available for tasting. The most famous enoteca in Italy is the Enoteca Italiana in Siena which was once a de Medici fortress. Cooperage is the general term for containers used to store wine. Small barrels, large wooden casks, and stainless steel tanks are the most common kinds of cooperage, but containers made from concrete, fiberglass, and glass are also employed . In California, one of the newest forms of cooperage are concrete eggs which have been used by high end wineries for a decade. How many of you remember the cute place on Union Street, named The Cooperage??
The name Burgundy dates back to the 6th century when a barbaric, wandering Germanic tribe known as Burgondes established a settlement in central France after the fall of the Roman Empire. They called the region Burgundia. However, even before the region was named, grapes grew in Burgundy. The area’s first documented vineyard was planted in the village of Meursault in the first century A.D.
One is the number of drinks that the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee recommends as the maximum daily alcohol consumption for men. The National Association of Wine Retailers (NAWR) is challenging the federal report, as it cuts the prior recommendation of 2 drinks (in place for 30 years) in half. The NAWR believes the report represents an anti-alcohol agenda—not a conclusion based on scientific evidence. Its fear is that once published, these guidelines will lead to restrictive legislation. I guess I failed??
So, please make sure you have either a designated driver or Uber nearby.
And the wazzoo to Champagne, France for dumping their grapes. Poor champagne growers don’t want to make champagne this year since it would lower prices. Seems people are drinking less of their stuff during the pandemic. Here in California, farmers must bring their crops to market, since they have crop loans and other benchmarks for financing. So, cry not for those inglorious and greedy growers in Champagne.
In the overall weirdness that defines our 2020 pandemic year, the “Run for the Roses” takes place today, instead of the first Saturday in May. And while it feels and looks weird, the excitement will build by this afternoon. I enjoy the crowd in their hats as much as the race. But we will be here at home, in our hats, with a mint julep in hand, rooting for the winner. And I will reiterate, it is the “most exciting two minutes” in sports.
BTW, we had the BEST Kentucky Derby parties back in the Bay Area. Ask anyone!!! We had off track betting, hat contest, mint juleps, champagne, and best of all, FUN!!!!
Written in 2008, on our only trip to see the fabulous “Run for the Roses” (the 134th) in Louisville, Kentucky. Fast forward to today, Derby Day is always a great event, in Louisville or here at home!!!
We are headed to Louisville, Kentucky on some free United tickets we got last year when we voluntarily bumped ourselves off of a flight to Washington DC. We do not know what to expect, but we hear the Kentucky Derby is the largest party in the world and the most exciting two minutes in sports. We also hear that there is a famous horse race that day as well. I bought two grandstand tickets on eBay, just in case the big party in the infield gets a little too crazy. The guy we bought the tickets from is a brewmeister from Chicago, and invited to his pre-party about 2-3 blocks from the Churchill Downs Racetrack on Saturday.
We hope to see how Maker’s Mark bourbon is made, visit the Louisville slugger (baseball bat) museum and the Muhammed Ali center. We want to get a taste of famous Kentucky home cooking, including a visit to Colonel Harland Sanders (recipe developed in 1939) and his Kentucky Fried Chicken. Kentucky’s bourbon trail is also known for Jim Beam and Wild Turkey brands.
Kaelin’s in Louisville claims to have invented the cheeseburger in 1934, served with homemade potato chips. Two famous drinks here are the Mint Julep and the Kentucky Cocktail, a mix of bourbon and the local Ale-8-One ginger soda.
Most people think Louisville is the capitol, but it is a little town of 30,000 called Frankfort. Only 4 million people live here. Kentucky is also the home of Fort Knox, and the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln, among other famous people. Bowling Green, KY is where Corvettes are made. So, tune in, NBC at 1pm PDT on Saturday for the race. Look for us around the 1/16th pole! Go Big Brown!
Yes, Big Brown won the race in 2008. It was a wonderful experience, seeing everyone dressed up, wearing their festive and huge hats. The southern experience is a bit different from either coast. A little more subdued, but rich in tradition. We started hosting a Kentucky Derby party at our former home in Pleasant Hill, always the first Saturday in May. We generally started around 1pm, though race time was about 4pm PDT. We served champagne and mint juleps. We did some winner take all betting, first place only, for $1 per entry.
But the highlight each year was the Derby hat contest. Derby hats are a BIG deal in Louisville on Derby weekend. Very traditional women bring two hats, one for the Friday Kentucky Oaks race (fillies), and one for Derby day itself. I can testify to this excess since all of the overhead bins on our flights to and from Louisville were filled with hat boxes. When we arrived in Louisville on Thursday before the race, we did not have a hat between us. But after a nice brunch buffet in downtown Louisville, the wait staff convinced (they insisted) us that Sheri needed a nice hat for the Derby. So, off we went to a pop-up hat boutique on the second floor. Wow, the prices ranged from about $100 to $500! She found a suitable, not quite affordable hat, quite decorative, and soon the hit of the hotel, and their staff. I ended up with a Derby baseball cap, boo hoo!
The morning of the Derby we watched people heading over to the track. One group of enterprising young men actually carried a full sized sofa into turn one of the race track! These people are serious about the Derby, and as we soon found out, serious about partying. The attendance was 157,770 people, not including horses. Imagine our shock when the bus showed up at our hotel for the 30 minute ride to Churchill Downs. We figured it would be easier than driving, as the locals had warned us. But the bus turned out to be an old yellow school bus. Some of the bigger people had trouble getting into their seats. Add to that, no seat belts, and more importantly, no air conditioning.
It was an interesting ride. Churchill Downs is a spectacular place, dressed in its best for Derby week. But even more spectacular were the Southern belles in all their finest sun dresses and hats. Even the gents wore white suits and straw hats! The drink lines were longer than the food lines, as expected. We managed to find some lobster rolls, and soft drinks before finding our seats in the grandstand, between turn 4 and the finish line.
After we found our seats, I headed to the long champagne line. I decided I would buy TWO at a time, since the line was very time consuming. What a great idea. But Sheri was getting a little overheated in the Southern heat and humidity, and ended up resting, and cooling off at the track urgent care center. And it seemed forever until the Derby race itself.
Post time was 6:15pm EDT. We bet on Big Brown, the overwhelming favorite, who won by a big margin (5 lengths). I went to collect my winnings and head out to our school bus. Sheri meanwhile, went back to urgent care, but was turned away. They only allowed one “rest” visit!! Can you believe that type of Southern hospitality? Anyway, we decided to leave quickly, and it turned out to be a “blessing in disguise”.
Eight Belles, the only filly in the race, finished second. But during her run out and cool down on the back stretch, she fractured both front ankles, and had to be euthanized at the track. I could not bear to see it, even on reruns later that evening back at our hotel. Over the years, we continued our Derby parties at our home. We decorate in Derby fashion, with lots of plastic and paper horses. But again, the highlight is always the hat contest. We give prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd. We even have a professional hat maker, Sara, in the group. I will post some photos of our parties. And remember Stephen Foster’s ballad, “the sun shines bright in the old Kentucky home…..”.
I strongly suggest you go at least once. Not necessarily a water pail or bucket list item, but certainly right up there with Wimbledon, the Indy 500, the Masters, and the Olympics. I would gladly go again!!!