Day at the races

Published 7:00 am Thursday, November 6, 2014

On Saturday, I called my father to check on his well being and was told that I would most likely have to call back another time as he was watching the Breeders’ Cup on television.
For those that don’t know, the Breeders’ Cup is an annual horseracing event.
Now I may not know much about football or sports in general, but I know a few things about horse racing.
Every year for as long as I can remember, I traveled along with my parents, sister and Paw Paw to the New Orleans Fairgrounds.
We always left early, as Paw Paw was sure that we would be late, even though we were usually there at least an hour before the first race. According to my Maw Maw, he was always ready well before we were scheduled to pick him up.
He and my dad would study the racing forms in the car.
I always feel a rush when we pull into the parking lot and begin to smell the dirt, horses and of course the delicious corned beef sandwiches and bread pudding made daily.
The rooms are filled with men and women cheering on their favorite horses while watching the numerous television screens displaying races from tracks across the country.
My Paw Paw always knew how to pick a horse.
He taught me how to read a racing form and would have tears in his eyes when my sister and I would pick a long shot that won.
For you see, my day at the races was not about winning or picking the best horse, it was about spending time with my family; including one of the most important men in my life, my Paw Paw.
He has since passed on and the racing track is not the same, but we still go every year and my vivid memories of him envelop me every time.
There are many such memories including his sneaking (he was a diabetic) off to eat bread pudding, his glasses falling down his nose as he read the racing forms, that smile when he won a race, his laughter when my dad picked a loser (which is often) and the overall pride and joy I felt when being with him.
If you don’t already, take the time one weekend to enjoy a day at the races. Take my word for it, you will have fun, forget about the stresses of everyday life and create lasting memories.

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