Every year, the day before New Year’s Eve, I like to meander to the clubhouse and pick up a few tabs and buy a few lunches. Kinda’ like playing Santa, but appreciated by the regulars just the same. This year, I saw things a little different.
I made my way around. I talked with more people, and shook hands with about every face in the place. It was on this day I was to be enlightened about the new plans for many for 2010.
Bob… He has a close shaved head and is built for war. He is in the Army, and loves what he does. But this year, he and his wife Amber were blessed with a little girl. This tank of a man was reduced to tears telling me that he didn’t want to go back this time for his rotation. In the past, he would have been first on the plane. But now, he has a 7 lb bundle that is on his mind. It was on this day, he was enjoying the races as his wife was out lunching with the girls showing off the baby. He has seven days till his plane takes flight back to Afghanistan. He doesn’t want to go, but knows that is his job… Starting 2010 has had some great joys and fears, as he told me. If there is an angel who watches over, Bob could sure use some divine guidance.
Sam…. A sixty five year-old-man who coughs more and more each puff. He has smoked for fifty years, and the toll has caught up with him… He always asks me who I like. We talk horses, and then we start on the Derby… He wanted to know my future bet, as his friend gets him on at a casino for winter book wager. I asked him who he liked… He just looked down with that smoke dangling from his lips… He said it didn’t matter.. He was going in to the hospital next Monday, and things looked very bleak… He just wanted to come out to the place he thought of as home. The Derby talk was just his way of making me feel more comfortable. My prayers are with him as he makes his journey towards the finish line… He shook my hand, and said he would call me next week with my Derby bet. He was going to call his pal to get it on, and then wanted me to hold the ticket. I sure hope that we both get to cash together.
Sally…. She has been a long time widow. She has been coming to the track alone for ten years. It was something she did with her husband for forty years. She had a glow to her on this day, and I asked if she had won big… She exclaimed to me “YES!” I have met a man, and we are getting married. We are going to be married on opening day at Gulfstream. He has been alone for over twenty years after his wife passed, and retired from a major chemical facility. They are so happy, and 2010 brings a renewed sense of hope and promise. The days of being alone are over, and hopefully there will be many more trips to the winner’s circle…. Good luck!
The changing of each year brings good and bad news. Being at a race track, you get to meet all walks of life. These are just a couple of the stories that I ran into on the final day of the year. I hope I get to see these folks rooting in the sun for years to come. The game brings many together, and it allows us to appreciate the excitement that life has to offer.
On behalf of WinningPonies, we wish you a safe and Happy New Year. May all of your winners be many, and memories be filled with joy.
Good luck everyone, we’ll see you next year!