This was the signal that summer is drawing the curtains to a close. There will be no more swimming, and sunburns will be a bad memory. I remember as a kid that we had a family get-together, and it involved a day at the races.
Can you think of that? A day at the races? No simulcast, and nine races with a limited wagering menu. But, it was enough to play and offered up many years of stories and times shared with family.
My mom was the cook. She would make fried chicken and all 0f the summer time fixins to make a feast. My grandparents and aunt and uncle would make it with my cousins, as we would get there extra early to secure that multi-blanket spot under the oak tree. She would spread out four huge blankets for our temporary home for three hours. The kids would play, and the men would play the races. As is in any family, the women folk would serve up food all day long. It was unheard of to pay the horrible prices to eat or drink at the track. We had it all, and the day was always fun.
As I got older, the family went their own ways. I would have liked to remember when that last picnic was, because I would have tried to relish every moment with family. But, just as summer fades away, so do people close to our heart.
I began going with my dad, and eventually by myself. As a man who works at the same track, I catch myself looking down at that area thinking about my grandpa eating and betting all day, and the kids playing in the hot summer sun with the other kids brought by parents. But, just as summer, it is no longer there….. It is a memory, and it lingers as the end of summer approaches.
I think of the day in a whole different way. I work at the track, and I try and keep things fun and interesting for the people who come. It is my secret that I like to see them have fun, and when I see kids running around, it takes me back to a time when we would watch my dad yelling at the fence line for his pony thundering home. Things were simple, and the excitement was non-stop. So, as the end of summer approaches, think about coming out to the races. If you can make it to a live meet, do it before the summer ends. You have all year long to play at home from your computer. Get out and make some memories. I doubt you will have the chance for mom’s fried chicken, but do what you can and take in the day.