Memorial Day Memories

by Ed Meyer

posted on May 25, 2020 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, | No Comments >>

Memorial Day Picnic Menu


If I listen close, I can still hear the band. – They are far down Oak street, but music echoes in the distance. – My town was like the one most called home. – Firetrucks and police cars blaring horns and sirens. Girl and boy scout troops, decorated veterans walking proudly waving to the crowds as they walked the streets they protected. – The high school band complete with majorettes and rifle squad followed closely by the kids of the town riding bikes, mini-bikes, go-carts, as others just walked behind. – Pride, display, and memories. They always are with me.

Mom would be up early making fried chicken, potato salad, and other goodies. Complete with drinks and something sweet, it would all be packed into a carrying basket. She was magic. Fifty pounds of food would fit neatly into a basket and nothing left behind. – We would leave early to find our family spot. – It was under an oak tree, and the shade would provide a cool place where blankets and lunch would be served. Kids playing and running around as others just found a place on the grass. – Our yearly trek was at River Downs. My Mom, Dad, and brother. My grandparents were there as we gathered to enjoy the day. – As soon as the parade had finished, my grandpa would hustle back to his car and make the drive to the track. He didn’t want to be late, and God forbid miss the double. – My parents would plant flowers on my Dad’s family graves the day before as my brother and I would walk around and look at the markers. We were always together, and Memorial Day was the official start of summer. With only a few days of school left, kids were ready and waiting for long sunny days and warm humid nights. It was magic. –¬†Gathering at the track was probably not on the list of “Miss Manner’s” places to spend with family, but it was perfect for mine. – Dad and papaw would walk down the apron watching and wagering, as my Mom and mamaw would sit and talk in between naps under the tree. – It was perfect.

The years under the oak tree remain in my fondest memories. – Over the years, people have passed on, and others have gone their separate ways. – But the simple times of going to the track each year where some of the best. – As a kid I loved playing with the others and as I got older I was allowed to venture down the apron to begin my love affair with racing. – When I worked at River Downs later in my career, I made sure to walk down on Memorial Day to remember. – Since those days it had changed completely, but the ghosts from the past remain. I could still smell the fried chicken and the goings-on of the day. – Take time today to remember those that have given so much, and be grateful for these magical times from your past.