Kentucky Derby

By Sally

While living in Kentucky, I helped a lady with her cleaning. She was a kind of rough person, but nothing you couldn’t go along with, and she paid decently.

One day she asked me if I would be willing to help her son and his wife with their children. After talking about it, and being assured my dog Pixie would be able to stay with me, we drove out there to meet everyone.

They had an average home, very simple and nice, with 100 acres behind it. Very, very inviting, since I love to have space around me. Their yard was fenced in, perfect for my dog, and the children (3) were happy about having a dog to play with, and so was Pixie, a medium French poodle.

I was told I needed to give the father a diabetic shot if he could not do it himself, and cook for a diabetic, which was okay with me. They showed me how to prepare and give the shot. This was my first step into health care.

I was to stay there all the time. Where? I saw no provisions for me to stay. But they told me they had a small house in the woods behind their house where I could stay. We got into the car and drove about a half mile, and came to, what I would call, an unused cabin. The key to the door was not to be found, so we climbed through the window. There it was – a wood burning stove to cook on, an ice chest, a small table, and a pot belly stove for heat. I can’t recall the sleeping area, so you can use your imagination based on what I have described so far.

We tried to get the door to open, but no luck. They said they would buy me what I wanted to fix the place up. The bathroom was an outhouse. I was kind of hesitant about that, but also excited. Being surrounded by open land with trees and no restrictions seemed great. After I agreed, they gave me a car to take the children to a private club to swim, or wherever else.

It soon became my place in the woods! The first time Pixie and I took a walk, or should I say hike, in the woods, I was enjoying everything so much I neglected to take notice of where we were going until I realized it was time to head back. “Oh boy,” I thought, “Which way do we go?” After thinking and trying to spot something familiar (yeah, surrounded with trees all looking the same), I looked at my dog and thought, “Well, I’ve heard of animals finding their way home from great distances, so I guess I’ve got nothing to lose.” (There were no cell phones at that time, and probably wouldn’t have gotten a signal anyway.) So I petted Pixie and said, “Okay boy, let’s go back. Let’s go home.” Pixie stood there for a minute and I said, “Let’s go.” He turned and sniffed and sniffed and took off. I did my best to follow.

After zigzagging in and out of trees for a while, I saw a clearing and my little cabin. “Yeah!” I cried. I grabbed Pixie and gave him a big hug. We did more hiking later, but I kept track of where we were. Hind sight, you know.

What really brought this memory back was when I was watching the Kentucky Derby on TV. When I was taking care of the children, and the Kentucky Derby ran, the neighbor ladies came over and we all watched it together, placing bets among us, drinking tea/coffee, and serving some goodies they brought over.

One of the highlights of the Derby is seeing all the different small and extra large hats the women wear to the race. It’s one of the requirements of going there. Some are fairly cool; others, well, only big. And the race I watched last Saturday was no different. The hats were there and no one said, “Would you remove your hat lady?” because it was part of the show, and you just look or move around them.

I have always tied to watch the Derby. It’s a great race. The horses are like little kids, telling each other, “I bet I can beat you to the line.”

A lot of people were looking to a couple of favorites. But the one that was the winner was not mentioned much – until after it had reached the finish line with room to spare. “Always Dreaming” was its name. An exciting race! Yes, I was caught up and yelling too.

I was surprised that a horse that was just getting over an injured (broken, I think) ankle was still going to run. Unfortunately, it must have been hurting him, because after charging out of the starting gate, he became unruly and had to be removed from the race.

People pay a lot to enter their horses. They have to meet high standards to run in the Kentucky Derby. So I guess they try all they can to maybe just be in it. One man had to pay an extra $200,000 to enter his horse. They said why, but I don’t recall.

But if the horse just shows – like 1st, 2nd, 3rd, it gets something. I used to bet show, so I was almost sure of getting something back.

Yes, it’s one of the races I always try to watch. I never have picked a winner, though. But most of the time I come home with a couple of extra dollars.

May 2016