She had always been fascinated by racing horses...
One of my favorite Derby memories was the Spring before my grandmother died. We lived in the same house, surrounded by a garden of perennial borders, and somehow, we decided to hold a Derby party, just the two of us. But, as we agreed, we’d do it our way, watching TV in her 1930’s Federalist Revival living room.
We took down some old straw hats from the attic, and I went to the craft store and got a lot of trimmings. We spent the day before, decorating two hats, as we would like to be seen in “F and G”. Mine had a fake dove on it, she preferred fresh flowers from the yard.Both used a lot of ribbons and such.
She couldn’t drink, and I didn’t like bourbon, so we decided on iced tea as our Derby drink, with lots of crushed ice and mint. We spent a few hours making deviled eggs and other Derby-oriented snacks.
I got a copy of the Racing Form, and “Beyer on Speed”. We each picked a horse. I can’t remember which one it was, except that we spent a lot of time talking about it.
And we watched. Since there were a zillion commercials, I was prepared. I had “The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved”, by Hunter S. Thompson. Seeing that a) Thompson was taking no drugs more controversial than heavy drinking, and b) it was, and is, a truly funny story, that pauses every so often, she and I found reading it aloud, passed around every block of commercials.
Neither horse won, placed, or even showed. We were happy anyway.
Can’t imagine why I’d remember this, except that if you’d like to do the Derby, this is one great way to do it.