As a pup, I was obsessed with the Kentucky Derby. When I try to think back to the first race I can properly remember, it was Grindstone crossing the line in 1996. And after each Triple Crown Race, I would set after the newspapers armed with scissors, a glue stick and a large piece of poster board to action a proper collage.
If you were to peek under my bed during those days, beyond the dust bunnies, you would have found stacks of these collages. Lovingly tucked away, year after year. If you were to look at my bookshelves, you would find them overrun by the Thoroughbred and Saddle Club book series, each of which I read diligently.
Which is to say NOTHING at all of Carmello, my invisible horse. She would be turning 18 this year.
I was horse crazy. Which is probably the only reason that when I was finally forced to quit ballet lessons, riding lessons were offered up as an appropriate replacement.
I can’t imagine what my parents possibly could have thought would come from all of this.
We all know that last year’s big bucket list crusade was the Encierro.
But with all of this in mind, I can’t really say that Marcus really knew what he was doing when he asked me what I thought about going to the Kentucky Derby this year about a month ago. By that, I nearly lost my mind in the bar.
And here we are, a month later with tickets ordered and a hotel room less than two miles away from Churchill Downs. It is really happening. We are going to see the Kentucky Derby (and the Kentucky Oaks!). In keeping with the rule that you should live your life in a way that would make your childhood self proud, I am extremely confident when I say that Tiny Katherine would be overcome by this development.
Hell, I’m nearly overcome by this development. I always dreamed of going to see the Derby, but I also always thought that I’d be that 60-year-old woman getting surprised with tickets by her family on the TODAY show or something like that.
So yes, this means that we are embarking on America, The Road Trip: Part II. It also means that over the next two months we are going to have to investigate just about every frock, hat and fascinator on the face of the Earth to source Just The Right Ones. It really means that for the first time on the First Saturday in May, I won’t be singing My Old Kentucky Home along to the karaoke-style lyrics on the television.