Between now and May 7th the calendar goes something like this: Administrative Professional Day (4/27), Take your Daughter To Work Day (4/28), Arbor Day (4/29), May Day (5/1) and Cinco de Mayo (5/5). Which means if you're a Latin-American woman who has a daughter and works as an administrative assistant for a tree company, you’re in for one hell of a week.
I contemplated writing a separate post for each of these special days but then I said, “Meh.” Which (I think) is a Jewish term/phrase that my son uses regularly when he’s not impressed. So since I had little about each of those special days this year to impress you, I decided to skip ahead to Derby Day.
The Kentucky Derby race is almost always on the first Saturday in May. This year it falls on May 7th. Who wouldn’t want to watch all the celebs wearing their big old hats getting drunk at a race track? Churchill Downs at it’s finest. Even if you don’t know anything about any of the horses before the race, you will by the time the race starts because everyone gets sucked into each horse's story. It’s no secret that the horse whisperers are the geniuses behind each successful horse. And every year we all appreciate a Cinderella story about a jockey or two. All the while, the horse owners nervously sit around as the cameras try to capture them enduring this emotional day. It’s all very magical how the day unfolds. First you get “pumped up” - according to KentuckyDerby.com, Mint Juleps are available for sale as soon as the gates open which is 8am. Celebrities walk the red carpet between 12p-2p. Then you “count down”. Starting with the National Anthem (Lady Antebellum), a toast of champagne, the horses walk from the barn to the paddocks (the starting line), the jockeys mound the horses and everyone sings ”My Old Kentucky Home”. At 634pm the horses take off and for a moment in time you say a little prayer. Come on. In minutes, the race is over. The mint juleps are spilling all over the place because you’ve won! Your horse has won the race! And to add to your wealth - you also hit a trifecta - a.k.a box trifecta, where the 1st, 2nd and 3rd places are in the exact same order of horses that you bet. You won even more money! It’s an amazing day. Last call is usually around 805p which is the post time of the 14th race. If you had your first Julep at 8am and your last at 8pm, you had a long, happy day.
This is how I remember Derby Day and yet I have never gone to see this race in person. I have watched it on TV for as long as I can remember. Years ago when my hub was able to enjoy this day with me, he would bring home the notes about each horse. I would always, always , always pick a horse by its name or number. Hey, no judging! But my hub would study things and have discussions about the odds. He was a natural at picking winners. He always won. It was such a fun day for us. Nowadays work gets in the way so we can’t enjoy Derby Day together. I’m hopeful that one day, it works out that we will go to Churchill Downs together and win in person. So whether you stay home, go to a party or make it to the actual Kentucky Derby - dress up with your floppy hat on May 7th and be sure to hand over some thoughtful pinches to your friends and family. A Mint Julep or a winning bet will do just fine.
I’ll leave you with a cheat sheet of more thoughtful pinches for this week: Tomorrow, be sure to wish a special administrative assistant a happy day. Enjoy showing off your daughter at work on Thursday. Plant a tree in honor of a newborn baby on Friday and watch them both grow for years. On Sunday, ring your neighbor’s doorbell and leave a small basket of treats on their doorstep. If you get caught, you have to give them a hug or a kiss. And last but certainly not least, I’m sharing my sister-in-law’s recipes for mojitos and margaritas so that you can pinch someone on Cinco de Mayo.