Today is the beginning of Derby Week in Louisville, Kentucky. The city literally shines this week and it is absolutely a blast to be living there during this time. The energy is so great and there are a ton of parties and festivities and I just miss being there so much right now.
There are certain quintessential elements to a successful Derby. I have talked about tradition a lot lately, and Brad and I have a few that we have perfected over the years, when it comes to Derby. Here is how our weekend goes, every year.
First there is the ham and the potato salad. My Dad gets a Honey Baked Ham every Derby and he makes potato salad and baked beans, and of course, a Derby pie. There are these really good buns you can only get in Louisville at Heitzmann's Bakery, and this is also where we order our boxed lunches every year - without fail. Anyway, my Dad's ham meal is yummy THE FIRST TIME. This is the only meal that is offered to you, breakfast, lunch and dinner. It is like that scene in Mommy Dearest, where she keeps serving up that same raw steak, only my Dad is not mad at you, he's just frugal and a leftover lover. That man will forcefeed you that meal until you gag at the site of it. Anyway, I can't eat ham anymore, and I tell him that I am observing Jewish holiday, when I go home for Derby now.
We used to go to the Oaks, which is the day before the Derby, and is kind of a local version of Derby. Many Louisvillians (pronounced Lul-vil-yens, my Mom can do it for you, and she will over and over again, until you want to shoot yourself) will just attend the Oaks, because the tickets are cheaper and they are just there to hang with their friends, anyway. Then, on Derby Day, they just hit the parties and stay away from the rif raf - meaning Brad and I. Brad and I cannot do both days, both financially and physically. He is obsessed with bettin' the ponies, and I am obsessed with Mint Juleps.
"The Company," (which is what Brad and I call it when we are betting together), has a rule, and that is that you can only have a Mint Julep if you win a race. Which brings me to the Mint Julep Derby story. Frankly, a lot of Derby stories could be labeled that, but this is the best one.
OK. One year, Brad invites his friend to Derby without really clearing it with me. He's all, "I invited "Dan", (we'll call him that because that is what we call him), and his girlfriend, but they'll never come. I mean, it's three and a half hours from Columbus."
Well, there they were in my parents' half circle driveway on Derby morning. So I don't know her at all and they do not have seats, so we stand in the Paddock the entire Derby instead of being "rude" and sitting in our seats. It's fine. I let it go, because whattaya gonna do and I was foggy from having gone to the Oaks the day before.
So we park, and we are walking into the Derby, (and this is important), and Gurlfriend X undoes her white halter cotton sweater top, sans bra, and asks me to tie it behind her back so as to make it into a strapless top, so she can "get some sun". She is brown as a berry, but whatever. I do what she asks because she is my guest.
She gets her first Mint Julep. She tells me it is really strong. I tell her the first one is, but then the second one tastes good and the third puts you in a blackout. She says she does not care as she downs the first, gets a second, and on the third starts talking to me about her "ticking biological clock". Am I in some sort of nightmare? I want to wake up, but I can't, so I just roll with it, as I've learned to do in these situations Brad puts me in (i.e. Karaoke in Japan, random house guests, etc. - you get the idea). So she drinks 5 Mint Juleps and then wants to take pictures. Her voice is at a fever pitch now - a squeal, if you will. It is the end of the day and she grabs a Churchill Downs employee who has to set down her tray of drinks. I catch an eye roll. Don't blame her a bit.
So, the four of us get in a bunch and we are smiling for the camera, and the woman is preparing to take the picture, and then she lowers it, smiles, and looks down and bites her lip. She composes herself, again, and then says, "Uh, honey, you may want to pull up your shirt..your tit is hanging out."
Girlfriend X yanks her makeshift halter/strapless sweater up, resumes her smile and poses for the camera again. The day turns into night and we go out to dinner and then it is the next day and Brad and I are driving back to Columbus.
"Hey, you remember Gurlfriend X's boob falling out of her shirt when we were taking that picture?" We both DIED laughing. "I wonder if she remembers it today?"
Two days later, a thank you note and some photos arrive in the mail to answer our question. On top is a photo of Gurlfriend X smiling her best smile, surrounded by the remaining three of us, who had not just exposed ourselves, with our eyes squinted closed and our mouths wide open. We are howling with laughter as the photo is being taken. She has no recollection or she would never have sent that photo.
Can't you imagine her thumbing through the pictures and saying aloud to her boyfriend, "Oh, this one is cute of me. What is everyone laughing so hard at? Oh, well, I'll just slip this in with the thank you card and put the duplicate in my "When Dan Was My Boyfriend Photo Book".
One of my favorite "mammaries", or is it memories? My advice to you today, is if someone tells you a drink is going to kick your ass, believe them. I wish I had taken my own advice, when Megan, my neighbor, introduced me to the "Mind Eraser" at the last Fourth of July street party. It would have saved me a lot of embarrassment and questions the next day, like "Really, how bad was it?" when I was reenacting the entire scene of Trading Places where Eddie Murphy has the party and gets mad at his guests because they were not respecting his stuff?"
"It would've been fine," Brad says, "if you had just stopped at the party scene. It just went on a little too long. Your last line should've been "It was a stone groove, my man" but it wasn't. That's okay. You'll never see those people again."
If you are interested in more information about The Kentucky Derby, click the link above. Or just stay tuned. I will be doing a series this week.