Sunday, May 30, 2010
This is a weekend rife with tradition for me. One of the traditions is the Indianapolis 500. My dad was a big fan. When he was a kid, sitting in a grade school in Omaha, Nebraska, his teacher caught him gazing out the window and gigged him for day-dreaming. He told her than one day, cars would go by that spot at 100 miles an hour. He wasn't far wrong. The school he went to is long gone, and Interstate 480 goes right by where it was. OK, the speed limit isn't quite 100, but he had the vision.
Anyway, before I even learned to drive, I knew that the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend was for church picnics, a little pick-up baseball and the radio broadcast of the 500 mile race at Indy. AJ Foyt, Mario Andretti, Al Unser... big names. I was listening when Janet Guthrie broke the gender barrier by simply qualifying and starting in the 1970's, and I was rejoicing the other year when Danica Patrick got the first lap lead for a woman driver!
So, that's one part. The day before or after that was the trip to the cemetery, to visit the graves of relatives, and hear the war stories. We always decorated my grandfather's grave with his own hybrid iris (by the way, that is his "Age of Innocence" in the background of the page at the moment), carefully preserved by his widow. We'd hear the stories of how he was taken prisoner in the same battle in which his brother died. We would finger the flag that had been his honor. Now, with my son in the service, it takes on a different flavor, but the same meaning. Memorial Day is a special time to recognize those who serve, and especially those who gave their all in doing so.
So, iris, racing, and honoring those in service. Today I honor them all. And keeping myself as fit as I can, that's a part of it all.
So, in honor of Dad and Mom: ladies and gentlemen, start your engines!