With family roots planted deeply in Louisville, April is Advent to the Kentucky Derby…a time to cultivate the mint plant beside the porch, to dust off the bourbon bottle, to page through the recipes in the Southern section of my mind for the correct proportion of sugar to bourbon in mint juleps. And ice. Lots of crushed ice. I crush ice on only one day: Derby Day.

Then, The Hat. Wide, floppy, pastel. Maybe a little veil. A summery frock (dresses are for Northern gals) and killer high heels.

Yes, this correspondent has been to Churchill Downs.

But not to the Kentucky Derby.

The closest I’ve been to the Derby is eating watermelon in my grandmother’s back yard and hearing faint cries of “They’re Off!!!” My siblings and I would propel watermelon seeds across the lawn  – yelling “It’s Off!!” after every spit. Spitting was rude, even in our grandmother’s back yard. Gambling was forbidden, and bourbon was a sin.

We grew up. My sister and I consider bourbon one of the basic food groups. We’ve had the hats, the frocks, the killer high heels. We’ve been to car races, motorcycle races, horse races. We’ve been to Telluride and Albania.

But not to the Kentucky Derby.

I kinda like it this way. The Derby will always be that perfect spring day with no flies, no drunks, no traffic, no crowds, a day I wear the perfect frock, the perfect hat, the killer high heels and don’t spill my julep, sprain an ankle, or bet on the wrong horse.

A lovely fantasy to enjoy on my porch in Illinois while drinking mint juleps alone or with my sister crushing home-grown mint leaves between my fingers and wondering why it doesn’t matter at all that I’ve never been to the Kentucky Derby.



One Response to “DERBY DAY”

  1. Tweets that mention DERBY DAY « Stiggerink's Blog -- Says:

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