The first Saturday in May means many things to many people- in the great Commonwealth of Kentucky, it means one thing to natives: avoid Louisville like the plague. The oldest organized sporting event in the United States is underway, and with it come hordes of tourists and celebrities who will wear intentionally and unintentionally ugly hats, sit in the rain, drink too much, and observe the Sport of Kings.
Of course, I'm talking about The Derby. We call it that. If you refer to it as the Kentucky Derby, then you're not from around here, are you?
Every year, my godparents throw a small daylong party for about twenty or so people. My godmother is rather a doyenne of society in the small southern Kentucky city in which they reside, so this shindig is tres intime, compared to some things she's hosted through the years. As the group ages, it becomes increasingly important for them to gather each spring to see who's still around and mark who is not; for example, last year, not long after the party, one of the ladies died quietly (and unexpectedly) while her husband was out for his morning constitutional. When I was in graduate school, I used to attend this function. Then, as the number of dogs at Chez Airedaleparent increased, it became my duty to stay in Smalltownland to a.) keep our neighbor's Derby party guests from parking on our lawn and b.)make sure that the dogs got their constitutionals.
Guess what I'm doing on Saturday? Well, aside from staring longlingly up the edge of the ridge toward Cricket VanArsdale-Smith's house at the marquee tent that will fill with guests around four-ish and not empty until, say, eight-ish.
Since I'm trapped at the Chez with my parents' three current dogs, I will also not be attending my best friend's Derby party in North Carolina. She discovered yesterday, somewhat to her dismay, that Derby party decor is not to be had in the Piedmont of North Carolina. Since this was a bit impromptu, there's no way for me to obtain and ship decorations and favors to her by Saturday. We're still knocking around ideas on how to get around this travesty. She did, however, tell all of her female guests that they are to wear hats. I told her to take lots of pictures, since Derby hats come in two flavors- serious and comedic- and I don't think she specified.
My supervisor has a truly unique solution to the Derby Day social dilemma: she's going to the Middle Tennessee Anime Convention. I will be catching up on crime show re-runs and trying not to strangle my parents' Basset, who will probably bay at the neighbor's guests all day. It's not like most natives attend the race, anyway; it's kind of like UK basketball- sometimes it's fun to go, but often as not, you get a better view on TV.