It has been 52 weeks since I began this odyssey called Making the Days Count dot Com. A year ago, school was out and summer vacation lay before me. Today, we have six days spilt over two weeks remaining in the 2010-11 school year and the kids are antsy, the teachers are antsy, and we are all ready to move to the next level. The kids are excited about the next grade and the teachers are looking ahead to summer vacation, recharge and the mental reset for the next set of incoming students. For me it will be this year’s sixth graders and my next batch of seventh graders. In the meantime, it is Memorial weekend with parades, barbecues, and the Indy 500.
William and I will be driving to Indianapolis tomorrow morning, early. It will be dark when we leave and drive south. By the time, we reach the south side of Chicago and I-65 the sun will be up, welcoming a new day, and new possibilities. The sun rises early at this latitude (and this far east in the time zone) – 5:22 to be precise. It will be up until 8:18, giving us almost fifteen hours of sunlight. The Indy 500 is a fun day and William is excited. It is the 100th anniversary of the first running of the race and it will be a special race. I am glad I will be there – I have seen every race since moving to the Midwest in 1991 except ‘96 and ‘97. I have seen some great races and I expect to see one tomorrow.
This is where I stopped on Saturday morning……. I was hoping to get back – make a race prediction and briefly talk about Saturday plans – household choirs and getting ready for the race. However, I got busy with household chores and errands – more on household chores and did not get back to work on this post. Now it is Monday morning and household chores still loom, the race is over and it was a good one, and there is much to do.
Sunday morning was dark and foggy. The alarm woke me at 3:30 and I crawled out of bed grudgingly. It was better once I got up and moving. William was next to get up and he was more reluctant than I was until I mentioned that if he did not get up, he would be left behind and Olivia would get to go in his place. She had been lobbying hard to take his place but it was William’s ticket. We quickly loaded and pulled out of the driveway at 4:07. I had coffee and William had his iPod – a perfect match. I forgot something, sent William back into retrieve it, and watched as a coyote slowly walked out of the mist and crossed the road not 100 feet in front of the car. Ivy had been in the backyard only moments before – had they crossed paths? I made a mental note to remember to be more careful when we let her out at night and then we were off.
It was foggy and I drove cautiously – keeping the speed down. I could leave the high speeds for the drivers at the race and arrive in one piece; also, I was worried about deer crossing the highway and the fog would delay my reaction. I watched ahead, cautiously. Within an hour, we were on I-65 and headed south. I could see deer in the fields and an occasional carcass along the side of the road where one had tried and failed. William was conked out and sleeping and I was lost in my thoughts, thinking of the race, the day, the chores, finishing the school year, and the possibilities that summer held. Just ahead of us, a deer darted across the highway, missing the car ahead of me, dashed across the median, narrowly escaped a truck and made it safely across the highway. That was my deer story for the trip.
The Indy 500 is full of tradition. Jim Nabors singing “Back Home in Indiana,” Florence Henderson singing “God Bless America,” the parade laps, the balloons, and the winner drinking milk to name only a few. I have inherited several traditions since my Indy experience began in ’91, the first of which included breakfast at the Speedway Motel. They had demolished the motel several years before, but the kitchen and dining room remain, serving as a clubhouse for the golf course, Brickyard Crossing. I recognized a couple of the waitresses from previous trips and the menu was the same, all you can eat piles of bacon, scrambled eggs, sausages, sausage gravy, biscuits, fresh fruit, and pastries all washed down with coffee and orange juice. Fuel for a busy day. William enjoyed a full breakfast – two helpings and I grazed. Soon we were on our way and entering through turn 2 and under the track at museum. We follow the same path each year and this time William led, it was good to see. He was excited and knew where he was headed. We reached our seats and settled in.
The race was fun to watch. We watched our three drivers – Danica Patrick #7, Ed Carpenter #67, and Tony Kanaan #82 – and saw them move up and down. We listened on the radio and scanner and had a good time. It was a quick race and before we knew it, it was over. Our driver, Danica, lead for ten laps and energized the crowd fighting her way from back in the field at the start to lead. She had to pit for gas and gave up the lead finishing tenth, our other drivers finished 4th (Kanaan) and 11th (Carpenter). A rookie was leading with one lap to go, crashed in the fourth turn, and limped across the finish line to claim – second. Dan Wheldon won – his second win to go along with the two-second place finished, not bad. It was a good race.
After a long drive home, William and I unloaded the car and sat down to share the day with Beth and Olivia. They had stayed back but watched the race on the couch. Beth asked questions about the seat, the drive, breakfast, and about countless other parts of the day. She is the one who introduced Indy to me and later by default to William. I have been with her, her dad, her brother and his kids, and others to enjoy the race. This best part of the whole day, sharing all of the small parts and experiences.
So a year later, it is day after Indy, it is Memorial Day and I am off to a parade. Making the Days Count, one day at a time.