Happy Derby Weekend, you all! There is something magical about the Kentucky Derby that captures the imagination of so many. That moment when we Kentuckians (both of origin and those of us that got here as soon as we could,) get choked up hearing “My Old Kentucky Home” as we are again thankful for the subtitles that remind us of the lyrics. The two-second recap of the horses’ histories. The guesses of current celebrities as to who the winner might be. And although there is a lot of build-up, commercialism, pomp & circumstance, and other obstacles that come with popularity… at the heart of it, the Kentucky Derby is magical. Two minutes that we all hold our collective breaths and dare to hope, to dream, to be in awe of the wonder of it all.
Sometimes it is hard to find that place of wonder, so it is a comfort to have the ritual of the Kentucky Derby. To expect it each year. To know that so many people will get together in a tradition of hope, magic, and possibilities.
People have different traditions for Derby Weekend. When my girls were small, we would make silly hats and perch them on giant plush horses in front of the television to race along (http://www.bluegrassprincesses.com/laugh.html .) Then we moved on to decorated stick horses, hat cookies, and the girls helped craft their own rosy décor out of Dollar Tree items. We even chanced a recipe for Hot Brown Sliders this year and except for 2/4 “Ew! Do I have to eat the TOMATOES to get my cookie?!” reviews, they were a hit!
Some people don’t get the Kentucky Derby. For many years, I was one of them. To be honest, I still don’t exactly get the hats. But ever since the black Chicago Bulls hat I wore when I was twelve, I haven’t been big on hats anyway. So there’s that. Now I can sit back and look at the bravery it takes to wear something so original, colorful, and LARGE on your head and be in awe. Wishing I could be so daring.
Right now my kids enjoy the Kentucky Derby, look forward to it and embrace the magic. On a holiday level. (And their mama has been known to overdo holidays just a tad.) But I hold out hope that they are able to see past that in the years to come in their own way. That my daughters may actually attend one year, go all out and wear the silly hats and the dress and fully embrace the 142+ years of history and tradition as they translate it into their own lives.
I love that my girls, that SO many people, are open to the wonder of the Kentucky Derby. Because, really, it is the simple things in life that hold the most joy. When one is able to watch the most exciting two minutes in sports breathlessly in heels and a funny hat and, no matter the outcome, jump up and down amid 61,000+ other people who get together for the same, then maybe there is some hope for the world. When 61,000+ people are able to tune out electronics, status updates, selfies, tweets/twerks/insta-happiness-whatever the thing is these days, for a moment of collective magic… then maybe there still is magic.
Happy Derby Day, you all! May you never lose YOUR wonder.