If women went to the horse race track, I assumed they were tough broads, who wore red lipstick and drank bourbon. The closest race track to my childhood home was Arlington Park, and once or twice my friend's dad took us there. I remember it was very a big place, with a lot of old men. At the time I felt intimidated just thinking about all that money being spent by grownups on, of all things, horses.
I was fascinated, though, by the horses. They were so beautiful, with silky and shiny coats. They ran as if they had wings on their hooves.
Still, I was just a kid. I didn't have money to bet. I was not interested in ordering a yucky cocktail or puffing on a cigarette.
As I got older, and started wearing red lipstick and cocktails tasted pretty darn good, I maybe went to a horse race track once or twice. There remained an aura about them that didn't appeal to me. I didn't understand how to bet on horses, and I didn't like losing money. Yet, when I did go those few times, I loved seeing the horses.
I could have cared less about Album of Horses when I left home. I was 20, too mature for such childish stuff like horses. Oh but in later years I would remember the book and so wish I had saved it. And then at a yard sale last Saturday there it was. I bought Album of Horses for twenty five cents. My name wasn't in the cover page, but I felt as if I had found a piece of my childhood again.
I asked them, "do you ever invite your girlfriends with you on your race track trips?" The one guy said, "Nope. They'd want to talk." Right. Conversation. Why would women think that talking might be fun. Anyway....
In my Album of Horses book there is a painting of the Thoroughbred horse. When I look at it now, I think of the race track. Marguerite Henry wrote, "thoroughbreds are big in heart, high in courage, and they go on to finish the race." I hope I can be like a Thoroughbred, even if I get too old to physically race.