My memory is terrible. Details always disappear and faces blur in my memories, which is one of the reasons I persist in this blog; it gives me a point of reference, a way to recall what I was doing/thinking/feeling at a particular time. Unless the event is something I did over and over, it’s lost in the crevices of my mind. I remember the things we did regularly: Breakfast at Nancy’s when we lived in Boulder, where every week my mother would reprimand my father, “Butter or whipped cream. Not both.” The bike route I took every morning through the woodsy back areas on my way to elementary school in South Miami, when that stupid orange bike safety flag my mom made me put on the back of my seat would bend and get caught in the trees (this was in the pre-helmet days of bike riding. Remember those days?). The yearly Passover seders at my grandparents where my grandfather whipped through the seder and my grandmother made amazing potatoes, which was all I would really eat, because everything else she cooked was just this side of inedible. Cue Tevye, but for me, tradition is what it’s all about, and what I constantly try to reinforce with my own family. The kids probably won’t remember the singular things we do–the art projects and science experiments that were one-off–but they will recall what we do regularly: homemade hallah every Friday night, the book fairy who brings them surprise reads, our morning walks to school.
Which is why it was so important to me that my kids bet in yesterday’s Kentucky Derby. Because betting… it’s a family tradition from my childhood.
My grandfather loved a good bet. He always took our bets, didn’t matter if it had him betting against his favorite team (I’m pretty sure he was still betting on his favorites with a bookie). He taught me about spreads and odds and he always paid up promptly. When my grandfather passed away, my father took over the position of family bookie. He pays the track odds, plus 10 percent.
For the past week, the kids and I have been going over the horses. To my surprise, neither of them bet on Hansen (an all-white horse). I tried to convince Pie to put her money on Done Talking, but she clearly isn’t and refused to bite.
The way my kids bet so clearly defines their personalities. Doodles wanted to bet on both the horse with the best odds and the longest odds, so he had the potential to make the most money, but had a safety bet as a just in case. I told him one bet, so he went with the favorite (at the time of his betting), which was Bodemeister. Pie wanted to go for the biggest bucks. She kept looking over the odds to find the one with the longest odds, so her dollar was on Prospective. Adam was half asleep on his Saturday nap, so the kids pretty much picked for him: Daddy Nose Best. Watching the race was a family event, and even though Adam and I passed on the mint juleps this year, everyone was excited, even though all three of them lost.
As for me? Well, if you’ve read this blog long enough, you’ll know exactly who I picked. Guess that next round is on me. Tradition!