A night at the races
Submitted by Connie Holloway
Daddy was an elementary
school teacher which meant that he wasn't paid much. He took often odd
jobs in the summer just to make ends meet.
The summer I was
ten years old, he took a job as a night security guard at the horse
track in Ocean City about 30 miles away. The track was home to trotters
On a beautiful summer
night, Mother and I went to the track with Daddy and I placed my first
bet. Daddy told me to bet on Vicki Dean to show. Mother disagreed saying
I ought to bet on her to win as she was the best horse at the track.
I was cautious and took Daddy's advice.
We watched the race
with anticipation and great excitement. Vicki Dean won coming in lengths
ahead of the second place trotter. Mother gave Daddy an "I told
you so" look, but I didn't care because the best part of the night
was still to come.
Daddy had taken
me to the racetrack to spend the night so I could see what went on behind
the scenes. After the race, we walked the stables watching as the horses
were cooled down and put to bed. I got to see Vicki Dean up close. She
was a beautiful dark brown, small in stature but big in heart.
Daddy woke me up
before dawn. At first light, a few trainers were harnessing up their
horses for a morning run. Daddy and I hopped in our small Fiat and drove
right onto the oval track where we slowly circled as the trotters passed
by. In the early morning mist, the clop-clop-clop-clop of hooves was
all I could hear as, one by one, horse and harness emerged from the
And then it was
time to go. Being a typical bratty ten year old, I begged to stay longer.
Daddy said we had to go but assured me that we'd come back again. We
Over forty years
later, the experience still burns bright in my memory. There were two
winners that night: Vicki Dean, and me - because I realized I had the
best father in the whole world.