Saturday, June 9, 2012

Horse Scents

Odd the way in which my scattershot mind works. It occurred to me as I sat down to write this that today - June 9th - was Mom/Dad's anniversary. If memory serves me correctly, they were ten days shy of #32 when he died thirty-one years ago. She has now lived almost as long as a widow as she did as a wife. Amazing woman, my mom is. Extraordinary actually.

Time races right past me. It likely does the same to you. The older we get, the faster it moves. Or perhaps it just seems that way because we have lost a step or two. Matters little I suppose because the result is the same. Too many things to do. Too little time in which to do them.

W-H in Edison, which is the school from which Kara, Jill and I each received our high school diploma, graduated its Class of 2012 yesterday. I was reminded recently just how long ago it was that I roamed its hallways as a student. This past Sunday the school held a surprise retirement party for a faculty member who retired this year after having taught at W-H for a quarter-century. When I saw the news of the party it occurred to me that I had no recollection at all of Jane Brown, the retiree. And then I realized why I could not remember her. Her career - while lengthy and apparently very distinguished - began AFTER my time there had come and gone. When someone dedicates 25 years of service to an organization to which you have a personal connection and the entirety of her career takes place in an era that postdates your own, you get a none too subtle reminder of just how old you are.

At some point later this afternoon - early evening really I reckon by the time they yell, "On your mark! Get Set! Go!" or whatever it is they yell at the start of a horse race, the wonderfully named I'll Have Another was to have been among the horses at the starting gate in the Belmont Stakes, competing in the hope of being the first horse to capture the Triple Crown in thirty-four years. I was a boy of eleven when Steve Cauthen and Affirmed edged out Alydar for the third time in succession to capture the Belmont Stakes in 1978. At that time, it seemed to me as if the whole "win the Triple Crown" thing was pretty easy inasmuch as Seattle Slew had done it the year before and four years before that Secretariat had as well. I still recall standing in the living room in our house on Canal Road and watching Secretariat obliterate the rest of the field in the Belmont Stakes. He was so far ahead at the finish that it seemed to me had they added a second lap to the event he would have caught and passed if not all then most of his competitors.

I know nothing about horse racing but had he been in the field this afternoon - and presuming the Missus and I are somewhere close to a television set at post time - we would have stopped what we were doing to watch him take his shot at history. However, yesterday afternoon his trainer announced that his champion would not run in today's Belmont. He apparently injured his left leg and his trainer, no doubt realizing that his horse likely lacks the werewithal to walk the fine line between discretion and valor, made the decision for him.

Another year shall pass therefore without a Triple Crown champion being crowned. His trainer expressed concern that his horse's career may in fact be over. Must be nice to be retired at the age of three with nothing but a lifetime of hanging out in the pasture with your pals ahead of you. I suspect that we the humans are far more affected by this turn of events than the horse is. I am not a betting man but I am curious as to whether this particular equine can appreciate the difference what his life was like yesterday and what his life shall be like effective tomorrow.

Maybe the same can be said for a lot of us. Whether equine or human....


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