The Inside Rail

I turned 48 Monday. I’m OK with that. Happy to be here. As we get older, some lament another birthday, wishing to be younger. I don’t wish to be younger, wiser, perhaps, but not younger. I think about our friends who aren’t here and think about how much they would want (their family and friends would want) another birthday, just one more birthday, then I don’t dare wish to go back in time, I try to cherish a day, a day in the now. Not my specialty, but that’s what I try to do. The highlight of my birthday was when Miles stood up and gave a toast to his dad, now that was a birthday present.

I asked my friends for experiences, not possessions, may we spend more time together this year, more time doing things we want to do, rather than what we have to do. I want to go kayaking with the Ambroses, hunting with Robert, hiking with Jack H, skiing with Jack F., running with Crambo, anything with my nephews and niece, racing with Dad, Andrew, Joey, talking with Mom, laughing with Sheila, enjoying life rather than stressing about life with Annie…just a few birthday wishes.

Racing in full swing, I’ve been a lot of places since my last post, that Cheltenham one about Valdez’s debacle. Aiken, Camden, Aiken again, Orange County, Elkridge-Harford, to name a few. I’ve grown to love the point-to-points again, for-the-sport-of-it wafting over the grounds, the Maryland timber season in full swing now, with the annual stop at Elkridge-Harford last weekend. Somewhat new to that course, I’m never sure from where to watch a race, then I look and see Paddy Neilson and Dr. John Fisher leaning on the big post-and-rail fence at the top of the hill, by the first fence. I go there, stand with them, they know. They actually know the fences I don’t know, the ones over the hill, ones with names, the Drop, the Coop…

Biedermeier and Jewish Holiday run and jump and well, learning their paces. Riverdee’s first two-horse entry in a race, in a timber race, a point-to-point, imagine. Settle down Mom, one needs to wear a blue cap and the other red. Jewish Holiday, in red, jumps well and pulls up before two out, the plan. Biedermeier, in blue, galloped comfortably, jumped fluidly and finished second, Mark Beecher explaining why he sat still at the last and me explaining how much I appreciated his discretion. We dream of bigger fences, bigger days.

This weekend is tricky, engagements at Tryon, My Lady’s Manor, Keeneland and Little League. Experiences, either way.