Thursday, May 6, 2010

Derby Day

Greetings, fellow equestrian afficionados! Hope you found the perfect hat to wear on Kentucky Derby Saturday! I had to go through my hat collection to find something appropriate not just for me, but for Cali, Malcolm and Bobbi as well. Since they don’t have human families, they don’t have one of those magic plastic cards that gets you stuff from the stores. It’s probably just as well - heaven knows what Malcolm and Cali might pick out! I can’t wait for Memorial Day to get here so Cali’s white shoes will finally be back in correct fashion!
I was planning on watching the Derby with my family. I figured Dad would whip up some mint juleps and Mom would make those little finger sandwiches I like. I feel so refined eating sandwiches with the crusts cut off! That was pretty much the extent of my plans until I ran into Bobbi in the yard. She asked what I was doing for Derby day. I told her I planned to wear a fabulous hat while sipping a mint julep and noshing on little tuna sandwiches. She said that sounded nice, and asked what time she should come over. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that it was a private soiree, so I told her around 4pm would be good. I knew that word would get out anyway, so I told Bobbi to make sure to invite Malcolm, Cali, Dot, Tux and Corny for me. I then got to tippy tapping on my computer to invite all my one-eyed friends. As the r.s.v.p.’s came in, I started getting excited about the party. Here was my chance to host the social event of the year! I told Mom she was going to have to make another couple of loaves worth of finger sandwiches for the Derby. Her eyes got all weird, but she agreed to do it. I told her to keep the crusts for my bird friends. I could put them in a lovely serving bowl for the party.
When Derby Saturday arrived I got to work! I headed to the backyard to get set up. I first set up the coin operated horses that my neighbor loaned me. I couldn’t resist trying out the carousel horse that was mixed in with the others. It had pinache – just like me!

After I finished pretending to ride around the yard, I put up the tables for the refreshments and Dad helped me set up the big screen tv.

I made sure to have spare hats on hand for anyone who might have forgotten to wear one. Felisha, Lucy, Grady and Winky all had their own hats that their families had bought for them. They were the first to arrive. They were excited to see the horses and some of them decided to give them a try. We had fun pretending we were riding in the Derby. We would scream and hoot as we “raced” and then argued over who had won. The horses were very slippery so we kept sliding down the sides of them. We’d grab for each other as if we could help the other stay on and we’d all end of laying on the ground laughing. I don’t know how many times we did that, but it sure was fun!

After a while, my feral friends started to trickle in. None of them had their own hats – not of derby caliber anyway – so they had fun going through the pile of fashionable hats. Cali put a big feathery hat on Malcolm then started laughing hysterically. We all started to giggle as well until Malcolm got mad and grabbed the hat off his head and skulked off into the yard. I called after him that the buckets of chicken had just arrived which stopped him in his tracks . He turned, stomped back, grabbed a straw hat with racehorses on it and plopped himself in the chair next to the chicken . He stayed there for most of the evening.

As guests came in they would try riding the coin horses and then head for the refreshment tables.
Everyone seemed to enjoy the mint juleps, milk, tuna finger sandwiches, bread crusts and chicken. I told everyone to eat up so they had energy to cheer for their favorite horse. I had bought (or should I say Mom’s magic plastic card had bought) a couple of trophies. One was for who looked best in their hat and one was for the creature that picked the winning horse.
I never imagined picking horses was going to be so complicated!!While Malcolm sat and ate chicken, we all debated who wanted which horse. Of course, all the cats wanted to pick Dean’s Kitten! Finally, I decided we would put all the horse’s names in an empty chicken bucket and we would each draw a name. That would be the horse for which we would root. Everyone agreed and we did the drawing. I thought it was great that Bobbi ended up with Dean’s Kitten so there were no hard feelings among the feline members of our party.
It seemed to take foreeeeeeever for the race to begin. We all stood arm in arm, swaying back and forth while singing “My Old Kentucky Home.” We were thankful they put the words up on the tv screen because none of us knew them on our own. After the song was over, we all huddled near the screen, giddy with anticipation. At last the bell rang and we all cried out together, “They’re off!!!” We were pretty subdued until the horses got to the top of the stretch, and then we went wild. We were cheering our horses on – jumping up and down as if that was going to make the horses run faster. As they crossed the wire, Lucy started dancing around – her horse had won. I was so excited for her! I ran over and danced around with her. We threw our hats in the air and finished up with a high five!

After we all calmed down, we found we were very thirsty from all that screaming. We had something to drink and another snack. Then I called for everyone’s attention as it was time to award the trophies. First I presented the winning horse trophy to Lucy. She was a very gracious winner. She thanked me and lady luck for the lovely trophy. Then it was time for the big one. I decided we should pick who looked best in their hat by popular vote – very democratic. Since none of us could write, I would have to come up with another way. I went inside to find someone who could write. I finally dragged my human brother out and he went from critter to critter writing down their choices. He tallied the vote and wrote it on a piece of paper and put it in an envelope. He handed it to me to open like the Academy Awards. And the winner was… Grady !!! His Churchill Downs steeples hat was the ultimate Derby hat. Plus he was able to balance it all evening and look fabulous at the same time. He had won by a landslide!

We finished up the sandwiches and milk and decided to call it a night. We all agreed it was quite the party and we were definitely horse racing fans! I had so much fun! I’m glad Bobbi wanted to have a party!
Hope you have a good weekend. I highly suggest climbing aboard a coin operated horse and letting your imagination take over. It’s fun!!

Love & licks,

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