It was 1993, my niece Michelle was 21, I was 25 and we decided to head to the track for the day. We got all dressed up in our Sunday best and hopped in my brand new, fire engine red, two door, 1992 Pontiac Sunbird. We were looking good.
We headed out from Corinth down Farm to Market and left on Locust Grove Road. We were so jacked to be out together alone. It was our first outing as adults. We could boldly say "See you later mom, we are going gambling." WEEEE!!!
I was buzzing along, cruising up one hill and down, when suddenly a wild turkey flew in the passenger's side window, in front of the driver(me) and then out of the car. Now because I have roasted several turkeys since that time, I would say that this one was about a ten pounder. At this point, ten minutes into our foray into adulthood, Michelle was saying words she learned on the school bus and I was trying not to wet my pants.
Seems totally unbelieveable. Everyone knows wild turkeys do not fly. Rather, they get a running start and jump into trees and consequently basically, "fall out" of them. Futhermore, they run across the road in packs. Needless to say we were stunned.
After we prayed,we rallied. We were solid in our mission to go to the races by "ourselves" and boldly continued passing the incident off as the first in a series of good omens.
We cruised into town, past St. Clements Church, and parked on Granger avenue. After all, we are Maureen and Michelle "Granger". ( another good omen).
Now we left Corinth with this weather forecast,70's and sun, possible spinkles. We arrive in Saratoga to cloudly but seemingly "passing through" skies. Forced to take umbrellas by the adults, we boldly leave them in the car. We felt invincible from our near death experience. After all, everyone survived ,including the turkey.
Onward and upward, under cloudy skies, we head on in. We buy our $2 Grandstand tickets head through the turnstyle and we have arrived.
The women are beautiful and the men are smoking cigars and discussing bets. We don't have time to soak it all in yet, because we on a mission. The only imperative for us at this point, is placing a daily double bet for Michelle's grandma, my mom, Joyce. (This is back in the day when there was only one daily double, the first and second race. )
We get in line, we step up, we place our bet. BOOM. We screw it up. Twenty bucks later, we get it right. "We need the 4,2 exacta box on the double". Now that we have the lingo down, coupled with our strategy of horses names, favorite colors and the number 4, we got this on lock.
Our bets our placed and we head to the rail under "sprinkling" skies to watch our "ship come in." We hear the bugle, we hear the announcer "And they're off!!" The gates open and so does the sky.
Instantly, we are soaked. It was as if we had been tossed in the Hudson River. Everyone is driven inside and we do not see the race. The next race is postponed until the storm passes so we head to the ladies room to dry up the best we can.
Are we daunted? Are we crestfallen? No way. Here we are two grown-ups, at the races...gambling, drinking champagne, having a glorious time. We are convinced everything so far, is a good omen. For all we know we bet the winner, albeit on accident, but none the less the winner.
The power goes out.
And wait for it, for the first time in our reconning, the races are cancelled for the rest of the day. It is still pouring rain, we still do have umbrellas and we have to leave.
At this point, we are roaring. The kind of laughter that sounds like madness. Still in our trek back to the car, in the pouring rain, with somehow empty pockets, We agree that this is the best day we ever had.
We got in the fire engine red 1992 two door Pontiac sunbird and I drove route 9N all the way home.