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A Bowl of Indy Stew – Day 3, 1986

Hang on just a minute…it’s back here somewhere…just let me move the ice cream…there it is!  Way back in the freezer in an unmarked Tupperware container is the very last bit of the 1986 Indy Stew.  Let me look.  Yep, there’s one bowl left.  I just need to stick it in the microwave and give it a quick stir.  And here it is.  The last bowl of Indy Stew from Day 3 in 1986.  If interested, I suggest you click the link to check out these other servings from 1986 in “A Bowl of Indy Stew” archives.

If you remember, our race goers have been guilty of trespassing, avoided the law, laughed at vomit, watched our biker buddy scare a citizen, and witnessed assault with a hammer.  And now, after three nights on 16th Street and two rainouts, we are entering the gates at IMS for the third time hoping for a smooth landing.

As we entered Turn 2, we saw an open area to park my VW Rabbit, but as we pulled in, an angry young man waving a 2 iron told me that he was saving the ten or twelve spots there for his friends, and we should move along.  He waggled the 2 iron menacingly.  I’m not small.  I shut down the car and got out.  He stepped closer, informing me that his friends would soon be there, and it would be in our best interest to leave.  My friend Gil, an offensive lineman in college, stepped out of the passenger side and looked over the top of the car at golf club guy.  Still emboldened by his club and inebriation, golf club guy stepped closer, raising his voice and frowning powerfully.  I just smiled.  I smiled because our buddy Marv was just starting to get out of the back seat of my small car.  It must have seemed like a nightmare for golf club guy. His buddies had not arrived, and Marv was unpacking his 6′ 5′, 300 pound self from the back seat.  A nicer man you will never meet, but Marv had been in the football trenches as a college defensive lineman.  He knew how to menace.  And he did.  Imagine Swede from Heartbreak Ridge [1] walking around the corner to intimidate Gunny Highway (Clint Eastwood).  Except golf club guy was no Gunny Highway.  After giving us the eye for a few more moments, golf club guy made a great choice.  He said we could keep the spot, but would we help him hold the others?  One confrontation down.

Since the race was now on its third day, you could sit where you pleased, so we decided to see how the race looked from the outside of Turn 2.  We headed for the SE Vista.  All went well until a gentleman wearing black pants, black shirt, black vest, and black boots walked up the stairs.  For whatever reason, an old song called “Black Denim Trousers and Motorcycle Boots” [2] went through my mind.  I sang, apparently not softly, the lyrics, “He wore black denim trousers and motorcycle boots.”  From behind me came a female voice singing, “And a black leather jacket with an eagle on the back.”  What could I do?  I turned around to see a quite fetching young lady and sang, “He rode a hopped up cycle that took off like a gun.”  She smiled and replied, “That fool was the terror of Highway 101.”  And we both sang “Doo Wa, doo wa!”  I’m not making this up.  I have witnesses, including a rather perplexed and most definitely scowling boyfriend.  We sang the other verses to the song and had a good laugh.  Later, as I was applying suntan lotion to my back, she asked if she could be of assistance.  Having been taught that good manners meant not saying no to a lady, I allowed her to apply the lotion.  Maybe she had been drinking, I don’t know, but it seemed to take a good, long time for that lotion to soak in.  At some point, I heard her obviously irritated boyfriend say, “Do you think that lotion is rubbed in yet?”  Point taken, I thanked the young lady and turned my attention back to the race.

Being exhausted from the night before (read the previous entry “A Bowl of Indy Stew – The Night Before Day 3, 1986”), I began napping in my seat and was told by my buddies that I was turning my head to listen to the cars go by but keeping my eyes closed.  I informed them later it was a scientific experiment regarding the Doppler effect.  They did not buy it.

From all indications, Bobby Rahal won the race, beating Kevin Cogan in the last laps.  It only took three sleepless nights, two rainy days, and a Saturday in the sun to get it done.  And there is distinct possibility that I did not tell all of the stories of 1986.  Find me at IMS on almost any day in May when cars are on the track, and I will tell you the rest of the story.

I guess it’s about time to start cooking up another big pot of Indy Stew from a different year.  I’ll just need to run to IMS for some 2012 ingredients.

_______________________________

1.  OK, so Marv didn’t look quite like this, but he did to golf club guy.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4gAZKsL2CU

2.  I have found THREE versions of the song “Black Leather Jacket and Motorcycle Boots.”

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A Bowl of Indy Stew – The Night Before Day 3, 1986

We all have our favorite dishes.  For some it’s a hot and juicy steak fresh from the grill.  Others prefer a healthy salad with arugula and other trendy greens.  In Indiana, a great breaded tenderloin is always a popular selection.  But at New Track Record, you can always count on a hot, steaming bowl of Indy Stew to hit the spot.  Here comes the fourth bowl of Indy Stew from the 1986 pot.

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The year 1986 was a marathon for fans.  In the case of our heroes, we snuck in the night before the first day, encountering yellow shirts and feeling like the petty criminals we were.  Days one and two also brought rain and an entertaining vomit story as well as an introduction to our new friend Nick the biker.   Good times.  The race was postponed until May 21, the following Saturday.  We followed our regular modus operandi: we arrived the night before and found a parking spot at a machine shop on Olin Avenue.

Now, if you are an Indy regular, you are familiar with the elusive “back way” into the track on race day.  Everyone thinks they know the best one.  People have the “best” way to get to the track and the “best” race day parking.  They will not be swayed.   We all want to be “in the know.”  One back way into the track is the 10th Street-Holt Road-Olin Avenue route. [1]  The only problem is you need a parking pass to gain access to Holt Road.  Normally.  On the third day of a race, you only needed to show up.  But against the possibility of being blocked by the local constabulary, we had managed to come into possession of a parking pass for the Goodyear lot, which was directly across from where Olin Avenue entered onto 16th St.  Full disclosure: we came into possession of a “facsimile” of a parking pass for the Goodyear lot.  We really did not want to park there.  We just wanted access to 16th Street, so we could get into the track and park in Turn 2.  That was our goal every year.  And this year it worked.

Sometime Friday evening, my friends Marv, Gil, and I rolled down Holt Road to Olin Avenue and parked in the small parking lot of a machine shop directly across from the Goodyear lot.  We hoped the police would see our parking pass and stop traffic to let us in when the gates opened.  Now was the time to stroll down 16th Street and Georgetown to take in the sights, sounds, and stench of the night before the 500.

It was a rather laid back evening.  The crowd was much smaller than the previous weekend, so we did not anticipate anything unusual happening.  We were wrong.  We struck up a conversation with some guys who had parked behind us.  They were from Illinois and wanted to have a good time.  They were loud, funny, friendly, and drunk.  In other words, it was a typical bunch of guys you see at the race.  As the night wore on, an argument between two of the guys began.  We had front row seats and watched the situation escalate.  It got loud, and there was some pushing, shoving, and swearing.  Again, typical of a bunch of drunk guys.  What wasn’t typical was what happened next.  One guy went to the back of the car, opened the trunk, grabbed a hammer, and came back and drilled his adversary in the side of the head.  NOW all hell broke loose.  Hammer guy and a buddy took off running while hole-in-the-head guy hit the ground.  We just watched.  First aid was delivered while another buddy ran to get law enforcement.  Within minutes one of Indianapolis’s finest was on the scene. He interrogated the remaining guys and cast a suspicious eye at us.  After close questioning, he seemed satisfied that we were not involved.  Another officer arrived and began a search for hammer guy.  The original officer walked up to 16th street to meet the EMT’s.  When he walked away, hole-in-the-head guy woke up, looked around, and TOOK OFF RUNNING with his remaining friends in hot pursuit.  We just watched.  Within moments, the constable came back to find everyone but us gone.  Now it WAS our fault.  After delineating our various deficiencies as human beings, he just stood there and glared at us.  If you have ever seen the movie M.A.S.H, you may remember the Bobby Troup [2] line.  Bobby’s character is assigned to drive Hawkeye and Trapper John around Tokyo to help them find a golf course.  In anger and exasperation, he says: “Goddamn army,” and “Goddamn army jeep.”  The IPD officer must have been channeling Bobby Troup.  After glaring at us, he shook his head and spit out, “I hate this goddamn race.”  He pointed his finger at us and said to have the crew behind us come find him on 16th Street if they came back.

After a while hole-in-the-head guy and hammer guy CAME BACK TOGETHER!  They and their buddies loaded up their car and headed back to Illinois.  It was an odd turn of events.  Those who have attended the race regularly, particularly if you have spent the night before the race around the track, know the violence that bubbles up on occasion.  It still does.  Indy has been cleaned up, but it will never be sanitized.

Dawn approached.  As we prepared to pull out on 16th Street, more trouble boiled over.  Another group had pulled in along Olin Avenue earlier in the evening.  We discussed the hammer episode with them and watched as one of their crew drove an RC car along the street. [3]  We even took pictures with them.  As they prepared to mount up, one guy knocked another to the ground and began stomping him.  You often hear about someone being “stomped,” but until you see it in person, you just don’t understand the violence of the act.  We just watched.

While things were being sorted out after the police arrived, the bomb to open the gates exploded overhead.  We pulled out on 16th Street with our ersatz parking pass.  The same officer who investigated the hammer episode was directing traffic.  With a glare, he stopped traffic and let us in line.  We told him to have a great day.  We drove through the gates, and after three tries we were FINALLY going to see the 1986 Indianapolis 500.

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One more helping of 1986 Indy Stew is still at the bottom of the pot.  The next serving will be the last of the 1986 vintage.  We’ll hear about golf clubs, suntan lotion, and the song “Black Leather Jacket and Motorcycle Boots.”

1.  Click on this link to see the “back way” the elite often use to get to parking close to the track.  You will need to zoom in to see the roads. Follow 10th Street west from downtown to Holt Road.  Follow Holt to Olin Avenue.  We were parked on Olin between 16th Street and where Olin bends around.  Sweet, huh? http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.,cf.osb&biw=1392&bih=649&q=map+of+speedway,+indiana&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x886b57d0bc256bb1:0x70cfba96bf84d40,Speedway,+IN&gl=us&ei=3BldT4OaGcnvggfOioGiCw&sa=X&oi=geocode_result&ct=image&resnum=1&ved=0CCUQ8gEwAA

2.  It is unbelievable to me that some military guy has not put Bobby Troup on YouTube with his “Goddamn army” speech.  So in lieu of that, I’ve linked you to the song that made Bobby Troup famous: “Route 66.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLUYf6cekMA

3.   We took a picture of the RC car guy.  In the Indianapolis Star the next day, what do we see?  That’s right.  A picture of RC car guy driving his car in the infield.  Small world.

A Bowl of Indy Stew – Day 2, 1986

Did you hear that?  The timer on the stove just went off, and you know what that means, don’t you?  Another bowl of Indy Stew has cooked up and is ready to be served.  This is the third bowl of 1986 stew.  It’s kind of like a good pot of ham and beans.  The more you reheat it, the better it gets.  So tuck in your napkins and grab your spoons.  Dinner is served.

………………..

Will 1986 ever end?  This is the third time I’ve written about it and the race still hasn’t happened.   As we know, day one ended soggily, so we packed up our shelter and headed home.  Maybe better luck and blue skies would show up on Monday.  Wishful thinking.  Monday was just like Sunday with intermittent showers.  Even though there were no cars on the track, we were certainly entertained.

In 1986, in addition to the regular cast of characters, my buddy Vic rolled in from Florida.  Vic was a hometown friend of mine from Shirley, Indiana.  In ’86, he brought his biker buddy Nick with him.  Yes, I know.  It’s Vic and Nick.  If I was making this stuff up, don’t you think I could do better than that?

In any case, our new friend Nick fit right in.   There’s something to be said for having a biker looking guy who really is a biker hanging with you.  Nick had long dark hair, bulging muscles, and wore a sleeveless jeans jacket…with patches.  The patches I remember said “In Memory of Wheelchair John” and “In Memory of Troll.”  Let’s just say that Nick got your attention.  Some people have an aura around them.  That was Nick.  Truthfully, he was a funny and friendly guy.  He brought a battery-powered blender and mixed a great margarita.  He had never been to the race and wanted to experience it at least once.  He certainly added to a stranger’s race experience.

The IMS staff had just built the new infield restrooms.  If you ever used the old pits-with-plywood-over-them restrooms that used to dot the infield, then you know what an upgrade they were.  We were almost giddy to have stainless steel troughs and stalls.  Nick and I happened to be heading that direction at the same time, and we were discussing how he was enjoying the race experience.  He commented that his expectation was that the race crowd would be a little wilder.  Now, I’m not quite sure how to phrase this next part.  There is a certain lavatory etiquette among men when troughs are used.  Conversation is kept to a minimum unless you are conversing prior to trough approach.  You don’t talk to strangers.  Never smile at the guy next to you.  These are unwritten rules, but every guy knows them.  I am sure there are corollaries and codicils, but rules do exist.  I was about to witness what happens when these rules, a biker, and a nasty sense of humor intersect.

Following the rules, we entered the lavatory without talking.  At this moment, some poor citizen had the misfortune of taking the spot next to Nick.  He was either unaware of the rules or inattentive to the situation, and he smiled at Nick.  Wrong choice.  Nick hit me with a quick elbow and whispered, “Watch this.”  I watched as Nick slowly turned his head toward the guy and in a low, slow, and evil voice said, “You know, I can’t pee with someone standing next to me.  I guess I’m going to have to kill you.”

I’ve always wondered what went through the poor guy’s mind at that moment.  Did fear course through his body?  Could he hear his own heart beat? Did his life flash before his eyes?  I was stunned.  I had never witnessed anything quite like it.  The stranger’s knees buckled slightly.  He gasped.  And then he ran out of the lavatory.  Nick turned to me and laughed loudly and long.  His laughter was full of humor and danger.  That was life in the infield in 1986.

Nick never came back to the race.  He started going to the motorcycle rally at Sturgis, and I’ve not seen him since.  Every now and then, I wonder if the stranger ever came back to Indy.  I wonder if he ever tells the story of the biker in the bathroom.  It’s just one more tale from the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” that makes me smile when I tell it.  How can you not love Indy?

………………..

The adventure has just begun.  Next time, we finally get to race day in 1986.  I’ll just put the pot of Indy stew on a slow simmer until then.

A Bowl of Indy Stew – Day 1, 1986

You know the trouble with diets?  Temptation.  It lurks around every corner: breaded tenderloins, White Castles, sundry cured meats.  How can I get down to my “race weight” when temptation is whispering sweet nothings in my ear.  Right now, for instance, I can smell a bowl of Indy stew simmering on the stove.  Can you smell it?  It’s the essence of suntan lotion, beer, and ethanol.  Delicious.  I can’t resist.  I’ll start my diet tomorrow.  Today I’m going to ladle up a heaping helping of Indy stew, circa 1986.  Grab a spoon and dig in.

In the last installment of “A Bowl of Indy Stew,” our intrepid race-goers survived sneaking in the track the night before the 1986 race, setting up a canopy, and hosting  a horde of yellow shirts who sheltered from the rain with us.  But the day had not even started.

Race morning in 1986 dawned hot, humid, and rainy.  Things did not look promising, but the crowd poured in anyway.  The rest of our crew arrived and pulled the van in next to our canopy.  Perfect.  We had two spots next to the fence in Turn 2.  We lived for this moment.  When you went to the race with a general admission ticket, you couldn’t exhale until you got your vehicle in the gate and parked.

Surprisingly, some of our crew had been drinking the night before.  I know, who would have thought that?  Just after we got our van parked, someone walked behind the canopy and had a liquid laugh.  You know, called the elephants, chundered, yacked, had a technicolor yawn, played the whale.  Got the picture?  Highly entertaining.  As the vehicles pulled in behind us, they veered away from the guy with his hands on his knees.  Being Good Samaritans, we waved people away.  Moments later, all the spots behind us were filled except that one.  Who would want to park there?

A short time later, two girls with a tent hiked up and started to set up camp directly over the spot.  We told them not to set up there, but before we could tell them why they informed us they could take care of themselves, thank you.  Well, live and let live.  Exchanging knowing glances, we left them to their sullied campsite.  They crawled in the tent and went to sleep.  The heat and humidity that day were stifling.  We glanced back at the tent and wondered what it smelled like inside that nylon oven as the day heated up.  The girls slept on.  When they woke up, we heard one of them loudly complain in what can only be described as an entitled whine, “Ew, what’s that smell?”  A lone voice responded, “That’s puke, sweetheart!”  They hopped out of their tent, accused us of complicity in their degradation, broke camp, and flounced away in a huff to a round of laughter and applause.  Apparently, they were not amused.  Obviously, we were.

It was a good start to an interesting day.

Want more?  Just give me time to add a few more ingredients to the pot and let it simmer.  Another bowl of Indy stew from 1986 will be coming up soon.

A Bowl of Indy Stew – The Night Before Day 1, 1986

After reviewing all my posts in this blog, a few things have become apparent:
1.  I trend to the negative.
2.  I REALLY like quotes.
3.  Footnotes amuse me.
4.  I might be pretentious.
5.  I am a topical writer, not a news reporter.
6.  I do not have a “go to” feature.

Not much can be done about numbers 1-5.  It is what it is.  Or they are what they are.  Whatever.  As I work my way through the writing of the IndyCar “bloggerati,” I notice that the real pros have recurring features; “The Paddock Pulse” and “Haiku Tuesday” on Pop Off Valve, “Six Quick Questions” over at IndyCar Advocate, and “Counterpoint” at More Front Wing are just a few examples.  After intense cogitation and a few cold beers, New Track Record is proud to introduce a semi-regular feature called “A Bowl of Indy Stew.” [2]  So when I am too busy or too brain dead to REALLY think of a topic, I can cook up a quick olio from my hodgepodge memory of races past.  Let’s see what savory morsel I have today.

1986 was a watershed year for race stories since it took a Sunday, Monday, and a Saturday before Bobby Rahal held off Kevin Cogan and Rick Mears for the victory.  This “Bowl of Indy Stew” will deal with the night before Day 1 of the race.

This was the last year of general admission for my friends and me.  We moved into the Tower Terrace the next year and have had seats ever since.  Since I was ten years old, we always had the same modus operandi: we would arrive on 16th Street the evening before the race and park across from the track until the gates opened.  We always sent an advance guard through the Turn 2 pedestrian gate at 5:00 AM to hold a spot next to the fence for our cars.  But in 1986, we had a new plan.

After a long negotiation, I convinced an acquaintance working night security at the track to let a friend and me in around midnight.  With our cheap blue canopy in a box under our arms and our hearts pounding in our chests, we walked to the infield assuming a stench of guilt was wafting off us like the aroma of steaming onions at a White Castle.  We set up our canopy in Turn 2 to hold a spot for our cars.  So far so good.  We were on the outside of a few beers and feeling the adrenalin rush of a crime committed.  Around 4:00 AM it started to rain heavily and a number of yellow shirts started taking shelter under our canopy.  We were caught.  Should we confess now or wait and wilt under interrogation at some infield penal colony?  None of the yellow shirts asked why we were there, though.  They didn’t care.  We were keeping them dry.  We were heroes!  We were going to get away with it!  But right before the gates opened, their boss showed up and told them to get their asses to work.  The bomb to open the gates was just moments away.  Our plan was wilting in the pouring rain.  But he just stood under the canopy with us.  After a few uncomfortable moments in his withering glare, he asked what the hell we were doing there.  The words just jumped out of my mouth.  I told him we had worked night security and stayed in for the race after our shift.  He looked at us for a few seconds and said, “Smart.”  Lying is truly performance art.  The bomb to open the gates exploded overhead.  Another race day had begun.

The next helping is on the stove and starting to bubble.  More about Day 1 of the 1986 Indy 500 in the next “Bowl of Indy Stew.”

1.  Chris Sheridan has a site called Indy Soup.  You can also find him on Twitter @indysoupdotcom.  Since my “Indy Stew” feature is similar in name, I checked with him to make sure he was OK with it.  Chris is planning a documentary on the Indy fan experience called What Indy Means.  You can find out more about it at whatindymeans.com and on Twitter @WhatIndyMeans.  Check out his documentary trailer and his back story.  It’s interesting and inspirational.  No kidding.  Do it.

2.  I really wanted to have a breaded tenderloin as part of the title, but Pop Off Valve already uses it.  Mmm…breaded tenderloin.  I also plan to have a feature in May called the “Indy Tenderloin Tour” to help visitors to Indy find the ever elusive and delicious BEST breaded tenderloin in the Indy area.  I am starting my research soon.

My First Time

No, I don’t kiss and tell.  I do, however, race and tell.  I was introduced to my first love by my brother.  It’s like a romance novel.  He was in love with her first, but after introducing the two of us, he left Indiana to travel the world.  I was young.  She was older and much more experienced.  She was patient and knew I had a lot to learn.  Her name was Indy.  For this and many other things, I am forever in my brother’s debt.[1].

We flirted one year at qualifications.  I listened to her throaty Novi and was smitten.  But the first time I went all the way was two years later.  In 1966 my brother was compelled to take me to the race to accompany his good friend’s son.  We rode to the race in a 1953 GMC panel truck that had been customized by a tavern owner in my hometown of Shirley, Indiana.  The outside was hand-painted a robin’s egg blue with scores of automotive decals: STP, Bardahl, Champion, Moon Eyes, and Hurst were just a few.  A wooden platform was attached to the top and extended over the hood with supports welded to the front bumper.  A tent with a sign that read “Ben’s 500 Lounge” was erected on top.  The panels were cut out on each side with roll up canvas window covers.  On the inside, bus seats were added along one side with an aisle down the other.  The seats had built-in coolers under them; you just had to lift the seat pad up. The truck had the latest in sound systems: an eight-track tape player.[2]  It also came with a collection of hell-raisers.

We left Shirley the afternoon before the race and parked along 16th St. in Speedway.  We waited in a liquor store parking lot until traffic began to line up some time after 3:00 AM and then raced to get in line.  The party continued.  At ten years old, there are some things you have not yet experienced, such as staying up all night, watching power drinkers practice their craft, listening to loud and creative swearing, watching adults fight, and sipping the foam off beer cans after being named the official opener.

When the bomb went off at 5:00 AM, we were in the truck and ready to go. The hoi polloi of Shirley, Indiana, riding their blue race chariot, entered the old main gate outside of Turn 2 and parked up against the fence on the inside of Turn 2.  Getting a spot next to the fence required a vanguard of runners entering the pedestrian gate and staking out a spot.  You had to be tough to stake out and hold a spot.  I graduated to this position by the time I was fifteen and continued doing it on and off until I was thirty.[3]

Nothing prepares you for your first time.  You think you know what it’s going to be like but there is just no way to be prepared.  The entourage was parked and breakfast was cooking by 6:00 AM.  The crowd was a marvel.  The truck was a wonder.  People stopped by to take pictures and chat.  And once you saw it, you never forgot it.  And my callow self was allowed total access.  I continued to act as official opener and was told many times to drink the foam off the beers.  After all, I was Gary’s little brother and was expected to act like it.  No whining, crying, or bellyaching was allowed.  Your first time makes you think you are a man.

We made our way to the first turn bleachers, at the time a small set at the beginning of Turn 1.  To get there we had to pass through the Snake Pit.  It was not the sanitized and corporate Snake Pit of today down by Turn 3, but the real deal.  It was filled with bikes, booze, mud, drunks, noise, and from my youthful perspective, all the fun in the universe.  But even at a young age I could sense the danger.  It was a place to pass through.

After watching the beginning of the race from the bleachers, we made our way back to Turn 2 and the GMC.  I sat in the truck and continued to open beers for the boys.  I might possibly have taken a nap.  It’s hard to say.  The race ended and Graham Hill, some foreigner, won the race.  A foreigner winning Indy was not well received by the boys in the GMC.  I remember throwing bottles over the fence during the post race activities.  It was the only time, then or since, that someone corrected my behavior at the track.  We eventually packed up and entered the traffic to head back to Shirley.  I was content.  And I might have been a little drunk and delirious from sipping the foam off the beers and lack of sleep.  The ride home was great.  Johnny Cash was singing about Folsom Prison and a burning ring of fire on the eight-track.  We were exhausted and happy.

The last thing I remember after getting home was crawling under the coffee table to take a nap.  The next thing I remember was waking up in my bed.  The stories indicate that I was quite entertaining in the time between.  According to my angry mother, I was told to wake up and take a shower.  I exited the bathroom, still unwashed and filthy, and loudly told the assembled family, “Don’t ask me anything.  I’m not saying a word.  Don’t ask me a question.  I’m not going to answer.”  I still wonder what that was all about.  I guess even then I knew you don’t kiss and tell.

You never forget the first time.  And some people say you never get over your first love.  All I know is that I get to hook up with my first love once a year.  We have our little tryst, share a drink, have a few laughs, and then it’s a bittersweet parting until next year.  Indy, I can’t wait to see you again.  Save me a seat, lover.


[1] My brother also allowed me to read “Little Annie Fanny” in his Playboy, as well as buying me a chemistry set and a BB gun.  I made the house smell like rotten eggs and shot out a screen door.  You can assume the result of the Playboy,

[2] As far as I remember, we had one tape: Johnny Cash’s Greatest Hits, which was played on a continuous loop.  The tape lasted until we were on the way home the next day, when it caught on fire in the tape deck.  My brother, inebriated, pulled it out and burned his fingers.  The passengers had him hold his hand out the window and pour Calvert’s whiskey on it for the medicinal benefits.  We cheered the entire episode.

[3] At various times I was threatened with fists, ball bats, future harm when their friends arrived, and a golf club.  The golf club guy actually waggled the club in my direction until my buddy Marv, a former D1 defensive lineman, rolled his 6’4” 300 pound self out of the back seat of my VW Rabbit.  Golf club guy then told us we could keep our spot.  He also had the chutzpah to ask us to help him hold the other spots.  Some guys.

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