Thursday, May 3, 2012

The First Saturday in May

This Saturday is the Kentucky Derby. The most exciting two minutes in sports. Perhaps my favorite sporting event of the year to base a party around. Sure, some, if not most, love a good Super Bowl party- but not this guy. I'm a Derby party man.

I can remember being into the Derby as a kid. Even though I didn't understand the odds and thought 250-1 was a good thing, I loved how thrilling it was to watch the horses battle for the lead. I've some fond memories of watching on TV with my mother. Needless to say, the Derby holds a warm place in my heart.

In what must have been 2005 or 2006, I set myself to hosting a Kentucky Derby party. I did my homework and crafted a Mint Julep recipe, bought some snacks and invited some friends over for the race. Let's just say that I was more prepared than anyone else. I neglected to realize that most of my friends were not as nerdy about this sort of thing as I. Nobody wore hats, there was much confusion as to how long the race would last, and worst of all, most preferred beer to Juleps. We all had a good time that year and subsequent years got better. Never the dandy southern fest I would have imagined, but good times amongst friends are really all you can ask for.

Fast forward to 2009 and I'm on the verge of moving across the country to a huge city where I know about three people. One of them I had only just met, your MatchGirl. Being the paradigm of class and manners, she invited me to attend the annual Derby party hosted by her Kentucky born and raised roommate and herself. I was thrilled at the prospect of being invited to a social event even BEFORE arriving in the Big Apple. The day came and I arrived in all my scruffy doesn't-everyone-in-Brooklyn-look-like-a-homeless-lumberjack glory. I was a bit underwhelming to say the least. I did, however, have a great time and met some people who would later become friends. I also will say, whether we want to admit it or not, that was the day the real foundation of our relationship was laid down. I didn't go to the party looking for love, your MatchGirl didn't invite me to the party because she was into me (she, in fact, will say she thought I was less than appealing), she did it because she wanted to bring people together.

That party did bring us together in a way. It turned a friend of a friend into a friend. From there things took a bit of a winding course, but here we are. As I think about this Saturday's upcoming Derby party I can't help but smile at the way things work out.

Image via Old Louisville Guide

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