I was a tomboy for whom the kitchen was an abyss. All I’d done there was wash dishes. But I took my assignment seriously. For breakfast on Friday morning, I dutifully served toast, link sausage, and fried eggs that perched atop a leathery skin of overcooked egg white. For dinner I traveled through my mother’s stack of cookbooks. In Round the World Meat Cookbook I found a recipe for Swiss Steak. I was astounded when I served up our meal. It was actually yummy and Glenn sang my praises. After I’d cleared the table and washed the dishes, Glenn asked me what my plans were for Saturday. Aside from the usual chores, I was open. Rather shyly, he asked if I would be interested in accompanying him to Loveland, Colorado to visit his sister and brother-in-law. They could take us out to the dog track and show us around, he suggested.
I was thrilled by such an adult adventure. At the time, it never crossed my mind that Glenn had probably been waging war with his conscience about how he could swing a trip to the track on his “free weekend,” without deserting me and risking the wrath of my mother should she discover that I’d been left to my own devices.
For the rest of the evening, I watched the crowd and studied the race card. I played it safe, betting “to show,“ which meant that for me to win, my dog could come in first, second, or third. We walked back to the car at 11:30. I had won several dollars which Glenn insisted I keep, along with the seed money he’d provided. I felt grown-up and I felt lucky. In the wee hours of the night, we drove the 70 treacherous miles back to Wyoming on an inky-black, 2-lane road, praying that no deer or antelope would commit suicide in front of our car.
The memory of the evening is as surreal as the reality of it was. How could anyone get excited about these poor stupid dogs who didn’t even care that they were chasing a fake rabbit and that the game was rigged so they’d never ever get the prize. The wait between races plodded like Mrs. Wood’s Latin class. Once the starting gun went off, the race was over faster than a shooting star. What I really longed for was to see a horse leap out of the starting gate. A horse race would last long enough to build suspense and besides, nothing boils my blood like a galloping horse.