Letter # 1
Hey Big Don,
How are you doing. It's been quite a while since I've written. Actually, I think you owe me a letter but I had an experience the other day I really wanted to tell somebody about and you're the only one I figured might be interested.
When we were school age in Connersville and the summer time came, one of the things that we looked forward to was the county fair. They held it at the park where there not only was a swimming pool but a large grandstand that overlook a race track.
I remember they'd have this humungous fireworks displays there. During the fair they also had horse racing on the track. And you and I would it on the front of the grandstand, hanging over the edge and get so excited when the horses would turn that final corner and come charging down the stretch to the finish line.
The other night I went over to Hamilton, Ohio, and they had a grandstand just like the one in Connersville. In front of that grandstand was a race track. And, when I got there, horses were warming up with the sulkies behind them. I really felt at home and began to get excited as I reminisced.
On the main floor of the grandstand there was an area where you could bet on the horses. And, if your horse was 1st, 2nd, or 3rd you could collect. That was so strange looking to me that I didn't know how to pick a horse to bet on.
Then I remembered, you used to always cheer for the horse that had the red banner across his back. I went up to the window where you paid your money and told they man I wanted to bet on the horse that had the red banner. He just looked at me for a minute. Then he said "You can only bet on their numbers. Go find out which number you want and come back."
I was really embarrassed not to know how but I went out and looked at the horses warming up. The horse with the red banner had a number 1 on it. So I went back to the window and told the man there that I wanted to be a dollar on #1. He grinned really big and said "you have to bet at least 2 dollars".
Embarrassed again I sheepishly told him "Okay. 2 dollars then".
He pushed some keys and a ticket came up that he gave me as he took my $2. It had "#1 - To Win" printed on it. I got confused and excited and was pretty certain he'd just somehow cheated me out of $2.
I went back out and watched the race. They got lined up and got started behind the gate (that's what the car with the fence behind it is called) and started racing. I watched carefully as they went around the track. When they came around the turn into the stretch, #1 was in 5th place and didn't make any effort to win.
It was pretty disgusting and they went by me in the grandstand just staying in a straight line. Nobody else seemed to get excited at all and I thought "This is a strange bunch of people and a strange race."
After they got by me though, and into the turn at the end of the stretch, some of the horses pulled out of the line and began passing the others. #1 was in the bunch that pulled out to pass. I realized that they had to go around at least twice before the race was done.
They came charging around the last curve in the track and thundered down the home stretch. #1 showed up on the side nearest me in the grandstand and the driver was whaling away with his whip and encouraging his horse any way he could think of. They pulled away to the front and the driver sat up with a satisfied look about him.
I couldn't contain myself. I was so excited I almost felt like I was going to be sick and pee my pants at the same time.
The driver turned #1 and came back by the grandstand. I don't think anyone was cheering any louder than I was.
I had a winning ticket in my pocket and wasn't sure what to do with it. I went up to the window where I'd gotten it. The man there said "I just sell them, mister. If you've got a winner go over there." and he pointed..
I went over there and the fellow took my ticket and put it in his machine. The he gave me $6.20.
I'd never seen anything like this. I was so excited. I'd learned a secret way to make money. At least I guess it must have been secret. There wasn't a lot of people around where they were giving out money.
I left there and went to White Castle and got 1/2 dozen of those little hamburgers that we used to like. I ate every one of them.
I'm going back to that Hamilton Racetrack again this Saturday.
I don't think I've ever had such a thrilling experience. It even tops the fireworks at the fairgrounds at home or watching the races there with you.
Let me know how things are with you there in Indianapolis.
Don Rust (author) from Shepherd, Michigan on September 20, 2021:
Liz Westwood from UK on September 20, 2021:
You write with such clarity that the scenes play out well before the reader's eyes.