My alter-ego -- my inner Rhonda -- came out to play for a little while last night. It was opening night at the local race track and I/Rhonda was there. Unbelievable. And fun!
I haven't been to stock car races since I was a little girl -- about 8 years old, in fact. I don't remember all the details, but I sure do remember going with my uncle and cousins! I'd spent most of that summer -- the one between 2nd and 3rd grade -- at my aunt's. She had two kids several years old than me, a boy and a girl, and a little girl who was several years younger than me, and that summer she had a brand new baby boy. I was thrilled to be her helper! (In later years, it has occurred to me that my aunt didn't really need my help and that I was probably shipped off to lighten my mother's load a little bit -- mom was seven years younger and started later but already had more children than my aunt, and the marital problems were probably hitting another of the many crescendoes before that concert was finally over.) I'd always run to pick up my cousin when he cried, and my aunt would always chide me for "spoiling" him -- as per popular child-raising belief at the time. My aunt is a good cook -- as is my mother (I never had any complaints), but my aunt's repertoire was much different -- I got a little chubby that summer on German dumplings and began my lifelong love for poppyseed cake.
(The other obscure yet vivid memory from that summer is that I secretly devoured pulp magazines -- True Story, True Crime, True Detective -- back issues that had been cast off by my aunt's MIL.)
Anyway, I've lived less than 5 miles from the local track for a cumulative total of 25 years or so, I can often hear the zoom-zoom on race nights (every Thursday & Saturday, from May to October), I've watched pyrotechnics displays originating at the track from the roof of my house, I've always wanted to take my kids to the races -- just once -- and yet, last night was my first time through the gate.
I was one of a pair scoping out the place as a change-up in the venue for our company picnic. Zoom-zoom. We tested the food service -- including yummy grilled steak sandwiches and sharing a bag of Orbits mini-donuts (I haven't had those in YEARS); we tested the beverage service -- a small test because in a surprising move, the more refined inner Mary Jo conducted some "service tests" of her own at book club the night before; we checked out the merchandise and memorabilia offered by vendors; we checked it all out.
And we watched some races. Little-bitty, custom-made "trucks" powered by snowmobile engines and various late-model, limited and/or super stock cars. Oh my goodness, among my faves was the most adorable 1955 Chevy. Still lookin' good and winning races.
Greased Lightning, anyone?
It'll do. I think we're gonna have a blast. The only thing is that we'll all have to remember to bring ear protection.
Oh, and after last night I believe there's a small change to Rhonda's story. Rather than working on her brother's pit crew at the race track, he's working on hers. Zoom-zoom.