Clinton, S.C., Sunday, May 26, 8:17 a.m.
It’s not actually Memorial Day. That’s Monday. And, strictly speaking, it will be a day to mourn our war dead, not to cheer on the troops or to honor the veterans. Memorial Day should have a somber edge to it. At the very least, it should give us pause.
I got up earlier than I planned this morning, as a result of a dead battery in my mother’s Pontiac that was probably, in turn, a result of someone at her house, likely a nephew, listening to the CD player and leaving the key on.
That’s just speculation.
In any event, it’s Sunday. I had to give my mother a ride to the Days Inn, where she works mostly on weekends. I tried and failed to go back to sleep. Now I’m pondering breakfast and watching the Grand Prix of Monaco, a cup of coffee having sufficiently fortified me and ended any possibility of sleeping any time soon.
The predicament is also an offshoot of the University of North Carolina’s baseball team, which required 18 innings to defeat N.C. State in the ACC tournament. I stayed up for 17 of them.
I must have thought, OK, one more inning, five different times. Then I gave up right before the Tar Heels won. I don’t know the details.
Monaco must be the world’s most beautiful principality, I think. What’s a principality? I’ll check. “A principality (or princedom) can either be a monarchical, feudatory or a sovereign state, ruled or reigned over by a monarch with the title of prince or by a monarch with another title within the generic use of the word ‘prince.’”
Surviving principalities are Liechtenstein, Monaco and the co-principality of Andorra. Monaco is bordered for 2.7 miles by France and 2.5 miles by the Mediterranean. As Arthur Bach (movie “Arthur”) might say, “It’s not a large place.” The current prince, Albert II, may have said it, too.
All that the Grand Prix of Monaco has in common with I-40 through the Smokies is a tunnel. I-40 has two going one way and one the other.
An incident involving Pastor Maldonado just raised a red flag. I think I saw that in the plot of a movie once. The pastor was collaborating with the Nazis.
In the movie.
Since Memorial Day isn’t really until Monday, it occurs to me that Sunday might be an unofficial memorial day for racers. I remember, as a small child, watching Lorenzo Bandini’s grisly death (May 10, 1967) at Monte Carlo on “ABC’s Wide World of Sports.” On this weekend in 1964, Eddie Sachs and Dave MacDonald died at Indy, and the fiery crash that led to Fireball Roberts’ death occurred at Charlotte.
It’s a good time for a moment of silence amid the roar. (I can mute the TV.)
Nico Rosberg won the grand prix. He is Keke Rosberg’s son. Formula One apparently has a Finland Gang. Kimi Raikkonen is in there amongst them, too. No Rosberg has ever won at Daytona Beach, but, then again, no Allison has ever won at Monte Carlo.
On to Indy. Television was a wonderful invention. Take a trip and never leave the farm.
I just observed the traditional Sunday Visit with My Mother at the Motel, timing it to fall between Monte Carlo and Indianapolis (OK, so Clinton is a bit off the direct route). I got home in time to hear “Taps” (which I can play on my guitar, by the way, similar to the intro of “Folsom Prison Blues”).
What a contrast between the visions of Memorial Day: “Back Home Again in Indiana,” Purdue marching band and “Taps” vs. Charlotte’s gaudy Invasion of the Tri-Oval.
I’m looking forward to really watching the Indianapolis 500. In the past, I always got to the CMS press box in time to watch Indy on the monitors, but I was often distracted and had work to do.
OK, I may play my guitar a little, which is another wonderful accessory and freedom that comes with not having a job that takes me to the track.
I wonder if I could write car-racing words to fit George Jones’ “The Race Is On”? I could, but I reckon my time would be best served writing something that’s all original.
My boyhood memories of “the newborn hay in all its fragrance” are not quite as warm as they appear to be for Jim Nabors.
Imagine a start in rows of three at Talladega. Shazam.
I was making a snack in the kitchen. I thought I heard the announcer say a car “ran over a toad.” Nah. On pit road. A hose. Since the nervous pigeon in Monte Carlo, I’ve been animal-distracted.
Technology should create more, not less, options. This design of Indy cars creates a rousing show.
During the five years (1988-92) in which I attended the Indy 500, I never saw an empty seat. I mailed in my ticket request for the following year the day after the race.
And I never thought that would change.
It’s been a long time since I’ve seen the Indy 500 live, but this is one observation I’ve retained ever since: they go so fast, it doesn’t have to be as close to be exciting. One just marvels that something – anything! – can go that fast and still turn left.
Nowadays, by the way, they race pretty close.
Sure, I’d like to see A.J. Allmendinger win. He should’ve been racing IndyCars all along. He came along when everyone was giving NASCAR a try. He’d have been better off if he hadn’t.
Tony Kanaan is going to win the Indianapolis 500 at last, and I could scarcely be happier.
Now I think I’m going to blog about the Coca-Cola 600 afterwards, in the conventional fashion. I haven’t done a “stream-of-consciousness blog” in quite some time. Let me know what you think of the format.