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Monday, May 11, 2009
Monday Mug Shot
Hydroplane racing is something I’ve seen quite a bit of in my lifetime, but no because I’m a huge fan. That’s a parental thing. I guess it’s similar to trains or baseball for David and me.
In 1964 Mom and Dad both were at the Gold Cup races in Detroit. One was on Belle Isle and one was on the shore in Detroit. They didn’t go together, they didn’t even meet. That meeting didn’t happen until a few months later and it was in the early dating discussions that they discovered that not only did they both enjoy the rooster tail water sprays behind the hydroplane boats and the roar on the river, but they’d both been at the races!
They’d enjoyed going to see the races on the river together when they could. It wasn't an annual event early in their marriage. After their marriage in 1965, Dad was at trade school and studying to take the test for citizenship and they were raising their family, having me in 1966 and Dave 14 months later.
It was after we’d moved to oakland County, in Michigan, they’d built their dream home and Dave and I were older that they started going to the Gold Cup races, now called “Detroit Thunderfest,” on a regular basis. The God Cup was always held on a weekend near their anniversary and it became their annual celebration for that, eventually buying the package that got them into the better seating area and making a weekend of it with the hotel package and a nice Friday dinner.
The Miss Smokin Joe was her favorite hydroplane. All hydroplane boats are known by the title “Miss.” It later changed sponsors to become the Miss Winston Eagle. Dad’s boat was the Miss Pico (Motors). They enjoyed both cheering for and against each other.
As adults Dave and I had gone with them a couple of times, but we just weren't the enthusiasts they were. I am glad that I went the last time they did, just a few weeks before Mom’s passing. That will always be a special memory for me. Mom’s health had been poor and she was having serious trouble with complications from diabetes, but she was determined not to miss what had become a very special event for them. With the help of her scooter, she made it.
Dad hasn’t been to the Gold Cup races since that last time. I think it’s part that the memories are bittersweet now, but mostly because he holds it as an event that became too special to share it without Mom.
To me, the mugs for the Gold Cup races will always remind me of special times when Mom and Dad were ALWAYS happy.