‘Don’t put your winter clothes away until Race Day!’
today at 12:24 pm
It’s May 28. I’m running my air conditioner (very slowly) to try to get the humidity down in my apartment, but it’s barely on. I stuck my head out of the front door earlier, and a sweatshirt and jeans just were not enough. When I go out soon, early in the afternoon, I’m going to wear my winter coat.
It’s the kind of spring when my mother always said “Don’t put your winter clothes away until Race Day!” To my Indianapolis-born mother, that was the name of the day the Indianapolis 500 was run — the day before Memorial Day. The Race (I could hear the capital letters) took up a big chunk of Sunday, after church. It was the fastest we left church all year, the better to get news of The Race on the radio.
When I was growing up, we could enjoy each race twice — on the radio, live, and recorded for TV in the evening. So there were many Sunday afternoons when I had my radio on in my room and much of the contents of my closet on my bed. It was time to put the winter clothes away and break out the summer ones, with the sounds of The Race on the radio. The TV coverage at night was for confirmation and updates of what happened, and occasional stories from Mom and Dad about sights or names that came up.
Not putting winter clothes away didn’t necessarily last until every Race Day, but it would come close. Sometimes we’d think summer had arrived early, but then we’d have to break out the wintry clothes after all. Mom managed to turn that into something between anticipation and memory by saying “Don’t put your winter clothes away until The Race!”
So on Sunday, I’ll be singing along with the national anthem and “Back Home Again in Indiana.” I’ll be missing both of my parents and enjoying memories of trips to the time trials, when we found bagpipe bands under the bleachers (drowned out by the race cars!) and explored everything from garages to a museum.
And even though a lot of them didn’t see much use this winter, I’ll be putting away my winter clothes. Some things I just keep obeying.
Margaret Serious has a page on Facebook.