Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Day 30

Ahh, Melbourne Cup Day – the race that stops a nation.

For me Melbourne Cup Day holds special meaning as it is the day I first laid eyes on my husband fifteen years ago. Fifteen years ago! Wow. I was only 25 years old. So young! It seems we have lived multiple life-times since then.

Melbourne Cup Day 1994. I had been invited to the members stand at our local race course by a work colleague. I recall being very nervous at the prospect of the members stand because it seemed so elite! I wore a beige tailored skirt, black blouse with white spots, black shoes, fake pearls and a very dodgy garden variety straw hat which I tied a black ribbon around to try and dress up a bit. My long permed hair was pulled back flat under the hat. I felt terribly glamorous. And of course I was …

It was the end of the day when Derek came along with a group of guys. We were in what I refer to as the B&S bar where the younger drunker crowd congregate to prance and preen and attract a mate. I wasn’t particularly interested in finding a mate. I had just started the breaking up process with mine although we were still living under the same roof. Difficult. It seemed my work colleague was interested in the mating game though. She hit one of Derek’s gang on the head with a rolled up race guide as he walked passed which stopped them all in their tracks for a chat-up session. How very cave man! I don’t much recall the conversation, but I do remember looking up towards the ceiling in order to look Derek in the eyes as he spoke. It occurred to me that being that tall you would always have to keep your nose clean – literally – given we could all see up it. I also recall Derek inviting me out to the casino with them, but I declined explaining the delicate situation of the soon-to-be-ex boyfriend at home. I think he may have walked me and my colleague to our car.

It was a few weeks later before I saw him again. During the breaking up process I was exerting my independence by going out quite a bit. I had spent four years with a man who was a home-body. I was ready to party! I saw Derek at a night club and my work colleague (the cave woman) recognised him. I approached him. I was wearing a dark green skirt with matching tailored vest buttoned to the chest. My perm was flowing freely. He was wearing faded denim jeans and a matching denim shirt. He was playing a pin ball machine. I said “hello Derek”. He looked down at me with confusion and then recognition set in. “Hey, you're that girl from the races, I recognise your eyes!” He seemed happy. I smiled. He said, “I almost didn’t recognise you … you looked so glamorous that day”. To which I replied “so how do I look now? Like a piece of nightclub floor scum?” And the rest as they say, is history …

Since that very historic Melbourne Cup event in 1994 in which Jeune was the winner, Derek and I have celebrated our first meeting fondly. We even spent a few years as members of the local race track. I now have a collection of fabulous hats and fascinators (my poor old straw hat was sent out to pasture to retire gracefully). These days though we tend to have back yard Melbourne Cup parties rather than head to the track, mainly because we find the race days a little too disappointing to be honest. The bars are too full, the fillies are too drunk and the colts seem too predatory. Am I showing my age?

Melbourne Cup is still the race that stops a nation. And it is still the race that stops Derek and I. Today as the entire family dresses in race day finery we will remember that day fifteen years ago that created love, marriage and children.

5 comments :

  1. How gorgeous! Love the cave man aspect. I think you should be writing romance.

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    Replies
    1. LOL. It has occurred to me, but then I realise I just can't bring myself to write about "throbbing members"

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  2. Gorgeous story and my hub & I will always remember how our eyes met too thus sealing our fate from 17 Oct 1970 XX

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