The son rose early on June 19, 2005, and frankly, he was not very happy about it.
A recent high school graduate, Charlie would have preferred a more traditional Father’s Day celebration, one that allowed its celebrants to ease into the day with waffles and a nice cup of joe.
Still, he was game for his dad’s unlikely invention — the Father’s Day Scamper. You just can’t tell how game Charlie was from this picture I snapped just after I sent the gang off with the fake boom of an imaginary starter’s pistol, and just before I and the friendly stop sign held up a makeshift finish line.
The .9 mile loop around the park in front of our house offered no water stations and just one spectator — a neighbor who, with his dog, had wandered onto the course in search of quiet place to do his business (the dog, of course. We’re generally house trained in our neck of the woods).
Thomas Durkin, horse racing broadcaster (and our friend John Ptacek’s uncle) who called Triple Crown races from 2001 through his retirement in 2014, has referred to the 2005 Father’s Day Scamper as the one race he wished he’d called.
If he had, it would have gone something like this:
And they’re off! Charlie starts out three lengths behind Vinnie, and NOW he’s beginning to ROLL. The filly, in the white T-shirt down to her knees, is bracing for the oncoming POWER of Vince, who’s right at her neck, and the stage is set with three furlongs to run in the Father’s Day Scamper. Vinnie, a threatening presence on the outside, Katherine is set down and she’s put to a fierce drive. Neither of these brave trotters giving way, they are full tilt, down the stretch, an eighth of a mile out to the final furlong Vinnie surges to the front, Katherine with ONE FINAL ACCELERATION and Vinnie HOLDS ON and he wins by a DESPERATE NECK! Katherine too late not enough, and it was Vinnie in a RACING EPIC!!
If this picture could talk it would trash talk, sigh, giggle, huff and puff. It would celebrate the sweet cacophony of family competition; raise its arms in triumph, throw a bony elbow at encroaching brothers. It would offer thanksgiving for quiet Sunday mornings, safe neighborhoods, happy families and the nutty dads that inspired them all.
Happy Father’s Day from Molly B and Me.