Derby day with Colonel Tim

Our friend Tim grew up 20 miles from Churchill Downs and has been a certified Kentucky Colonel since he was 16-years old.

As you might imagine, the man pours a mean mint julep and knows his way around a race card.

For the past 22 years, he and his wife Janice have hosted the greatest Derby Party north of the Mason Dixon line and, for well over a decade, we have been lucky enough to attend.

Some years we research the horses thoroughly and arrive with a well-planned betting strategy. Other years we sip juleps, enjoy the sunshine and wing it. Always, we include a bet on the No. 8 horse, in honor of the Outlaw Mary Jane, who had nine children but always said that 8 was her lucky number.

Fortunately, due to our checkered betting strategy, we celebrate far more than Derby winners on those sweet Saturday afternoons in May. We toast to friendship and all of the milestones we share over the years — graduations, retirements, new jobs, weddings and grandchildren.

This year, the place was crawling with adorable babies and toddlers as the annual party grew to include a third generation of tiny racing fans.

We all enjoyed one of the most beautiful afternoons Appleton had seen in a long while and then headed inside for the most exciting two minutes in sports.

For about 20 minutes, our random decision to include Maximum Security in our game day strategy looked like it would pay off big. Then, the racing stewards made their historic announcement that Maximum Security had interfered with two other horses, leaving Country Horse the named winner and sending bettors scrambling for crumpled race cards in garbage cans all over America.

Ah, well. Somewhere in in this favored land the sun is shining bright; the band is playing somewhere and somewhere hearts are light; and somewhere men are laughing and somewhere children shout…

(all of that still happened at our Kentucky Party) because there was still joy in Mudville, though the winner was ruled out.

Many thanks to Colonel Tim and Janice for another excellent Kentucky Derby party that showed us. once again, how much fun big hats and big hearts can be.

Colonel Tim grew up 20 miles from Churchill Downs and, with his wife Janice, hosts the best Kentucky Derby party north of the Mason Dixon line.
They’ve been hosting it in Appleton for 22 years, but Janice doesn’t age. It must be all those big hats and happy smiles. She’s a grandma now and looks exactly as she did when I first met her.
Maybe it’s the mint juleps?
This year there were adorable babies everywhere. This isn’t even Maureen’s baby, but she held the little doll for a good chunk of the party.
I mean, come on! How cute is this little family?!!
These guys look like they’re just whiling away a gorgeous Saturday afternoon, but really they’re hard at work solving the world’s problems.
This is what the corner looks like when you are noted Derby fans and doting grandparents.
Lyrics to My Old Kentucky Home rest conveniently on the piano.
The betting board was hopping on a sunny Saturday.
Accidental twinsies.
This is what your mantel looks like when you’re a real Kentucky Derby fan. Those glasses represent each year of the Derby.
Genuine Kentucky ham sandwiches and other traditional Derby treats.
This was the scene when Maximum Security crossed the finish line.
A little bit of Churchill Downs right here in Appleton.

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