There’ll be no Eagle Farm for me tomorrow. After weeks of enjoying the winter carnival up close, I must decline the invitation. A better offer has arrived.
Daughter One celebrates her 13th birthday. Thirteen glorious years. The party starts tonight. And runs until she’s nearly 14.
It’s been quite a run for the serious punter, this carnival. Punishment, week after week. It started for real with the Black Caviar show in early May. There’ll be few bigger days, ever, in Queensland racing.
We backed up for two more top shelf Saturdays at Doomben. The pace was a cracker. It became too much for an old fella. Those running the home stable ordered a spell for Oaks Day.
Just as well. I don’t need to remind you how big the Stradbroke was the following weekend. A true staying test. Finally, Ipswich Cup with the masses. Five giant meetings in six weeks.
That’s behind us now. Wallet inflated, somehow. Damage confined to several major organs. The human body’s ability to recover is truly a wonderous thing.
Anyway, the focus shifts this weekend. Quality family time. With just the odd peek at the form guide.
It’s ok, they understand. You’re talking to a bloke who had a double running on the afternoon of his wedding. When we said goodbye to Mum, God bless her, I had a nice win on a country cup. I still reckon she ordered that inside run.
When the stewards looking over me call correct weight for the final time, you’ll all be forced to have a bet. Those who farewell me once I’ve logged off, will be given a mystery trifecta ticket on entry. It’s marked clearly in the will. I’m still working on how I’ll take my cut of any winnings.
Hang on, how did I go from winning over the carnival to turning my toes up? That’s a new high in drifting, pointless rambling, even for me. Let us return to the topic of the day; The Birthday.
This weekend has been planned for weeks. We’re spending tonight in a city hotel. When I say we, I mean myself and The Treasurer, Daughters One and Two, and a bunch of thirteen year old girls. A couple of big rooms with a connecting door.
I can hear you sniggering. Karma, you’re yelling at the screen with delight. Punishment for having all that fun.
I’ve seen what’s planned. My input wasn’t needed. The more notable activities include turns at doing facials and home-made beauty treatments, a few crazy prank calls, eating a large bucket of sour worm lollies, and the obligatory pillow fight.
The timeline has scary movies and popcorn from midnight. I fancy my chances of sneaking a look at the form guide when the screaming starts. Only briefly, of course.
After a few minutes sleep, we’ll enjoy breakfast, and more teenage-style fun, before farewelling the friends, and departing for the Gold Coast. So begins phase two of the birthday bash. They might let me listen to a race or two in the car on the way down. Then again, maybe they won’t.
Daughter One, you see, is a mad Titans fan. We’re off to their clash with the Sharks tomorrow afternoon. Players will be warming up as they declare correct weight in the last. Not that I care.
True, it won’t be the game of the round. There was some late mail that they’re actually paying people to go through the gates. But none of that matters. She wants to cheer Scotty Prince. If I can smuggle a transistor in, I might get to hear one of the later races in Perth. Kidding.
As exciting as the bottom of the table clash might be, it will have nothing on our family dinner planned for that night. Yes, we’ll hop on the train, get back to our car, and head into Surfers Paradise for an evening of giggles with the relatives. By this time, a cool drink might be in order.
Come Sunday morning, just after ten o’clock, we’ll officially have a teenager on our hands. There’ll be cards, and presents, and love. Lots of that.
June 26, 1998. It still makes me giddy, just thinking about that day. When the footy coach completely forgot he’d been making plans for a son. Because she looked at me, and made everything different. Better.
Thirteen years later, she’s still smiling. And shaking her head at dad. I’m banned from the pillow fight apparently. Who knows, it might give me time to get that double on.