My daughter had talked about this day many times to us over the phone and my wife had been in Sawmill for the event the year my grandson had been born. I had not experienced the day or the excitement around the Melbourne cup.
One of the big races was today and I was told when I left the house in Rye that I would be in for a treat on the public transit. I was bemused but I needed some lightness in my life.The people running or walking to the train in from Frankston, were "dressed to the nines" as my mom would say.
The women were decked out in flowing gorgeous gowns in spring and summer colours that rivalled anything seen on the red carpets at the Oscars or other massive awards celebrations held in North America. The women all wore high heels and the most outrageous hats I have ever seen, the men were dressed in suits, some tuxes, some with top hats but all had very highly polished shoes. The young children were dressed in suits and/or jackets for the boys and gowns or spring dresses for the girls. Tourists stood out because we were dressed for the beach or the park. It was an amazing sight and one that cheered me up.
My life paradigm at this time was about hospitals, threats of relapse, and the horror of stroke or death for a women I had been with for over 50 years. I felt myself retreating into a narrow and negative outlook on life. Seeing the joy and the beauty of the Victorians as they rode public transit to the racetrack to celebrate a horse-race was to me a celebration of life. The crowd was in a good mood and everyone was enjoying the ride, I allowed myself to be swept along; I felt myself moving to an important attitude shift.
Arriving at the hospital, the nurses talked about the day and how they wished they could be out and about. The radio station and the TV in the waiting room were all about who was at which track, what gowns or tuxes the celebrators, both the rich and not so rich were wearing. I found there was very little news about which horse would win the race.
The exuberance of the day was infectious and while I was amazed by the celebrations, the nurses inside the ward were aware of the needs of their patients and were careful not to excite them.
Colleen and I talked about the upcoming race and she asked me to phone Danielle and tell her to bet on the number 3 horse. My daughter put a small bet on the horse. The horse did not place in the top three she came in 10th.
Later we discovered that the name of the horse (Falkner) my wife wanted to bet on had the same name as the park across the street from the hospital. Small world. Even thought the horse did not come in the top three, it was a winning moment as I saw this as a sign that things were starting to turn around.
I left the hospital in better spirits than I had been for a while, and while Colleen did not appear to be improving she was in good spirits. Her memory was slowly coming back and she knew who I was most days and was happy to see me every morning.
I joined the happy crowds on public transit, many had been enjoying the spirit(s) of the Melbourne cup and I was enjoying the sense of hope that was starting to replace the sense of dread that I had been feeling. A good day.