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I’ll be the one wearing a hat Saturday

On May 2, I’ll be the one here in the hat.

That day, of course, the first Saturday every May, is for the Running of the Roses; the Kentucky Debry. And I have a passion for the horses, though when I was little, I had an allergy to everything including them.

To this day, I’ve never been atop a horse except for the one for 3 or 4-year-olds conducted by a gentleman whose job it was to walk around a track with wee children riding horseback.

Then this passion elevated to talk among the numbers-dominant boys in my neighborhood who had readily taught me to shoot marbles and a slingshot but stopped way short of supporting my incentive to play baseball or jump off a moving train. The trick to that, of course, was to hit the ground running. Otherwise, they said, I’d break a leg.

I loved the cowboys, too. Tom Mix with “Tony,” Hopalong with “Topper,” and The Lone Ranger with “Silver.” I never cared for Roy and Dale.

Then, in my early reading phase, I learned about the “Derby” and the Triple Crown races at the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes. Every child I ever baby-sat about the age of 3 learned to insist upon their mothers putting on a hat and cheering for the horses the first Saturday in May.

One, in particular, aged 4 or 5, told her fellow pre-K grads and their mother members that she’d been cheering Derby winners all her whole, entire life.

Off to the races, friends.

But my personal tradition is to don a hat that Saturday; listen to Arlo Guthrie sing the “Lightning Bar Blues” and be in front of my TV at 5 p.m. that day.

This year, of course, there won’t be. This year, the Derby’s been pushed back, like most else, until September.

But I will don my Derby hat and parade about all day. So, if you see me, wave.

To expand a little about the “Lightnin’ Bar,” there was really such a horse. He never ran the Derby and lived only to age 9. But he ran 10 races and won four of them. I don’t remember how I knew him since I never even saw him, but I loved him all the same. He was a quarter horse.

And I also loved the lyrics to his song: “I don’t need no diamond ring; I don’t need no Cadillac car; just want to drink my Ripple wine down in the Lightnin’ Bar.”

I don’t know why some today equate Ripple with moonshine. Moonshine started centuries ago, Ripple in 1960, when I was 20. But by the time that I was legal, I didn’t want it. I knew better. My first wine, like my peers, was Manischewitz at Thanksgiving.

And Arlo Guthrie. Once upon a time, I knew all the words to “Alice’s Restaurant.” Remember?

Anyway, as I’ve said, remember to wave if you see me this Saturday. I’ll be the one here in the hat.

Yolande Robbins is a community columnist for The Vicksburg Post.