Friday, April 11, 2008

The Irish Grand National and me

Whew! Getting readjusted to post-vacation life has been tougher than usual... I've slept and slept and slept, for one thing, and Scott says I've been muttering in my sleep every night. Jet lag? Or my spirit yearning to return to Bangor, Northern Ireland, where I had such a glorious time?

I'll get some pictures up this weekend, but for now, I have one story for you.

The night before my cousin Peter's wedding, many relatives and friends were gathered in my cousin Richard's and his wife Valerie's kitchen. Among them was her father, Dickie, who at one point started excitedly handing out betting slips for the Irish Grand National, the biggest horse race of the year, and one I remember watching and hearing about as a child. Dickie suggested I place a bet, too.

I glanced at the list of horses running in the race and my eye caught on the amusing name Comply Or Die. Why not? I gamely grabbed a betting slip and scribbled the name on it (with "to win" indicated after the name, as instructed by Dickie), and I put down five pounds from my back pocket.

Dickie advises my cousin Richard while I dream about my forthcoming winnings
My cousin Andy gets in on the game

The next day, during the boisterous wedding reception, Dickie and several others made their way to a room with a television in it so they could watch the race. Shortly thereafter, someone came hurrying in and announced, "The winner had a name with a wedding theme: Comply Or Die!" Everyone laughed, and then I said, "Wait! That's my horse!"

So there was much amusement and I had my back slapped many a time, and for the rest of the evening Dickie and I would toast each other whenever we passed each other in the crowd. "You punter!" he'd say, twinkling at me over his glass, and I would twinkle right back.

I won 40 pounds, which is about $80, and I was highly pleased with myself about it, too.

My gambling career has begun!