Woody’s Final Race

Well today was an interesting day. A little history might be necessary to fully explain this story. My dad had a good friend named Woody that he was close with for many years. I remember hearing lots of funny stories about him when I was growing up, the best of which was the time Woody and my Mom decided to have a race in the parking lot. Woody won the race… while running backwards. Cracks me up every time. Anyway, Woody was also very good friends with a guy named John Lamont who I’ve worked with for years at El Gaucho in Seattle. Unfortunately Woody passed away earlier this year and John and his wife were by his side for all of his final days. When Jessica and I were getting ready to make a visit to Seattle for her birthday in April, John asked me if I could do him a favor. As it turns out, one of Woody’s dying wishes was to have part of his ashes scattered at the Del Mar Racetrack in San Diego, and since I live in San Diego, John asked me if I would mind taking care of that. Obviously I said I would be happy to do it, so John brought me Woody’s ashes and I mailed them to myself in San Diego. We then had to wait until the track opened, which wasn’t until late July.

Today we went to the track to do the deed. We weren’t completely sure how we were going to do this since we didn’t exactly have permission, but we figured if we went into the infield we’d be able to get it done without being noticed. We rode the motorcycle up to the track, which was a good idea because you get front row parking and it’s free. While on our way into the track, Jessica walked right by the station where they were checking bags and purses and she didn’t even notice the man asking her to stop. She kept walking and he just let it go. I got a kick out of this. Once inside the track we headed to the infield and found the perfect final resting place for Woody. As the horses were coming down the final stretch of the day’s first race, I opend the bag and tossed the remains over the fence. Unfortunately there was a problem. I completely forgot that the ashes were double bagged! Several swear words followed as we looked over the fence to see a small ziplock bag on the ground filled with Woody’s ashes.

First I tried reaching through the chain link fence but there was no way my arm would fit. Finally I decided to climb the fence and reach over to grab the bag. This was tough since there were employees in the area but I was able to grab it without being noticed. We then headed to a different part of the infield to give it another try. We found another good spot and I was successful in spreading the ashes. Jessica was standing downwind of me and I saw some of the ashes heading her way but she was far enough away that it didn’t get on her. After accomplishing our mission we left the track and had a nice lunch in Del Mar. Hopefully Woody’s wishes were granted. It was certainly a memorable day for us!

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