Monday, May 10, 2010

The Lucky Hat

Mother's Day was pretty much an extension of my personal celebration time. We started out with lunch at Amici Italian Eatery in Graham for their very delicious Slow Roasted Prime Rib…it was quite yummy, I must say. My actual intent in driving the 45 minutes to get there was two-fold; I saw they had a great menu planned to celebrate Mother's Day & I needed to drive out that way to see Kim to give her my contribution to the Ripley's Horse Aid Foundation Fundraiser that was held on Monday, May 3rd there at Amici's.

Normally I like to go and support fundraisers for horse related charities as much as possible. This particular event was held while I was in Kentucky for the Derby so I was unable to attend. Before I left I decided that I would contribute something to the auction and at the time it was being organized, I was making my Derby hat so I decided that the hat would be the donation and I would auction it as kind of a Traveling Gnome (you know..where someone steals your yard gnome and takes funny pictures of it in places you've not been to) package, offering to wear it to the Derby, take classic photos at Churchill Downs and let it be it's own piece of Kentucky Derby memorabilia. I also planned to pick up a few Derby-esque items, like mint julep glasses, a Derby program, etc…to make up a package deal.

I was really happy with the outcome of the hat design. I'd been able to pick up a Ralph Lauren basic woven hat with a large brim which became the foundation of my Derby Creation. Normally I go with colorful flowers and ribbons, sometimes adding things like feathers and whatever else I could find but this year I got a very large off-white flower and placed it on a bed of black tulle. I meant to add ribbons and such, but it turned out wonderfully simple just the way it was so I decided to keep it like that. It was certainly the largest, yet simple designs I've done yet…and I've had a derby hat or so to practice on over the years! (plus Oaks days too)

There was lots of good feedback when I posted photos of the hat and felt good about its ability to win some bids in a silent auction setting but I started to feel quite fond of the hat and almost hated to part with it. Ultimately, I told myself, the hat was designed to sell and in my heart, it was never mine to begin with. I did ponder the question "What if this becomes my * Lucky * hat?"

When you travel around Derby time, you can usually tell who's headed for Louisville, no matter what airport you happen to be starting from or laying over at by the number of beautiful hat boxes that are being hand carried around. You can lose our clothes in the suitcase, Mr. Airline Bag Thrower (my Son is one of them, btw…which is why I get to fly around for free so much!)…but you will NOT get a chance to lose our hats! THOSE are not easily replaced and we Derby gals are especially protective of them ;-)

My Oaks and Derby hats had to go in a large durable shopping bag because I could not find a hat box large enough for the Derby creation. I was not alone in that either, this year. I saw many hints of hats and flowers peeking out of bags headed for THE race event of the year. It just adds to the excitement of the upcoming fun!

Oaks day I wore a hat that I had taken to Kentucky last year. Bonnie wore it to Oaks Day with an arrangement I created the night before with some ribbons and flowers I brought with me from home…and my trusty glue gun! Yes… I sometimes travel with a glue gun in my checked bag. I maintain that there isn't anything I can't make as long as I have a Wal-mart that’s open late and my glue gun! In fact, the night following The Oaks Bonnie, Jaime, Les & I went to the Wal-Mart in Shelbyville, Kentucky and found stuff to redo the hats for Derby Day last year…this year I took the hat and added flowers that I'd used on Jaime's hat as well as the one I wore last year to the Derby and came up with a new version of it for Oaks 2010. It was like taking them with me in spirit.

It was a beautiful spring day for the Kentucky Oaks, even a little warm as I posted a few entries back. The pink of the Susan G. Komen ~ Horses For Hope celebration was carried out in my dress, my hat and my husband's new polo shirt! The weather forecast, however, predicted horrible rain and thunder storms for Derby Day. It was hard to imagine that in 24 hours the glory of spring in Kentucky would turn to such a fashion nightmare….and a change in the favorite picks for the race as well.

As predicted, the rain came hard and furious. As we got ready for the race, neither Les or I changed much in our fashion plans except that I opted for my black Mary Jane sketchers instead of my cute black sandals … and we both brought our clear rain ponchos. The ponchos had been purchased on some previous Derby trip where rain was predicted but did not come. We had amassed a collection of 8 of these little beauties and had not opened one yet (somehow in previous years we'd never thought to bring the ones we'd purchased previously and always ended up buying new ones) but our lucky streak had been broken. They were most certainly going to be opened on this trip.

I wasn't as worried about my outfit as I was the hat. It was so large that there was no way it would fit beneath the hood of the rain poncho and I feared I would not be able to protect it nor be able to get the photos I'd hoped to take to show it had been to the Derby. As we left the room, I noticed that Les had two shirts hanging in the hotel room closet with dry cleaner bags on them. The light went off above my head and I grabbed one. To my delight the hat fit perfectly within one and I brought it all wrapped up in the clear bag. If I'm going to have to wear a large bag upon my head, I'd at least get to show off the beautiful hat within!

…And RAIN, it did!!!

It actually turned out to be a great protection for my face during the rain. Being so big, it provided a roof for my whole body and it stayed nice and dry in its dry-cleaning bag. It also pretty much protected my son's good camera so I could take photos without the camera getting wet too! It was certainly turning out to be my lucky hat after all.

I will note that I did try to stay out of the rain as much as possible but there were times it just could not be avoided…and the hat really helped!

So come the Derby Race, I wore it in all of its plastic covered refinement and (as previously posted) I won the Pick 3 wearing it. Yes….this is TRULY a lucky hat!!!

While still in Kentucky, I picked up several other Derby memorabilia items to make it a whole Derby Package, adding:

2 mint julep glasses

2 Oaks Lilly glasses

A Derby 136 t-shirt

A stuff pink derby horse

A Derby Day Program

A Derby/Mint Julep lapel pin

Some Derby party wear

And a "Run For The Roses" pink tote bag

I took a photo with my phone and forwarded it to Kim before the fundraiser and she added the list of items to a photo she had printed out for the silent auction. I got the report Monday night that it had been won by a bidder who collects Derby memorabilia and is thrilled to have it all. That makes me very happy.

The fundraiser, by the way, was to help Ripley's help the Arabians in a local neglect case. Kim, Monica & I had gone out to visit the home of Rose Corey who is the Pierce County chapter director for Ripley's. She has taken in several of the horses from this case before rehoming them as she continues to work hard to obtain and place the remaining horses.

Ripley's Horse Aid Foundation is a non-profit organization that assists horses and horse owners in need by providing service & feed vouchers while helping owners make good decisions for the future of their horses. They are not set up as a rescue but in this particular case, they were practically forced into it and have gone to great lengths to help out as best they can. There is still a tremendous amount of work to be done in this case. The fundraiser was set up to try to help continue that effort.

As we were driving to Amici's yesterday I started to think about the hat and how lucky it had been for me…

..And it hit me that this hat, its luck and that win at the Derby as well as the timing of my return to Seattle, had led me to step directly into the place that allowed me to help Bucky B Lucky who is now at SAFE with the name of Lucky!

When I gave Kim the hat and derby package she asked me if I was sure I wanted to part with it. My heart filled up and almost spilled out of my eyes…not because I wanted to keep the hat and I'd miss it…because somehow it played this very important role in helping Lucky find his SAFE place.

This was truly a very LUCKY hat!!

You just can't make this stuff up….

No comments:

Post a Comment