Tomorrow’s an Important Day in the Horse Racing World

The Preakness Stakes horse race is held on the third Saturday of May each year at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland. It is the second gem in the Triple Crown and is held two weeks after the Kentucky Derby and three weeks before the Belmont Stakes.

The Preakness has often been called the Run for the Black Eyed Susans because the winner will be draped with a blanket of yellow flowers in honor of Maryland’s state flower instead of the traditional red roses. The race was first run in 1873 and was named by a former Maryland governor after a winning colt.

This Saturday, May 21st, will be the 141st running of the Preakness Stakes. On May 27th 1873 a three year old colt named Survivor won by 10 lengths. It was the biggest margin victory at the track until 2004 when Smarty Jones crossed the finish line 11 1/2 lengths ahead of the pack. Maybe this year a new record will be set! 

St Patrick’s Day, Ireland, 50 Shades of Green

St Patrick’s Day, Ireland, 50 Shades of Green

Leprechaun with pot of gold,Ireland.

Leprechaun with pot of gold.

St Patrick’s Day on the 17th of March is a national holiday in Ireland and marks the death of their patron saint in 461 A.D. who was credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland.
Many people wear green that day all around the world, Irish or not. The Irish pubs are full with folks drinking Guinness and Irish whiskey. Corned beef and cabbage is the meal of the day. English speaking people worldwide love the songs of Ireland, such as Molly Malone and Danny Boy.
Ireland is about the size of Indiana, with about 5 million people. It rains on average, between 151 and 225 days a year, depending on region, which is why the countryside is so green. It is indeed the Emerald Isle.

Ireland always depended on potatoes for much of it’s food. Then in the years 1845 to 1849 the potato crops failed and there was famine throughout the land. During this period, the population decreased from 8 million to 6 million, with many emigrating to America.

Maureen O'Hara, Ireland.

Maureen O’Hara

Some famous Irish Americans are: Eugene O’Neill, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ronald Reagan, Jackie Gleason Maureen O’Hara and John F. Kennedy. This year is 75th anniversary of the movie, Gone With The Wind, which showcased the iconic Tara, a Southern mansion replicating the one in Ireland.

Ireland became an independent republic in 1921, but Protestant Northern Ireland, which comprises about 20% of the island remained loyal to the British crown. Ireland has recently transformed itself from an agricultural to an industrial one and now sports the name Celtic Tiger.

For such a small country, Ireland has made a giant sized contribution to poetry and literature. William Butler Yeats has global acclaim as a poet and James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, C. S. Lewis, Jonathan Swift and Oliver Goldsmith, rank highly as authors.
Ireland has produced it’s share of famous horses. Shergar, won the Derby in 1981, by a record 10 lengths and then won the Irish Derby the same year.

Ireland is a land of legends and fairies, with the fearsome banshee and the mischievous leprechauns. Until recently leprechauns dressed in red but pressure from the television and movie industries has resulted in a shift to green.

Kissing The Blarney Stone, Ireland.

Kissing The Blarney Stone

Blarney Castle, built around 1200, contains the Blarney Stone. Legend has it that whoever kisses the Blarney Stone will acquire the gift of eloquence. The pubs of Ireland are warm and friendly and welcome children. Some serve great food. One of the most famous is 400 year old Durty Nelly’s which is right across the road from Bunratty Castle. According to legend, Nelly made money as keeper of the toll bridge near her house, across the river Owengarney.
In closing, I will quote Nelly:
Nelly’s Blessing
May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face, the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand.

Last Words a Poem by Marilyn Holdsworth

Last Words a poem by Marilyn Holdsworth.Last words will never be for us to speak
Because your soft voice will whisper to me
Through gentle loving memories
That every day will float across my mind.
Like the endless sea that laps the sandy shore
Your grace and spirit will stay forever more
Within my heart, giving me joy and comfort
Knowing your sweet goodness will guide my way.
In times of need and trouble I’ll hear you say
“Be patient, there will be the dawning of a brighter day.”
And so I know for you and me
There will be no finality.
No last words for us today
Only treasured thoughts as we pray.