Thursday, May 03, 2007

And they're off....

Those of you not lucky enough to live in Louisville, Ky, probably do not realize just how big of a deal The Kentucky Derby is.

It is so fabulous that every year, on the first Saturday in May, we can pretend that we have something in common with Hollywood. During my years in Louisville, I've seen Joan Rivers, Teri Hatcher, Lynda Carter (more beautiful than you realize), George Foreman, John Corbett, George Strait, Robert DeNiro and Albert Brooks. I narrowly missed George Bush, Jessica Simpson, Ed Harris, Jack Nicholson, and other assorted stars.

How big of a social event is the Derby? Anna Nicole Smith met the father of her daughter here at a Derby party. Who knew THAT would be the entertainment news story of the decade?

The biggest celebrity expected in town for tomorrow's big race is the Queen of England.

Now, in my mind, that counts as serious star power. (Lynda Carter? At this point in her career, I'm not so sure.) I delight in reading about the royals and love a good royal scandal. My first book, Princess Izzy and the E Street Shuffle, is a parody of royal biographies.

Here's what the Queen and I will have in common this weekend. We will both be wearing hats. And the story of my hat shopping tells you something about how big of a deal the Derby is.

I went out to select a white and black hat to match my white and black dress. But when I started looking at one particular white hat, with a black and white ribbon, I suddenly thought I remembered buying something much like this a few years earlier. So I punted and went home to go through my closet. I DID have a white hat. The ribbon wasn't right at all, but could be replaced. The really bad news? The hat was ivory, not pure white.

I carried the hat into where my husband was and held it up, explaining my sad plight. I expected him, being a guy and not a particularly fashionable one, to laugh off my concern that ivory and white do not match.

He did not.

"These are the best Derby seats we've ever had," he said. "That hat won't do at all. You're just going to have to go shopping again tomorrow."

And THAT is how big of a deal the Derby is, here in Louisville, Ky.

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