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Odds and ends
Friday, March 11, 2011 - by Ellen Harvey

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As a 19-year-old, I went out, for an extended period of time, with a guy named Brad. I know from that experience that 19-year-olds should not be allowed to make life-altering decisions. They think they are wise and could run the world better than anyone else, but they’re not and they shouldn’t.   

Brad gave me a T-shirt (used, I think) from a bar along the Intracoastal Waterway for Christmas, wrote me letters on ripped up envelopes and relished accumulating non-working large appliances on his front porch. Brad and I had a different world view, but it took me a while to find that out.

It wasn’t a total loss, though. Brad abhorred waste and thus, occasionally declared a moratorium on grocery shopping until every bit of food in his little shack outside Knoxville, Tenn., was gone. Brad called it, “Project Eat Yourself Out of House And Home.” It made for some non-viable food combinations that I made sure to not be around for. I do, however, like the concept, and today I’m applying it to my blog. Not the non-viable combination part. The getting rid of old stuff before trotting out new stuff is the concept I like.

Thus, here are a few odds and ends I’ve had stored on the shelf. Nothing new until this is aired out and used up.

My co-worker Ken Weingartner and I and our friend Moira Fanning from the Hambletonian Society have formed a team for the Standardbred Retirement Foundation bowling tournament on March 16 at Country Lanes in Manalapan, N.J. We thought we had a fourth, someone allegedly an ace bowler, but he defected in favor of forming his own team, with an eye toward winning. Ha! He clearly does not know that Ken and his father, The Old Man, won the Father/Son Bowling Championship when Ken was in high school. That was not as long ago as when Brad was accumulating old refrigerators, but close. 

Moira and I have not yet hit our stride as bowlers, but we are well read and have rapier wits. If you have to spend three hours with someone, don’t you want that? We need three more teammates and invite you to join us. It’ll cost $30, most of which is tax-deductible. There will be food and prizes, including one for most clever team name, which I think we’ll win. I can’t tell you what it is, or someone will steal it and then we’ll only win “Most Congenial Team.” Everyone knows that’s what they give you to keep you from going home in a snit.  

E-mail me at ellen.harvey@ustrotting.com if you want to play with us. Post time is 6 p.m. Our standards are not high; just pay your money to the SRF with a good check or cash and keep a good hold on that bowling ball so no one gets hurt. If you’re a good bowler, that’s great, but we are resigned to being the best writers in attendance.

We hear a lot about grassroots marketing and here are some real-world examples of that. On Sunday, March 13 at 2 p.m., 10,000 or more people will pour in to the little town of Goshen, N.Y., for the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade. They are literally and figuratively going right by the front door of the Harness Racing Museum and Goshen Historic Track. Finding a way to reach people on your doorstep and get your message out in a low tech, low cost way – that’s grassroots marketing.

Photo courtesy of the author

The Stubits girls, Liz and Barbara, will ride their Standardbreds, Fox Valley Kincade and The Chosen One, in the Mid Hudson St. Patrick Day parade this Sunday in Goshen, 2 p.m.

Chris Tully at the track has rustled up all manner of horses, Standardbreds and minis and technical support to clean up after them to march along Main Street. That equine platoon will remind people that there’s a racetrack tucked in Goshen proper and won’t you please come back and see our races this summer? 

Gail Cunard and the staff over at the Museum will have some holiday-themed craft project for kids 11 and under before the parade. They’ll also serve tea and Irish soda bread to those who take the time to see what’s at the end of the harness racing rainbow at 240 Main Street. 

On Tuesday of this week, I went back to high school with Yannick Gingras. The native French-speaking driver spoke with two advanced French classes taught by Standardbred breeder, Kathy Ricci. Alternating back and forth between English and French, Yannick kept the attention of a room full of 16-year-olds for almost an hour – twice. What a daily double. 

He explained his occupation, reviewed racing strategy in two major races with Pastor Stephen and Foiled Again. They heard about the Hambletonian and Yannick’s hopes to win it with Pastor Stephen. They heard about the “beaucoup, beaucoup coeur” (big, big heart) of Foiled Again. The classes learned some new vocabulary words, helmet (casque), mud (bouette) and starting gate. It looks like Yannick has about 42 new Facebook friends who attend Wall (N.J.) High School now. I hope they will be friends of our sport some day. 

Finally, there’s Elizabeth Tewksbury and her prom kids up in Maine. I’d like them to see the light of day here. Liz is the proud owner of two Standardbred mares. Liz and her mare Dreamy Starlet represented Standardbreds at the World Equestrian Games last fall and they have a boatload of awards and ribbons since “Dreamy” started showing as a teenager, after her broodmare career. 

Liz is an English teacher and prom advisor at the high school where she teaches. There’s not a lot of spare money floating around in her school district in rural Maine, but Liz tries to makes sure that money is no barrier to attending the prom. It’s a big deal there and the high point of a lifetime for many of her kids. Liz makes sure everyone can go.

She’s cut a flat rate rental deal for tuxes for the boys and maintains a “Cinderella” closet for girls who just can’t drop a couple hundred dollars on a dress, shoes and sparkly jewelry.

Today I mailed Liz a few very fancy dresses that I am too old and fat to wear, along with earrings a bit overstated for a lady of a certain age, but just right for a 17-year-old. If you really can’t be seen in that same fancy dress again or hey – here’s a concept – you’re too thin for a party dress you used to like, send it to Liz for the Cinderella closet. 

Her address is PO Box 621, Cornish, ME 04020. If you’re using UPS, e-mail me and I’ll give you the street address. Don’t try to drop it off and drive on down the road, though. There’s a 20-foot snow bank on the dead-end road in front of her little farm. It’s been a tough winter in Maine. A sparkly party dress is just what a girl needs to forget about it.

Editor's Note: The views contained in this column are that of the author alone, and do not necessarily represent the opinions or views of the United States Trotting Association.

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The views contained in this column are that of the author alone, and do not necessarily represent the opinions or views of the United States Trotting Association.

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