Thursday, February 22, 2007

Talladega Story

It was about a year ago that I came home from work to find a card on our dining room table with my name on it. It was not my birthday, an anniversary or for that matter, any type of special occasion. It was just another cold winters day in the middle of a work week. My wife Patty {pic to the right} was standing there with a look of both excitement and apprehension. In fact she was so excited that I thought maybe she went out and bought me that F-250 Quad Cab 4x4 that I'd drool over every time I saw one. In the very tense moments of this the gears in my head were spinning out of control because I knew it was something big but I could not understand why...that is until I opened the card and by the look on my face you can see that I was shell shocked! Inside were two full weekend tickets to Talladega. The funny thing is, other than "just another race track", Patty had no clue what Talladega is. In fact she hated NASCAR and the amount of time it consumed me. She is a bit naive and in her innocent apprehension asked me where Talladega is... I kid you not! She bought the tickets from an ad in our local newspaper without any idea that we were about to plan a trip to Birmingham Al. What she did know is that the tickets were "awesome seats in something the guy told me {her} were in the tower of a tri-oval"... NO CLUE!! She was not even sure where Alabama was! Okay, so it's quite obvious that this woman loves me to death.

In the weeks that followed I educated her on some basic Nascar stuff and she began to develop an interest. All of a sudden she was asking me about qualifying positions, points, what N A S C A R stands for, etc. and instead of nagging me on race day she was putting out cheese and crackers and inviting friends over to watch "the race". The next thing I know she has proclaimed Tony Stewart as her favorite driver and when I asked her why Tony, her simple answer was "he's a "bad boy" and he's cute" {cute?}.

By the time the trip arrived, {which by the way on conditions of the surprise gift I had to pay for the trip...pretty even trade} Patty had some basic knowledge and a favorite driver. I had never been to a super speedway so this was a very new experience for both of us. What we encountered was absolutely incredible and horribly exhausting. Our motel was 45 minutes away and on Saturday we arrived at the gate of Talladega at 7:00 a.m., not soon enough. The size and the area this place covers is massive and we had never seen so many campers in one place. We thought we were at Mardi-Gras. We did the tour of the drivers trailer area and spent plenty...yada yada yada. The Busch race that day involved a wreck that sent Tony sailing upside down in the #33 right in front of us. Patty was screaming and in tears and even with my assurance that he was okay she swore to me that this was her first and last race and I would be attending the cup race on my own the next day. Well after the race what should be a 45 min. trip back to our motel we arrived there 4 hours later.

The next day we were up and out the door by 5:00 a.m. and the drive took 90 minutes. The traffic was 90% Dega bound with cars and trucks that were all advertising drivers, we had a Tony Teddy Bear on the dash...go figure!! The track parking lots were filling fast and the tailgating parties were in full swing. We got to our seats later and watched the pre-race show with much emphasis on Will Farrell and Talladega Nights. He was the Grand Marshall and the film had just completed it's production that past week. The rain came and never left...a rainout. We did not know what to do because we had plane reservations back for the next morning and had not booked the extra night at our motel...on the drive back to the motel Patty got the airline on her cell and managed to get a flight out for Tuesday and our motel accommodated us nicely. That drive took another 4 hours.

On Monday the weather was beautiful and Patty got a sunburn from hell!! It was a great race but it took us 7, yes 7 hours to drive 45 minutes!!. Patty's patience in a car is not the best and her sunburn was killing her so it was 7 hours of agony. Her sacrifices, pain and patience are a true testament of the love she has for me. She is now a huge NASCAR fan and absolutely loves the sport despite what she endured.

I shared this story because I am a fortunate man to have a wife with such devotion.

3 comments: said...

Sounds like you got ya a great wife!

Mine is much the same. Not a NASCAR fanatic...went to the Texas Race with me and endured the (slightly) snoozer of a race and traffic as well. She love going to the local race track with me though.

You said you were going to Pocono this year right?

Hopefully the traffic will be better for that one.

And I think the 'hot button' color for women must be orange. My wife just became a Jeff Burton fan this year.

racefan57 said...

yeah Patty is gr8t 4 sure

and yes to pocono... yet another gift from Patty

Jeff Burton is a good choice for your Mrs. I expect a good year for him

ORANGE!!! it's everywhere here!!

Cheyenne said...

Nice story. Lucky you. Orange is Dale Jr's favorite color by the way.