On a beautiful August 31, the family got together at Arlington Park to mark the
It is so hard to believe that Pop had died 10 years ago on August 31, 2004. He is still missed by so many.
We thought it would be fitting to get the family out to the Racetrack and name a race in his memory that would bring us all together to talk, reminisce & even shed a tear or two.
My sisters and their families along with Aunt Peggy, Cousin Jeff & Vicky, Aunty Joyce, Barb, Randy & Aly Gray all came out to the track to have some fun and join in this remembrance for Dad.
Thanks to Chris Pepsnik at AP for all the help he did in reserving the race, making tickets available to us and arranging for the Jumbotron message for Dad seen upper left. Picture just below right is the last extended family photo taken before Pop's death in 2004.
Pop's race was supposed to be the 6th on the day, but to my dismay, when I got to the track and looked at the program I saw that it actually was listed as the 3rd race - which wouldn't have been a problem except none of the family was going to show up until the 6th.
Well, great friend Rudy Tarra to the rescue - as he sought out Arlington Management and informed them our Memorial race would now be the 7th race - which happened to be one him and his great wife Virginia were running a horse in. Rudy worked it out superbly and many many thanks.
The Tarra's have the box next door to us at Arlington and they and their tremendous family have become great friends of ours. You won't meet better people not only in racing - but in life.
So with all of us in attendance the 7th race goes off with Rudy & Virginia's horse, Town Star, the heavy favourite. And for a good reason, because as he ripped down the stretch he romped past his competitors and finished 1st easily. The ever gracious Tarra's insisted our family join theirs in their Winners Circle Photo, and we were happy to have them join us in the special Remembrance photo - both of them shown below.
Just after they took the picture shown on the right, we looked back on the Jumbotron where they just had posted the tribute to Pop. Seeing the message with that Great Picture of him laughing like all of us remember him doing.... Well the tears started flowing from all of us. Heaven's gain was surely our loss....
After that, we went to the cemetary and for 45 minutes or so, we encircled Pop and Uncle Russ' grave as we recounted great stories that brought them all back to life, if only for a little while. At the end, and almost to the minute of the sad events 10 years ago, we all joined hands and prayed the Lord's Prayer. Which is exactly what my sisters and I had done back then, holding Dad's hands as he died and joined Christ. Many, many tears were shed.
Following that, it was off to Jean's house for dinner to see Flyer John Gallo home from the Air Force and Jean was kind enough to have a Cake for our Brett who was to celebrate his 24th Birthday 3 days from then.