Monday, May 12, 2014

A family legacy: Hustling and betting on horses

A legacy by definition is something received from someone who has died, like an inheritance. Some families leave money, a family home or property and sometimes even Great-Grandma's pearls. Not my family. The legacies left to me are way cooler (to me at least) even if they are a bit unconventional.


I learned how to do the Hustle from my Aunt. I think it was my 10th or 11th birthday and I had some girlfriends over for a party. At one point my Aunt turned on the radio and started teaching us how to do this popular dance from that time. Needless to say, everyone thought I had the coolest aunt. It was my pre-teen 15-minute claim to fame. Who knows, maybe one day soon my aunt and I can relive that groovy moment and do the Hustle side-by-side again. 

I was reminded of this when I recently volunteered at JDRF's annual Hope Gala. It was a disco theme and at one point the DJ played The Hustle and instinctively I started doing the dance. Another volunteer was watching me. I don't know, maybe she thought I was crazy (unconfirmed), loopy (from the long evening) or both. I just said, "My aunt taught me the Hustle many years ago." Then she just smiled and nodded. I hope she knows I meant the dance and not that my aunt taught me how to hustle people cause that would just be awkward. Then again, that might explain her sudden need to go speak with someone else nearby. Oh well, her loss because I would have taught it to her if she asked.

Fast forward several years to my teens. My hustling days are long over but my betting days have begun because another family legacy handed down to me was how to bet the ponies. One day Grandpa decided to take me and my younger brother to the local racetrack. I thought this was awesome and perhaps illegal but still, super-awesome. I also thought it was strange that me and my brother were the only people under 60, give or take a few shady looking middle-aged men.


Anyway, Grandpa picked up the racing form and proceeded to explain to us how to properly bet on a race. I thought we should bet on the ones with the wacky names like Pass the Buck or Shady Lady. Grandpa told me, You don't bet based on names. You gotta look at the odds and bet on the ones that are sure winners. Of course we weren't old enough to bet but we did have fun helping Grandpa pick horses and watching the races. My parents and Grandma thought we were at lunch and in a way we were because that racetrack hotdog and soda tasted pretty good.

I admit inheriting tangible items is great and I have a few nice things in my possession that people have left me. But nothing compares to these wonderful, if not, peculiar family memories. And nothing beats a skill? trait? ability? handed down by generation, even if it's only a dance move or gambling strategy.

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