I went and visited my dad’s grave today. I try and go when i’m up in Seattle every so often. We had him buried at Hillcrest Burial Park cause the spot where he’s at overlooks Emerald Downs. We spent his last days there together. It’s a special place for us. So I love that he can see the track from his burial (yes i know he’s dead and can’t see it, but I like the symbolism ok!). Whenever I go visit him I walk a few feet towards the edge of the hill and stare at Emerald. Here’s a pic of the view. Sorry i’m not Barbara Livingston.
I thought about when I got to call some races at Emerald. They asked me if I’d come call four races so Robert the regular announcer could host the TV show on Comcast. I jumped at the opportunity. My only real dream in announcing was to be the announcer at Emerald Downs. So to get to call races there was something I was so excited about. I was very nervous that day. I think it was June of 2009, but might have been 2010. As the horses for the first race were warming up I was trying to do my best to calm my nerves. As the last horses were loading, I turned the mic off and took a deep breath and looked up at the hill where dad’s buried. He’s right over the 3/8th pole. I asked for a little help. I called the race and did fine. And then I cried. I mean I really cried. I was bawling. Calling a race on a random Saturday at a mid-level track isn’t the Kentucky Derby, but it was important to me. I shut the door and just allowed myself to feel the strange mix of pride and sadness. Then a knock on the door came. I composed myself and answered. It was Duane Hamamura, who was a great photographer in the Northwest. Duane said “hey let me take a picture of you announcing.” For those who know Duane, that was the most words he ever said to me. I smiled as big as I could even though I knew my eyes were probably bloodshot. Here’s that photo.
I thought about that day today as I stood at my dad’s grave and cried some more. I’ve been crying a lot lately. I struggle with sadness sometimes and lately have been struggling more than normal. Which I know my dad would respond to with “cut it out you pussy”. That’s just how he was. But I still miss him and think about him and when I visit him, I always remember to try and enjoy the view of the big green roof.