Derby Day

Day 6 (May 4)
Visited: Villa Hills and Burlington, KY
Miles Driven: 28

Today was a day to visit with old friends and to enjoy Kentucky and Cincinnati traditions–Goetta, Skyline Chili and Derby Day!

We’re staying with the Michels family. I lived in Northern Kentucky when I first graduated from college, and I met and became fast friends with a group of really great people…people who made this my home and made me a part of their families. We’re staying with one of that group of friends, Minda and Pete Michels, their children, twins Sam and Grace, and their dog Sparky.

After we arrived, we decided that frosty beverages were in order. I made my French martinis and Tom had his usual Jack Daniels. I got Minda to try the French martinis, and we stayed up until the wee hours, catching up on our lives and drinking way too much. Tom and Pete quit around midnight; Minda and I…not so soon!

We began Derby day with a low-cal (NOT) breakfast of Goetta, eggs and rolls. Goetta is a local, scrapple-like product that’s created with some grain (steel-cut oats, buckwheat groats or the like), pork and seasonings. It’s boiled, formed into a loaf-like structure, sliced and fried. And it’s GOOD. But it’s not exactly healthy. Oh well!

After breakfast, Tom and I went to visit with Nancy Egan and Barbara Wilson, two of the Moms of my extended family. It was really heartening to see both Nancy and Barbara. They both welcomed me into their families with open arms and made this a home for me. We had very nice visits…it was really great to see them both.

Skyline Chili

Yum! A Cincinnati tradition! I like the 3 Way.

In between our visits, I initiated Tom into a Cincinnati tradition–Skyline Chili. Cincinnati chili is…different. The meat sauce isn’t spiced like a traditional bowl of red; instead, you can taste cinnamon and other ‘odd’ flavors that you wouldn’t think of in chili. It’s served in different ‘ways’, but traditional is over spaghetti with cheese (3 Way), onions (4 Way) and beans (5 Way). Tom loved it enough to finish my dish.

After the visits, it was time for the main event–the Kentucky Derby! Minda threw a Derby Day party. I made more French Martinis, Pete broke out the Buffalo Trace bourbon, and we were good to go! Yummy Tortilla Soup, Not-Too-Bad-For-You-Ham-Sammies and Really-Bad-For-You-Desserts were on the menu. Grace put together a Derby contest. We each put in $2 for each horse (picked randomly) and the Win, Place and Show winners shared the pot. Orb, Minda’s horse, blew away the field at the end. Minda, our hostess, was the big money winner. Fixed? Hm…I don’t know! Given that Minda’s mother won the Place and her son won the Show prizes…hm…suspicious! LOL!

We had a great time catching up, eating and drinking, and just enjoying the company of good friends. And being in Kentucky for Derby Day…a completely unplanned event, but definitely a bonus!

Tom and Margaret Donnelly


Jeff Sizemore

Smilin’ Jeff

Winners' Cups

A shot of the Winners’ Cups prior to the race

On Your Mark...

On your mark…get set…Post time!


Sparky wants Tortilla Soup too!


Kate (Pete’s mom) is egging on her horse!

Minda and Sparky

Minda and Sparky rootin’ for Orb!

Jeff and Marty

Jeff and Marty Sizemore

Smile BB

BB doesn’t like to have her picture taken. I think she’s beautiful!

Grace and Sparky

Grace and Sparky