Horse Races & Fried Chicken
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September Horse Races & Fried Chicken w/ Table-share Sides

Everyone was in high spirits on Friday, September 9th, when Lynnhaven Neighbors and their guests converged on Laurel Manor. Our table and table mates were posted on the door as we entered the room. As usual, Leesa Willis was inside with our name badges, ready for pick-up. And just a little further, Carole Hannigan and Keith Conner were selling 50/50 tickets. We brought sides and desserts to our tables to go with our fried chicken.

The table coverings were all blue and the table number holders had a wooden race horse made by Jack Warner attached. This month's volunteers set the place settings at each seat. We put our contribution to our table's meal on our tables and socialized or went back for our 50/50 tickets. The chicken had arrived and the smell wafted through room, making us extra hungry. We were each given a ticket as we were getting settled, indicating whether we'd ordered white meat or dark.

President Jack Warner welcomed everyone, we said the Pledge of Allegiance, reminded us that we were having comedy magician & ventriloquist Mike Palma and table-share, then Leesa Willis told us to check our name tag. If it had 2022 on it, we should renew our membership for 2023. If it had 2023, we were good for another year. The chicken was getting cold, the natives were hungry (and restless), so Jack started to call table numbers so we could get our chicken. Nancy King was serving the dark meat and Ellen Conner was serving the white. Once we got our chicken, we went back to our tables and started passing the side dishes around. We were famished and there was a lull in the noise level as we dug into our food. Everything was sooo good!

As we were cleaning up our tables, Jack started getting ready for the horse races. The grid was laid out, the horses were at the gate, all we needed were some jockeys. Jack explained how the races worked, then invited jockeys to pick their horse and give it a name. As jockeys got into position, the betting tables were open, and we lined up to place our bets and collect our tickets. The betting tables were closed, the bet takers counted their take, while the rollers of the dice got ready to roll. Once the betting was closed, Jack collected the envelopes from the bet takers and took them over to the odds table.

Based upon the dice rolled, Jack called out the horses that came up and how many spaces they could move. Sadly, a bunch of horses and jockeys were stuck at the gate in that first race. About half way through, Jack read the odds on each horse. Nancy was far ahead of the pack, then Betty made her move. It looked like Betty's horse was going to win the race, but in a surprise move, Nancy's horse leaped over the finish line with a 2-space move. Cheers were heard from those who placed their money on the winning horse, then they lined up to collect their winnings.

It was time for the next race to begin. Positions of the horses were changed and new jockeys picked their horse, and the betting table was open. We laid our money down, collected our tickets, and waited for the race to begin. The new jockeys picked a name for their horse, someone new rolled the dice, and Jack announced the number of spaces a jockey could advance to.

The race was on. More jockeys were able to advance in this race, but Carole Hannigan was still stuck at the gate. Everyone felt sorry for her, but when her horse finally got out of the gate, cheers broke out that she was finally in the race. Stu Willa hadn't moved much and jokingly thought his horse was heading in the wrong direction and turned around, which got a laugh. Again, midway through, the odds on each horse was announced. It looked like Mary was ahead, then the other horses started to make their moves, making it a closer race. It was getting close until Mary's horse pulled ahead and crossed the finish line. Cheers from those with winning tickets.

Horse positions changed again, new jockeys picked their horses, and the betting table was open again. We had another dice thrower with a different technique. The race was on. In this race, Woody leaped ahead out of the gate, but his wife Sharon started gaining slowly. Soon they were neck and neck until Sharon pulled ahead, then over the finish line.

In the next race, some new jockeys ventured forward. Sally was in the lead, then the field started moving up. Before we knew it, Kelly moved up from behind and they were neck and neck. Kelly started moving up again, prancing over the finish line. Cheers again, as those who bet on her horse went to collect their winnings.

Next race, we had just one new jockey. This time, Carole's horse got out of the gate pretty quickly. Betty and Ron's horses edged forward, then Ron's horse pulled ahead of the field. Before we knew it, they were eating Ron's dust.

In the final race of the evening, Betty's horse took an early lead. It looked like she had the race in her pocket, when out of nowhere, another horse moved up from behind to challenge her. But he didn't shake her confidence. One or two more rolls of the dice and she was over the line.

The races were over, but we still had the 50/50 drawings to go. Fred collected the tickets and prize money envelopes from Carole and had someone pick the first winning ticket. Jack called out the winning ticket number. Owner of the first winning ticket went home with an extra $55 in her pocket. She drew the next winning ticket and the winner went home with an extra $45. Owner of the final winning ticket went home with an extra $34.

Congratulations to ALL our lucky winners! For the rest of us, better luck next time. (It could happen....)

A big Thank You to all those who helped make the evening a success: chicken servers Ellen Conner & Nancy King; bet takers Ellen Conner, Marie Heidemann, Janet Jackman, Al & Maggie McLean, and Stacy Szoyka; odds makers Fred Heidemann & Kathy Warner; the horse maker and race caller Jack Warner, and all those who volunteered to roll the dice. Oh yes, and all our jockeys, who came up with creative names for their horses based on their color. You were awesome!

And as always, thanks to Leesa Willis for managing our name badges, and Carole Hannigan & Keith Conner for doing the 50/50, and all the volunteers who set up the tables. You're the best!

Win, lose or even, hope everyone had a great time. I know we did.

Next month is Comedy Magician & Ventriloquist Mike Palma & Table-share on Saturday, October 8th. Get your group together and remember, if you want to sit together, submit all your names and checks together in one envelope, and think about what you want the menu at your table to be. Until then....

Let's keep the good times rolling with Neighbors....

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