Last Thursday, Mrs. Dubbatrubba and I went down to Keeneland with our freighbors (friends/neighbors) Whit and Barb.

Keeneland is a horse racing track in Lexington, KY. A fancy one. Pastoral. Fewer folks betting their rent money, and more well-heeled folks with designer clothing and “fascinator” hats. Bluebloods in Bluegrass country. But they still let in riff-raff like us, as long as we pony up (ha!) the $7 general admission fee.

My wife and I have a mini bucket list with Whit and Barb. It started during pandemic. Nothing elaborate – no overseas excursions, no skydiving. Just random stuff nearby that we’ve always wanted to do. Like take a weekday off from work to go bet on the ponies.

It was raining buckets when we left in the morning. And the forecast called for severe thunderstorms in the afternoon. But a soggy day at the track beats a dry day at the office.

On sunny weekend days, Keeneland is packed with the “see and be seen” crowd, along with a heaping helping of University of Kentucky frat boys and sorority sisters. Great for people-watching, but stuffed and stuffy. (Those giant hats really block your view of the track!) Weekdays are a better — pardon the pun — bet.

We tailgated in the parking lot… which is actually a field. (Joni Mitchell would love it!)

The “Thunderstorm Thursday” weather kept a lot of folks away, so there were no lines at the windows (and at the beer booths). We could be true “railbirds.”

We met an elderly man from Dayton and his two middle-aged sons, who were there on a father/son trip. Nice folks.

And despite the ominous forecast, the sun actually broke through in the afternoon for a couple of hours.

We cashed a few tickets… it was usually enough to recoup the $8 that we bet on one race and spend it on the next one. We probably went home $20 lighter. And 1,000% richer for having spent a fun day with good friends.

Not every vacation has to be elaborate. Not every bucket list item has to be exotic. Sometimes a random, rainy Thursday is all you need for some rejuvenation.

(These jockeys didn’t make any money for us, but they were super-friendly.)