Memorial Day week-end is past. But memories in 1956 as newlyweds surface. My husband explained to me that it was a family tradition to go to the Indy 500. Family and friends always met there also. Since we both worked, if it got rained out on Monday, we just had to forfeit our tickets.
My husband would subscribe to the Indianapolis Star for the special month of May race issues. It listed all the drivers and their cars. Underneath the Newspaper name was the scripture that read..."Where the Spirit of the Lord is...there is liberty." Yes, that newspaper was bold.
We would pack our cooler with my fried chicken and head for Indianapolis the day of the races. A minute or two before the race started, Jim Nabors would sing, Back Home Again In Indiana. Then we heard. “GENTLEMEN START YOU ENGINES.” The pace car would lead off and the race would begin. When we would see the crowd stand at the far end, we stood also to see who had spun out of the races.
Moving to a different state, we had to change our schedule a bit. We would arrive late on Sunday night, and get in the line-up of cars parked on the side of the streets; sleep in the car until morning and be some of the first to enter when the gates opened to get a parking spot under a tree. We brought our coleman stove and cooked our breakfast in the parking field to share with family and friends. What made it more interesting was one of the race car drivers was a young man that had been my landlord before I was married. We got to visit him in the pits before the races. And yes, one year he won.
In 1974 they decided to change the races from Monday to Sunday. In case it rained they would have another day before people had to go back to work.
This was horrible! We were both involved at church but this Indy 500 was a big deal as you can tell from my detail. We had done it for 19 years! We went that first year on a Sunday, hoping they would change back to Monday. Funny us! We knew we had to take a stand. All of our friends, both from church and work, knew what a big deal it was for us and were watching us. After 20 years I laid down my Indy flag. It was much harder for my husband. But the next year there was peace because "where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty". And for us it was being in God's house on Sundays. We wanted Him to know He was more important than our earthly pleasure.