Some of you are old enough to remember those parting words on the Mickey Mouse Club, "Now its time to say goodbye to all our family.." Never much cared for those words as I never much cared for goodbyes. But no matter how tenacious I have been to deny it, the time has come to say goodbye to the track I love the most.
For whatever reason, I did not attend the Mesa Marin press conference that day that it was announced the track was going to close. I guess it is a good thing for it would have been challenging navigating the Grapevine with crocodile tears.
I went to the track one or two times after that announcement. It was on my schedule many times more than that. But I shut down. It was as if someone told me the dearest person to my heart would never recover. And so I coped with the same feelings one would when going through the stages of a fatal illness. I first was struck with disbelief and then sunk into denial which later turned to anger and now I guess I am finally having to accept it. Mesa Marin is having its last stand this weekend and no matter how much I tried to say it is not happening, the time has come to say goodbye.
The first race after the track announced closing I walked upstairs, up the stairs behind the men's bathroom because Marion told me it was the easier way up and Marion always gave this ol' lady good advice. I saw Mike from the Bakersfield Californian in his spot and Stephanie looking out the window and then Shirley walked in. She told me not to say anything because she would cry. So I hugged her and I didn't say anything, I walked to the spot where I always plugged my computer in, stopped and then I kept walking and walking much further down, just so no one could see me weep.
I wiped the tears and marched up to the roof. I wanted to get photos to remember the track I love, we all love. As I ascended the stairs and my head was high enough to see the rooftop and there was Larry. He was sitting quietly with his chin on the back of his hand, similar to the pose of " The Thinker" gazing out at the track. And I remember that beautiful sun setting to the left of him. I didn't say anything. I left him with his thoughts.
I walked back down and then back in and Marion was in the announcer's booth, doing just about the same thing as Larry, sitting looking out at the track. Now if you know Marion you know he doesn't normally sit.
That was one of those sad days, but now maybe it is time to remember all the good days. To thank the entire Mesa Marin staff for giving us such great memories.
Maybe some of you would like to share with the Collins family the fond or funny memories. Yep, I guess it is time to say goodbye.