'66 At The Races

Zastaria, Reisterstown, MD

April 20, 2019


Stas' and Julia hosted their 8th annual '66 mini-reunion on the day of the Grand National Steeplechase, April 20 this year. It was Easter weekend, and the weather forecast all week had been for heavy rain on Friday and showers all day Saturday, so attendance was down, 19 classmates and a handful of spouses and guests. Friday was indeed stormy, but Saturday cleared up and became a sunny, warm spring day. Since it was so well received last year, Julia's catered lunch was Mexican again, and it once more got rave reviews, so that may become a firm part of the tradition.



After lunch we lined up on the patio for this group shot. Dayna Smith, Peter Cary's spouse, was kind enough to take the picture (she's a professional photographer, and made sure to line us up so everyone was visible. Thanks, Dayna!) Left to right, John Edie, Frank Nuessle, Peter Cary, Jack Chidester, Frank Ward, Henry Rutledge, Bill Eddy, Jay Lagemann's Basketball Tiger Statuette, Rob Middleton, Larry Cook, Stas' Maliszewski, Ned Groth, Andy Butz, Steve Herrmann (in front of), Russell Willis, Terry Beaty, Kit Mill, Lauson Cashdollar, Jay Lagemann. John Slidell managed to miss the picture—he was either getting another beer or getting rid of the last couple. Jay's Hitchhiking Tiger was present but delegated the appearance to his smaller sibling. Next year maybe we'll try to remember to ask people to take off their hats and sunglasses.


Russell Willis got the long-distance award. He arrived in the US earlier in April, en route back home to Darwin, Australia, from a trek in Norway, and was visiting his old home town of Pelham, NY (where Ned Groth also has a home). He asked Ned whether it was worth staying an extra week or so to attend the Races. Ned said it certainly was, so Russell stayed and the two of them drove down together. A few days later, Russell flew back to Oz, happy that he'd been able to participate. He also filmed a couple of videos which are included below with the slide shows.

These slide shows appear below. 
You may need to refresh the screen to display a slide show. You can pause a show by placing the cursor over the current image.


(1) Before and After: Some classmates arrived Friday and/or stayed over Saturday night, and there was plenty of work to be shared, setting up for and tidying up after the day's events. Also fine food and drink supplied by our gracious hosts, and extended good fellowship with old friends.



(2) Classmates and Kin: Ned tried to get at least one good shot of everyone who attended,
and Lauson Cashdollar got a few nice portraits that Ned missed (see "Cash Bonus" below). Complaints will be listened to and filed for next year.



(3) Lunch with the Tigertones: It has become part of the tradition that the Tigertones come down and serenade us at lunchtime. The kids in the group (some of whom have now done this three or four times)
say it's one of their favorite concerts of the year. The atmosphere, enjoying lunch on Zastaria's lovely patio on a glorious spring day with unmatched musical entertainment, can't be topped. Russell Willis filmed part of Runaround Sue.




(4) The Races: Grand National: The first race of the day is the Grand National Steeplechase, with a $50,000 purse. Senior Senator, who had won it each of the past two years, won again, going away this time, so there was little drama in the finish. It's exciting to watch these equine athletes risking life and limb as they hurtle over the barriers, and this year, tragedy struck; a horse took a fatal fall at the next-to-last fence. WARNING: Ned got photos of the accident. The complete sequence, for those who are curious about how these things happen, is in Slide Show 6. If you might find those images disturbing, skip Slide Show 6, and perhaps consider skipping slides #s 16 and 17 in this series.



(5) The Races: Secondary Contests: The Benjamin H. Murray Memorial ($20,000) and the Western Run Plate II ($15,000) followed the Grand National. Each race had only half a dozen horses in it; the Murray Memorial had an exciting finish, and Russell Willis caught it on video (also shown in Slide #12). A couple of jockeys were thrown but no one of either species was hurt. 



(6) The Races: Spectators: '66 has found a way to watch the races in our own unique style.



(7) The Races: The Accident: Some pretty amazing shots Ned got, not only of how a horse can have a fatal fall, but also of how that affects the horses behind him. WARNING, THESE IMAGES MAY BE DISTURBING, USE DISCRETION AND SKIP THIS SERIES IF IT MIGHT UPSET YOU.




(8) Zastaria: The magnificent setting for this gathering always deserves some pictures in its own right, and this year, with flowers blooming and perfect weather, the scene was exceptional




 Cash Bonus: Lauson Cashdollar sent us his photos after the other sets had been edited into slide shows, so his are presented here as an added set. One advantage, the whole day is captured in a single show




Unless otherwise credited, photos and captions are by Ned Groth. Russell Willis took some shots and videos, and Dayna Smith added more shots, as noted in captions, as well as the group photo. Lauson Cashdollar's photos are in the Cash Bonus section.