This article appears in the March 2011 issue of LouisvilleMagazine. To subscribe, please visit loumag.com.
It was 4 a.m. on Derby Saturday, and three friends and I, box of Spinelli’s pizza in hand, were just getting home. That’s where we found another buddy, Chris, snoring on my front porch’s doormat. There were a couple of reasons for this. First, he had gotten separated from our group earlier at Fourth Street Live!. Upon returning to my place, Chris was keyless and everybody else inside was already asleep. (Difficult to hear a doorbell after a night that began downtown and ended at the Baxter Avenue bars.) Second, it was probably the only “bed” that had not been claimed.
Ten people crashed at my house during last year’s Derby, my fourth in Louisville and first as a homeowner. My wife had been hesitant about ushering these savages (i.e., friends) through the front door. What if somebody, you know, broke a saucer?
We live in a two-story Crescent Hill bungalow with three bedrooms, but on that weekend we had more vacancies than the Galt House. See, folks, an air mattress can squeeze into the front room! Those chairs on the back patio are perfect if you enjoy sleeping upright! Of course the kitchen floor can double as a guest suite! One dude actually slept face-down on our family room’s rug, with no blankets or pillows. My wife and I share a bed upstairs, and during Derby somebody decided to sleep on our uncarpeted bedroom floor. We refused to let him crawl under our sheets when he got chilly.
I never invite people to Derby but have accepted the fact that if you live in Louisville, they will come. Actually, I’m not convinced my out-of-town friends realize Louisville exists when it’s not Derby Weekend. And to tell you the truth, my wife and I sort of like it that way. Makes us feel like we’re in on the secret. Which brings me to my take on Derby: Let the masses invade for two nights, then fill them with enough mint juleps that their hangovers will prevent them from returning for another year.
If it sounds like I’m not a good host, well, that’s simply not true. Like last year, for instance, I supplied orange juice for Saturday-morning mimosas. To provide an even better experience this May, I’ve decided one lucky guest will get to sleep standing in the cozy nook you might refer to as the chimney.
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