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Posts Tagged ‘Parenting’

De Baiting Game

I finally enrolled in University in my very late 30’s and it wasn’t until my graduating year (1989) in a Creative Writing class, that I found out I loved writing poetry. But it was axiomatic that creation required passion. I wrote De Baiting Game while my first born daughter Keri-Lynn Janis (after Janis Joplin — “thanks a lot, dad” she told me after reading about the 60’s songbird) and I were arguing about what I can’t remember. What I realized about the two of us while writing the poem, was that we were very much alike.

De Baiting Game – Paul Turney March 1989

Take one headstrong young adult

Add one parent, much the same

Toss in some silly issue

And you have de Baiting game.

To start, youngster regurgitates

Some “truth” she’s learned of late

From someone in her high school class

An acquaintance, or a date.

She throws it out in front of you

Then waits with bated breath

For her wise old dad’s opinion,

It will come as sure as death.

She knows that he will disagree

But she baits him anyway

She’s not prepared to listen

She just wants him to play.

He argues from experience

Though he knows he cannot win

If he throws enough against the wall

Just once, it might sink in.

Her “theory”, as oft as not

Will be essentially inane

But that’s the bait that’s needed

To begin de Baiting Game.

“I didn’t ask for your advice!”

She baits dad once again

“It’s not advice but simple truth,”

To deaf ears, this refrain.

The evidence that backs his case

Is daddy’s last resort

She baits him with “You’re playing God”

(The ultimate retort.)

He won’t tell her she’s ignorant

(The “prophecy”, he fears)

It could be self-fulfilling

And would surely lead to tears.

And so he’ll wait with bated breath

‘Til she admits her theory’s lame

Or ‘til she becomes a politician

Getting paid to play de Game.

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This post was written by Paul Turney and originally appeared in the Daily Racing Form Friday, October 4, 1996. It is about one of his favourite topics…his Dad. Enjoy!

Fort Erie, Ontario – Pops is coming for a visit. At 83, he’s somewhat eccentric, but loves the horses.  He’s been punting at Winnipeg’s Assiniboia Downs for as long as I can remember, but the only other track he’s been to is Hastings Park, in Vancouver.  My brother lives on the West Coast and when dad visits, they make it a point to take in a few days of racing.

I can’t wait to show off Fort Erie.  Pops has always been one to appreciate lush, manicured greenery.  I know that because of the way he made me trim the edges of our own lawn when I was a youngster.  I grew up hating the sight of shears.

He also loves to wager – lotteries, Oscar the Mouse and horses.  Even now the first thing he asks when I call him in Winnipeg is, “How’s the horse?” Not how are you, how’s the family, but how’s the horse. Pops is also quite an armchair trainer.  He diagnoses ailments from 1,500 miles away, but his prescription invariably calls for a change in distance.

Pop’s been buying Daily Racing Form since before I was born, but I’m sure all he reads is the total money won and place of birth.  Naturally, he bets on the horse which has earned the most cash, especially if it was foaled in Kentucky.  His most important source of information, however, is ethereal.  He sees numbers in the clouds, numbers in his dreams, and numbers in coffee stains.  He lives to see numbers and then reroutes them onto tickets at the track.

I’ll never forget the time we were walking into Assiniboia Downs and he stooped to pick up a nickel from the asphalt.  Studying the coin, he mumbled “1962.  Nine and one is 10, six and two is eight. It’s going to be a 10/8 double.”

He trundled over to the wickets to place his bet, while my friends roared with laughter.  Just before post time, I snuck away and bet that same double and put a fair bit of money on 10 in the first.  The horse was a longshot, but I knew how lucky my pop was. Ten came home on top and I was up a chunk.  Pop was grinning like a cheshire cat and my friends stopped laughing.  We all be the 8 horse in the second – although the “guys” were somewhat tentative because this horse, too, was paying boxcars.  I went to the $20 dollar wicket. Sure enough, here came Mr. 8, ears pricked and prancing at the front.

Pops was really happy now.  He’d made about $130 but more importantly had something to talk about.  I was up well over a grand but preferred to keep it quiet in case he wanted royalties.

I’ll be bringing pop to the races this weekend.  I know that once he gets over the initial realization that a track can be an aesthetic wonderland, he’ll love it here – there’s a whole new bank of ticket sellers to entertain.  You’ll know him when you see him.  He’ll be the guy with sparks in his eyes when you tell him he can’t bet a 1-1 exactor.  He doesn’t like the new rules and figures he’s been betting 1-1 for 40 years and should be allowed to continue.  I’m sure glad he wasn’t here Monday when Mike Newell sent out his 1 and IA entry Layfield’s Locks and Royal Don to run one-two in the second race.  The exactor was paid off on one-three, as Scottie Jr. ran third.  Pops would have been a tad upset.

And me?  I’m eager to see if my dad’s luck transcends geographic boundaries.  He’s cashed some handsome wagers at Assiniboia and at Hastings, but after all, this is Ontario, a whole different country as far as racetracks go.  Moreover, it’s Fort Erie.  You need to read the Daily Racing Form.  I’ll introduce my dad to Ken Jones at Handicapper’s Corner.  Kenny deserves an opportunity to learn a different way to pick winners.

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