A local guy who’s been playing with cars for many years was honored in Indianapolis yesterday — fifty years after he showed up for the first time, unannounced, eager to race. A fellow named Foyt.
1967 was one of the years A. J. Foyt won. We had moved in January of that year from New Haven, Connecticut, to Terre Haute, Indiana, my dad’s home town. My parents and a couple aunts and uncles went to the race. I was mad I couldn’t go–but they were all in their 20s and 30s … and I was five.
I stayed with my grandparents and listened to it with my grandfather on the radio. It wasn’t broadcast live on TV in those days. We sat in hard wooden chairs at a table on the screened-in back porch (called a “patio” there), the sun shining through the translucent green Plexiglas roof. On a plate on the table … a beef tongue, which my grandfather slowly sliced and enjoyed as we listened to the race, imagining my parents screaming with the crowd as A. J. Foyt raced to victory.