I have two words to describe Derby Day 2017.
The first word is Epic.
We all came ready to celebrate the two most exciting minutes in sports.
There were old friends enjoying each others company. There were new friendships formed. Lots of laughter, celebration and happiness were in the air.
There were lovely ladies in dresses, hats and fascinators.
There were dapper men in seersucker suits.
Delicious food was served- bourbon meatballs, pulled pork sliders, mini Kentucky hot browns, mint julep chicken skewers and chicken and waffle skewers. Because we all know that food tastes better when it is served on a stick.
Makers Mark Mint Juleps were consumed in special Bryon McKim souvenir cups. So many Mint Juleps were consumed that the bar ran out of Makers Mark two hours into the party. Bryon would be particularly proud of that.
There was a silent auction full of amazing items that were generously donated from members of our community. The silent auction was accompanied by friendly competition to outbid each other.
The second word is Bittersweet.
We were having a great time but we all knew that this party would not be happening if Bryon was still alive. If Bryon were still alive, we would have been having our annual Kentucky Derby party in our backyard. The backyard party would have been at a smaller scale but just as fun.
Ultimately Bryon had to die to bring us all together to have a good time.
As much fun as I had on Derby Day, I would have given it all back if it meant Bryon would still be here. But I think I am reaching the point in my grieving process where I am beginning to accept Bryon’s death as it is. I have days where I still ask “why” but I know that even if I can figure out the “why,” it doesn’t change anything. Bryon will still be dead. And there is nothing that can change that.
We can’t change the fact that Bryon is gone but instead we chose to take a horrible situation and make the best of it. Many people die without leaving their mark (pun not intended) on this world but Bryon made his mark (okay, pun was intended this time) and we made the choice to keep his memory alive. Derby Day had the potential to be a very sad day but instead, we chose to celebrate Bryon’s favorite day of the year. And we celebrated in true Bryon McKim fashion. I am grateful that I had so many amazing people to celebrate Bryon’s life with. We all remember what a difference he made in this world. He helped so many people when he was alive and we chose to continue his legacy and help others in his memory.
I want to thank the Bryon C. McKim Derby Party Planning Committee: Vince Casale, Lynn Krogh, Danielle Grasso, Joseph Hanson, Jennifer Muthig, Mike Utzig, Nick Wilock, Jennifer Armstrong, Mike and Natalie Kosar, Sara Stein and everyone else who assisted in the planning process. I am awe of your talent and you ran this event like a well oiled machine. You could run a small nation. Bryon would be proud.
I want to thank our sponsors for supporting the event and all the business who generously donated items for our silent auction. My daughter and I are very lucky to be part of such a supportive community who looks after their own.
I want to thank Wolff’s Biergarten for all your hospitality and help putting on this event. You were great to work with and made our experience enjoyable.
And I want to thank everyone who came out to support our event to celebrate Bryon’s life and keep his memory alive. One of the biggest fears that a grieving person has is that their loved one will be forgotten. Thank you for reminding me that while Bryon may be dead, he did live.
I look forward to celebrating with you again in 2018.