NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Voices from the Heartland: A Funny Thing Happened at the Track Last Saturday…

As I announced at the end of one of my columns a couple of weeks ago, I recently became a grandfather. Reid Cain Doyle was born to my daughter Erin and her husband, Ron, on August 24th.

Since that time, I cannot count how many times I have been asked, “So, how’s it feel to be a grandpa?”

To be honest, I didn’t know what to say. I mean, I felt no different than I did on August 23rd (minus the hangover, which is a good thing). Yes, I was very proud of my daughter and my new grandson, but since they live 1,000 miles away in South Carolina, I have yet to see the little bugger. Oh, I had been preparing a bit as back in July, when I went on a charity bicycle ride with Carl Edwards, I was able to obtain an autographed, No. 99 Edwards onesie. But other than that – and the fact that the word “onesie” had re-entered my vocabulary after an almost 22-year absence – nothing was really different… until last Saturday night, that is.

Last Saturday, my girlfriend and I attended the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Iowa Speedway with a few friends, two of which were attending their first NASCAR event. As with any NASCAR “newbies,” it is always fun to share your knowledge, answer their questions and, in my case as a journalist with additional access, regale them with tales and inside information of some of the drivers, the media center, and the garage. Evenings like that make you feel like a NASCAR “old-timer” and it is most always a good time. But that is not the funny part; the funny part is what happened as we began shopping along the midway.

You see, I am basically a very frugal person. Some would say “cheap,” but I prefer “frugal” because it sounds better and, let’s be honest, one doesn’t get to use that particular word very often during your everyday use of the English language. Frugal or cheap, call it what you will, I don’t often buy all that much stuff when it comes to shopping along a racetrack midway. I might grab the latest No. 99 or track visor, and I did grab me a cool windsock for $10; but nine times out of 10, I am able to walk away without having worn another number off my debit card. Something changed, however, last Saturday, and I think I now am beginning to know what “feeling like a grandpa” really means.

I found myself suddenly very interested in kid’s clothes! While the onesie (a word that Word spellchecker has a fit about, by the way) I got back in July is for 0-3 months, I figured I better start thinking of my grandson’s racing attire future! I now have in my possession, ready for transport to South Carolina, a 6-9 months set of Edwards – Aflac gear that includes awesome little No. 99 booties, a No. 99 infant skull cap, and another No. 99/Edwards onesie. To be honest, I almost also bought a little No. 18/Kyle Busch onesie, just for the simple fact that it was chocolate brown and, remembering from when my girls were little and how diapers will inevitably leak whatever a child injects into them, I thought it would be quite fitting! Unfortunately, the “frugal” part of me kicked in and I just couldn’t justify the cost of buying something that I ultimately hoped would be shat upon.

I wasn’t the only one that got caught up in the kids’ clothes shopping, either. My girlfriend took care of Reid’s 12-month stage of No. 99 attire needs by buying an awesome jumper/t-shirt set that I just can’t wait to see him in!

In the past, when my girls were little, I was not into NASCAR like I am now and really didn’t care what they were wearing. I mean, that was mom’s job! Certainly, I never went out looking for “cool” onesies to dress them in. But my, how times have changed – I was even eyeing the little racing jackets hanging from above with the price tag out of sight!

So, I still don’t know if I know exactly how to verbalize how it “feels” to be a grandpa, but as my girlfriend said as she saw me eyeing the racing jacket that would take Reid years to grow into…

“You’re thinking of buying him one of those when you haven’t even bought yourself one yet? You’re nuts!”

“Yeah, I know; but those gotta be cheaper than the ones in my size!”

That’s what it feels like to be a grandpa!

Stay off the wall,

Jeff Meyer

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