The day after Christmas, December 26, was always my Grandpa T.'s favorite day of the year. That was the day that Santa Anita opened each year. My Grandfather was always ready and eager to head to the track. Santa Anita is the horse racing track near Pasadena in Los Angeles County. There was also Hollywood Park, but my Grandfather's favorite track was Santa Anita. And so, on December 26 of each year, my Grandfather would head off to the track. He won often, and like most die hard horse racing fans, claimed to have a system for picking winners. He told me his system once, but unfortunately I didn't remember it.
On days when my Grandfather didn't go to the track, he would always listen to the race results on the radio. First on the radio station would be The Lone Ranger. When the Lone Ranger ended, the Santa Anita race results would be repeated with Joe Hernandez, the voice of Santa Anita, calling the races. My Grandfather would listen carefully to each race, and would be either very happy or disappointed. He did win often so he was usually happy. The horse races brought my Grandfather much happiness.
In the mid 1950s, my Grandfather was diagnosed with cancer of the lymph nodes. He was given six months to live by his doctors. He was urged to have surgery and the current treatments to prevent the cancer from spreading. My Grandfather chose to go against everything the doctors recommended. He quit smoking, changed his diet to all natural foods ("Drink bottled water, don't eat white sugar or white flour", he would tell me) and began going to Mexico to get the controversial drug Latreal. My Grandfather would stretch that six months to live into six years. He would live to attend many more races at Santa Anita.