The Junior League Turtle Derby is one of my favorite events of the year – or at least of the fall – because it happens to involve three of my favorite things: large hats, small animals, and sports betting. This year’s derby also featured my fourth favorite thing – BlueBell’s might fine Mayor Lavon Hayes. He was looking more dapper than ever in a suit that was perfectly tailored for his chiseled frame. And, don’t tell my darling husband, but when I heard that NASCAR star Brian Vickers bowed out, it was actually my suggestion to have Mayor Hayes co-host the turtle derby with Lemon Breeland. I don’t know where exactly my mind was at that moment (except perhaps remembering how glisten-y the mayor looks whenever I see him on his daily run) because I quite prefer letting Lemon Breeland and Delia Ann Lee make decisions at Junior League meetings. As do they. Boy was I relieved that they both loved my idea! And what an amazing power couple Lemon and Lavon made! Better than Regis and Kelly.
My turtle – “The Shell Obama” – was, of course, the most timelessly stylish of the bunch, a reptilian Jackie O if you will. She gracefully bowed out to Delia Ann’s turtle in the second heat, as is local custom. Though it is a bit unfortunate since The Shell Obama had the best arms of all the turtles and could have totally won the whole kit and caboodle. C’est la vie, I suppose.
The turtle races themselves were a hoot, but for many of us, the derby is also a wonderful excuse for all of us to play dress-up and spend an evening parading around in our finest attire. For charity, of course. Some BlueBellians could have taken tips from my trend-setting tortoise’s namesake, and spruced up their derby wear. Ahem, you know who you are. It doesn’t matter if the main event is an opera, derby, or monster truck pull, if the invite says black tie, it means black tie! And ladies, derby hats are supposed to bloom like the largest petal on the flower of your overall ensemble, not stand out like a prickly thorn, parasitic garden pest, or hideous weed that is climbing up your stem about to strangle your flower to death. Don’t dress like an ugly garden. And don’t let your husbands wear sport coats to black tie affairs! Since I want all of you to shine like proper southern ladies and gentlemen at next year’s derby, I may have a few pictures of Lemon Breeland and Mayor Hayes at the event that I will post for you, my loyal readers…When my hubby isn’t looking.