Tales from Daytona

I attended the 61st running of the Rolex 24 Race at Daytona International Speedway in Florida from January 25 through the 29th. It's a sports car race and one of the few 24 hour auto races in the world. 

On the Wednesday before the race things are just getting set up and there's not a lot of spectators at the track this early. I ran into a couple of older folks "working the gates" and they had a lot to talk about because they were bored and lonely.

I talked to a lady, she looked to be in her late 60s or early 70s. She was at the head of the stairs going to the pedestrian tunnel to the infield on the west end of the track.

She told me her son died of heart failure in the previous week. He lived in Brooklyn, New York and got COVID in that first deadly wave in March 2020 that hit New York City so hard.  She said he was hospitalized for months.  As a result, he had kidney failure and then kidney disease that was so bad he needed weekly dialysis. As she was telling me this she started to tear up a little and I tried to comfort her. 

He was just an unfortunate guy who got COVID in that very first wave before vaccines and even before hospitals knew how to really treat the disease. It sounded like maybe he suffered a lot and died young, although she didn't say how old he was. She said she was scheduled to work the Rolex 24 months ago and wasn't sure if she could do it after her son died. She had to talk it over with her other kids and they decided it might be good for her to work. "You know, get your mind off of it", she said.

She was sitting there alone and to kill time she was putting together a jigsaw puzzle. There were some pieces missing. She was using the picture of the puzzle on the box to somehow recreate the missing pieces. I've never seen that before and it was actually quite cleaver.