Saturday, November 03, 2007

Raindrops On Roses

They Compensate For Dry Hoses

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON

The weather forecaster got it right and we've had a wet start to the weekend - but no one's complaining. As I've mentioned before, we're in the grip of drought and we have severe water restrictions, so the rain has really been a big relief. This shot was taken in my garden and the rose in the photograph is called Chicago Peace. They are huge roses, very highly scented and last for days in vases.

For most Victorians, this is going to be a four-day weekend, with schools closed on Monday and the Melbourne Cup public holiday the next day. The Melbourne Cup, for those of you who are not familiar with horse racing, is a 3200m race that literally brings the entire country to a standstill. It is held on the first Tuesday of November and so far it looks like the weather will be fine on the big day.

The trophy is an 18-karat gold, three-handled cup that is one of the most coveted trophies in the world. The first time a foreign horse won the Cup was the Irish-owned Vintage Crop in 1993 and this achievement in turn brought a new dimension to the race. Last year, the Japanese-owned Delta Blues became the first Asian horse to take the trophy.

But for me, the most stirring moment in Melbourne Cup history came after the decision by jockey Damien Oliver to ride in the 2002 Cup, immediately after the sudden death of his brother Jason, also a jockey, who succumbed to injuries sustained in a race fall. But Damien Oliver saddled up bravely for the Cup, wearing his brother's breeches - and rode Media Puzzle to victory.

In a spine-tingling moment, he saluted the heavens in a heartfelt tribute to his brother. Then, with tears streaming down his face, he said, ``The Melbourne Cup doesn't mean anything to me any more. I'd give it away right now to have my brother back.'' As a sportswriter, I've seen many emotional moments on the international stage, but none to quite compare with that afternoon at Flemington Racecourse.


Melissa said...

Such a heart warming story about the jockey. I have never even heard of the Melbourne Cup before, and I can't believe schools are closed for that!

Beautiful rose....roses and tulips are my two favorite flowers. Thank you for showing some beauty this morning.

david mcmahon said...

Hi Melissa,

We even celebrate the Queen's Birthday to get a long weekend - and we do so on a day that isn't even her birthday!.

Glad you liked the picture and the story. Hope you and Audrey have a great weekend.

Keep smiling


Amrita said...

We also have a rose garden. The photo is lovely

bygpowis said...

thank you for taking the time to read from my site. are you familiar with james baldwin's work? i'm trying to see what has changed since he wrote. i hope you note that i write not about race but about defining one's humanity in a world that sells you your soul... is that "power" worth publishing? if so, can you help? you know the industry better than me. sorry to be so foward but i have no time to waste. the world needs a kick in the pants.

you may email me if you have any avenues available.

david mcmahon said...

You write with great power - and perhaps that power could be harnessed to make a difference to perceptions that colour somehow dictates who we are.

Anne Bradshaw said...

Thanks for visiting my blog today, David. Had to hop on over and see what you're up to in Australia this morning--or would that be evening over there?

That rose photo is a winner. Can almost smell it. Thanks for sharing.

Shrink Wrapped Scream said...

I think you would have needed to have been made of stone not to witness that without a lump in your throat.

Hammer said...

Glad you got the rain and that jockey story is sad. I didn't know horse racing was so dangerous.

Les Becker said...

What a fabulous pic! I can't comment on the rest of the post, because it won't stick in my head. I keep getting sucked back up to the photo.

lime said...

what a stunning picture.

and the story about damien oliver certainly is deeply touching.

karoline said...

this has to be one of my favorite pics of yours david..i LUV the colors ..i think i can smellit from here...

david mcmahon said...

Hi Amrita,

Why not post some pictures of your rose garden on your blog?

I'd love to see them.

Keep smiling


david mcmahon said...

Hi Bygpowis,

I would love to help. Will email you in the next 24 hours.

Keep smiling


david mcmahon said...

Hi Anne,

Thank you for visiting. I'm so glad you liked the photo.

When you posted the comment, it was almost 1am on Sunday morning here in Oz.

Right now it's Saturday evening in the US, but 8.15am Sunday morning here!

Keep smiling


david mcmahon said...

Hi Carol,

It's not often you see racegoers surreptitiously trying to dry their eyes.

Keep smiling


david mcmahon said...

Hi Les,

Lovely to hear that. And can I just add tat I think your own emerging talent with a camera matches your writing skills.

Keep smiling


david mcmahon said...

Hi Lime,

Glad you liked the picture and the story. From memory, while the rest of Flemington was celebrating, he left early and got on a flight to Perth for his brother's funeral.

Keep smiling


david mcmahon said...

Hi Karoline,

Really? One of your favourites? I'm so glad you said that, because it was completely a spur-of-the-moment shot.

Have a great weekend.

Keep smiling


Kerri said...

It's amazing how the important things really change for us when a loved one passes..... or when there is a health scare in the family.

This rose is truly amazing! The rain drops really add to the shot!
Great Job!

i beati said...

truly lovely there are other perfect days I guess but today in Flo was gorgeous 77 slight breeze and sun..Roses love it

david mcmahon said...

Hi Kerri,

You're so right. Loss brings a totally different perspective.

And Damien Oliver's triumph in those circumstances was remarkable.

Keep smiling


david mcmahon said...

Hi ibeati,

Sounds like perfect weather to me! have a great weekend.

Keep smiling


Mushy said...

Ah, I can smell it from here!


bygpowis said...

i'm very appreciatve of your time and energy, david. who knows, you may be helping the next james baldwin. who really knows.

Luke said...

I'm glad that you got some much-needed rain.

Also, thanks for sharing the story about the jockey; I hadn't heard it, and it is a good one.

whodatdare said...

Wow, what a story abour Damien Oliver, and since my father was a jockey I can tell you that jocks are some of the toughest men on earth. You have to be to control a one ton animal that runs arouns 30 m.p.h. and the only thing to prtect you is a helmet! My father broke his ankle and some ribs in the starting gate and still rode the race... Have a great time a tthe race and if you get a few good pics I hope you post them.

Corey~living and loving said...

What a lovely photo. WOW! Great post.

Suzi-k said...

wow, powerful story!

qofd said...

I am very envious of your ability to get these gorgeous and perfect photos. Do you know how many hundreds of photos I have to take before I get one that goes AHA!

Good job. As always.

~Fathairybastard~ said...

Thgat's beautiful. I can't imagine seeing that and not busting out into tears too. And the rose is a perfect companion to the story... Beautiful and tearing up, in a way. Nice work.