Family & Friends · Lifestyle

Mother’s Derby Day Weekend Trifecta

Patricia Yarberry Allen, M.D. is a Gynecologist, Director of the New York Menopause Center, Clinical Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Weill Cornell Medical College, and Assistant Attending Obstetrician and Gynecologist at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. She is a board certified fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr. Allen is also a member of the Faculty Advisory Board and the Women’s Health Director of The Weill Cornell Community Clinic (WCCC). Dr. Allen was the recipient of the 2014 American Medical Women’s Association Presidential Award.

This weekend, the world will have its eyes and wallets on the horse race that always falls on the first Saturday of May, the Kentucky Derby, celebrating its 137th year. Covering one and one-quarter miles, the Derby is also known as the Run for the Roses, for the impressive blanket of 554 red roses placed over the horse that comes in first.

In the racing game, winning a Trifecta is a big deal.  To do this, one must choose the horses that come in first, second and third (“Win, Place and Show”) in order.  Another common use of this term refers to any successful phenomenon that comes in threes.

I will be in Kentucky this weekend, not for the big race, but for the Miss Edna Trifecta.  My mother, Edna Arnold Yarberry, born on May 6,, 1919 will be 92 on Friday.  She grew up on a farm in Adair County, Kentucky, as one of 12 children in Depression-era times.  Her life run has now covered much of the 20th century and past the first decade of the 21stquite a bit longer than the course the horses will run on Saturday! 

Our New York familymy husband and I, my two sons and two stepsons, along with my daughter-in-law and the special girlfriend of my younger sonwill fly into Nashville and drive two hours north in time for the Friday festivitiespart one of my mother’s Trifecta weekend. Those will include a barbecue at the lake compound owned by my brothers with lots of testosterone-fueled activity for the many young men in attendance and lots of conversation and catching up for the women who know how to celebrate such a big birthday. 

The over-the top party—part two of the Trifectawill be held on Saturday with too much food, as always, and visits from out-of-town relatives, including my Aunt Lorena from Chattanooga who will be 101 this summer.  (All of my mother’s sisters are alive and all are in great cognitive shape.) The final leg of this Trifecta will be the Mother’s Day celebration at my mother’s church, where an award is given for the oldest mother present. 

This year all of the mothers have been asked to wear hats so they can be recognized.  Mommie called me on Monday to ask me to wear a hat, followed by, “I wish I had a new hat but I suppose I am too old for that … but the Queen certainly looked elegant in her yellow hat, didn’t she?”  In translation that means, “I want a hat, dear New York City Daughter, from Manhattan, preferably one that was designed for the Queen.”

Mommie and me, when I was a little younger than I am now.

I will find a perfect hat for her new ivory and wheat Mother’s Day outfit.  I will joyfully travel on an uncomfortable airplane with two ample creations, suitable for the Kentucky Derby, but even more appropriate for my mother’s church.  Mommie loves competitions … all competitions.  We were in church with her last year when she was given the prize for oldest mother at the services that day.   We will join Mommie for church on Sunday with both of us wearing fabulous hats on this occasion when mothers are honored across America.  I certainly hope she wins her competition once again.

We will be the winners of the best Trifecta in America this weekend:  A 92nd birthday, a big Saturday birthday party, and Mother’s Day Sunday at Mommie’s church, where she will fill a pew with all the grandsons she loves unconditionally and a daughter who learned all of the sweet things she knows from her.

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  • S. Bewkes May 8, 2011 at 11:37 am

    I hope you are having a wonderful Trifecta weekend. Your lovely mother deserves all the tributes you all can muster up!! Wishing you and her a fabulous celebration – you BOTH are marvels of modern motherhood!!

  • Patricia Yarberry Allen May 7, 2011 at 9:46 am

    Dear Elizabeth and Tonya,

    It is always wonderful to hear from you both. The Rev. Elizabeth Turner, now of Austin, Texas, and I have known each other for too many years to count, through good times and better times. She was present at Mommie’s 70th birthday party in Manhattan and I have the beautiful photos to remember this time.

    Tonya is my first cousin, as we say in the South, “on the Arnold side”,letting neighbors here know that the relationship came from my mother’s family. Tonya and I have known each other since childhood when we spent Sunday summer afternoons at our Arnold grandparent’s farmhouse with dozens and dozens of family there each time. So ironic that we reconnect on this blog with your comment and to find that you are a part of this virtual community. See you this afternoon, Tonya!

  • Tonya Arnold Penick May 6, 2011 at 9:06 am

    Nice article, Pat! I enjoy reading your material. My mom, Doris Jean Arnold, is celebrating her 78th birthday this weekend as well. We’re celebrating at my sister’s house on Saturday, and some of the family is coming over to celebrate with your famiy! Have a joyful weekend! Blessings to you and yours!

  • Elizabeth Turner May 6, 2011 at 8:53 am

    Dear Pat

    Please give our love and birthday wishes to your precious and dear Mother! And re. The photo of you with Edna – you may be much younger but obviously no less determined and opinionated!