It’s Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, 2022. That means that it is Race Day here in Indianapolis. More than 350,000 people entered the gates of the fabled Indianapolis Motor Speedway to watch the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” under perfect, clear blue skies, great temperatures, a wind out of the east and a full crowd in attendance – the first time since the pandemic started.
It was a marvelous race that didn’t disappoint – complete with a great finish and a first time winner. But the best part of the entire day was the fact that I got to spend it with our son, Andrew. I’m sure that doesn’t necessarily sound like anything out of the ordinary to most of you, but it is a tradition in the Toussaint family.
You see, when I was a boy, my Dad had a small transistor radio, a Toshiba, that was kept in a brown leather case. Back in the day, Dad would take the radio out in the yard to listen to his favorite team, the Chicago Cubs, throughout the summer whenever he worked in his rose garden. But every race day, Dad would tune in to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio network and listen to the race with me for as long as I can remember. Of course, you couldn’t see it on TV in those days and so I really got used to the audio broadcast we heard each year.
The announcers were like old friends of ours – Sid Collins and Lou Palmer were the two I remember the most. And the drivers – A.J. Foyt, Al Unser, Sr. Bobby Unser, Roger Ward, Dan Gurney and so many others were heroes of my childhood. But the special part was sharing all those days with my Dad. Just the two of us – working side by side and listening to the action down in Indianapolis from our backyard in the south side of Chicago. Those were memories I have never forgotten. I used to get so excited that I would find it difficult to sleep the night before the race.
Dad’s been gone since 1978, so I only got to share 25 or so races with him. But when our son, Andrew, was born in 1981, I started the tradition with him. And today, we celebrated what I think was our 40th race day broadcast together. Each year, I go back to the memories I have with my Dad and I hope that Andrew will cherish our time together as much as I do.
Many friends know about our special day together each year. Nobody calls me or invites me anywhere – they know the day belongs to Andrew and me – together. Neither one of us would miss it unless there was a medical emergency or something horrible had happened. Its automatic – we don’t even need to communicate about it – we both just know that it’s a date every race day.
Janet still asks whether we have spoken and set things up. The answer is always the same – of course not. Andrew will be over before the driver announcements and the pre-race festivities. We will hear Back Home Again in Indiana, the National Anthem, the fly-over and all the other traditions that we have come to know and love throughout the years. We often chat about drivers, position, accidents, leadership changes and all the other things that happened during the race, but we could both sit there in silence and love the camaraderie that we have. It’s unlike any other day in the year.
I was thinking about this earlier today. I can count on our time together – period. We don’t even need to talk about it. I just know it – he’s coming… He knows where the radio is – a radio that I have had since before I was eighteen – but mine is a Panasonic, a little different from my father’s. And he can count on me as well. It’s a date – unbreakable. It’s special…
What I thought about today was that our relationship with God is similar to the special relationship that Andrew and I have. God will always be there – you can count on it. He won’t be late – you can count on that also. And if you don’t feel like talking, God is okay with that as well. But if you want to engage Him in conversation, He already has a history with you and knows what you are about to say. There’s great comfort in that. Just being there with Him is enough…
Our verse for tonight comes from an Old Testament prophet, Zephaniah. He tells us, in Zephaniah 3:17, “The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” My encouragement this evening is that God wants us to be as excited about spending time with Him as he is about spending time with each of us. My prayer is that we can KNOW, for sure, that God is with us – and not just on race day – but every moment of every hour of every day throughout our entire lives – and into eternity. And you can take that to Victory Lane! Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…