I'm counting down the days until the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500.
I'm not a race fan in the fanatic sense. I've only been to the Indy 500 a handful of times. My memories center around listening to the race on the radio in the backyard while filling out the leading laps grid from the Indianapolis Star.
I do love Indianapolis, tradition, and most of all a theme! Each day I will share a memory or tidbit of history.
In honor of the Academy Awards falling on the 91 days until the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500, I thought I'd share the story of when I sort-of met Paul Newman when he was in town for the 1983 race.
I was working at Benihana restaurant at Keystone at the Crossing. The back room had been reserved for a private party that included Paul, and Mario Andretti. We were told (by the Benihana folks) to not talk to Mr. Newman or Mr. Andretti or anyone in the party.
I was the hostess that evening and after I seated a group in the main room - and explained that yes, they did have to sit with strangers - I walked back to the front and saw a trail of toilet paper sticking out from the men's room door.
I crouched down to pick it up when the door opened and Paul Newman stepped out. I tipped over - I was wearing a kimono and obi and tabi socks and zori sandals after all - and I was looking up at Paul Freaking Newman's amazing blue eyes.
Paul reached down and grabbed my hand to help me stand up. I didn't think I could be any more red-faced and embarrassed until I realized that the hand that Paul had reached for also was clutching the toilet paper I'd picked up.
He was kind enough to not say a word.