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  Wednesday January 28th, 2015    

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Oh, those eyes! (02/04/2007)
From: Toni Zaborowski

Growing up in the Cities, my family spent every summer vacationing in Brainerd and continued for many years after we relocated to Winona. George Montgomery who was our neighbor and friend in the Cities, owned what was once called Donnybrook Racetrack, now known as Brainerd Int'l Raceway (BIR), in Brainerd. So a trip to the track located near the resort was always on the itinerary.

Through the years the family grew and it always varied who would be able to get away and make the vacation. My brothers and sisters, kids in tow, were always coming or going. One day at 19 I found myself the only sibling with my parents. My father and I took the traditional trip to the racetrack. George was not there and the premises were closed to the public as the racers were doing their practice rounds for an upcoming weekend race. My dad through his association with George managed to get us into the grounds. We sat there alone in the bleachers/stands watching the cars go round and round, the cars would stop once in a while and the driver would get out to stretch and get back in. I was just a little bored until to our surprise, Paul Newman stepped out of his car. He then got on a red moped and off he went and off WE went from the bleachers in hot pursuit. It was not difficult to follow him to his trailer since the grounds were deserted. Knock-knock on the door, he opened it and smiled. I will never forget the ice blue color of his eyes and how little he is. My dad introduced us which was followed by small talk and me asking him for his autograph. Paul apologized saying he does not give autographs but invited us in for a beer. Oh my God""..I was on my way up the steps when suddenly I felt a tug. I could not believe my ears when I heard my dad politely thanking him only to say we were expected back at the cabin because his brother and sister were arriving. I immediately said, "I'll stay and you can come back and get me." A stern "no" was said by you- know- who and then Paul winked at me. We shook hands and said our "good-byes."

It was a quiet return trip to the cabin. My uncle and aunt soon arrived, the story was told and the card games began. I grabbed a beer from the fridge and walked down to the dock. I sat there dangling my feet in the water and through the ripples, imagined I saw Paul Newman's face smiling back at me. Could it have been the high from the beer??? I will never forget that day and can't help but think, what a missed opportunity to have a beer with Paul Newman!

If you knew my dad, Bob, you know what an honorable man he was and how family always came first. 


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