That's Tiny Tim in the Sunnyvale nursery school Christmas play
Hernandez, all right, and the flint would melt out of any Scrooge's heart at
the sight of him. Pale and frail, his long-lashed, liquid eyes fixed obediently
on his father, he stands with his little arms clasped behind him while around
him roars the purposeful clutter and clatter of the pits. His mother is
adjusting the fit of his jacket, Dad is going over the tactics for the next
race, the tight-jeaned adolescents are talking about their latest auto crashes
as they tinker with their carburetors, chicks in checked shirts are chewing gum
and spinning Yo-yos, the announcer is threatening damnation to racers with
inadequate mufflers, but the loudspeaker only churns up further the sound waves
spitting and rattling and booming off the track.
"It's time to
go, Steve," says Dad, and he taps the great red crash helmet with the No.
16 on it. "That's the number he wore at Berryessa," says Dad as he
tightens the straps. 'That was the first time I let him really race; he'd just
been around the track before. That was last February, and we'd just got him the
kart for a Christmas present. He was only 7, and we were scared they were going
to ask for his birth certificate. Once later on they did, and they wouldn't let
him race because the minimum age is 8, and, man, was he mad."
"He's a good
boy," says Mom, "and he gets good marks in school. But, boy, has he got
Did Steve win his
did," says Dad. "He just took off and flew."
wins!" cries Mom. "At least he always comes in first, second or third,
one of those. The house is full of trophies. He loves cups, but now he has so
many sometimes he prefers to get ribbons. We had some shelves built for my
husband's trophies when he was racing motorcycles, but we've had to move them
all away. Steve's trophies take up all the room."
"I raced four
years, and I got 21 trophies," says Dad. "Steve's only been racing a
year and he's got 57."
"Fifty-eight," Steve corrects him from somewhere under the immense
black goggles that leave nothing of his face to be seen but the thin white
point of his chin.
counting the one from Snow's Grand Prix that they haven't sent us yet. Oh,
we've got them from all over. We've raced Steve up and down the San Mateo
peninsula and all over—Lodi, Watsonville, why we've been all the way to