For the past four or five years now the entire Coughlin clan has come together every Tuesday for a family dinner at my father Jeg Sr.'s and his wife Sue's house just up the street from my place in Delaware, Ohio. Usually, when you add in my brothers, their wives, everyone's kids, racing friends who are passing through town, and other assorted guests and visitors, we have 30 or so folks at these gatherings. It's quite an event, and it's a heck of a lot of fun.
This all started when Dad and Sue began spending winters at their place in Florida. They decided to start a tradition during the four or five summer months when they're in Ohio so we could all get together and just enjoy one another's company. Thus, the Coughlin family dinners were born.
Sue is quite a cook and she has no problem preparing massive amounts of delicious food for everyone. The grand kids all have their individual favorite dishes so usually she'll rotate the menu around from week to week depending on whose turn it is to select what we're having for dinner.
Of course, the company is second to none. We're very fortunate that everyone in our family gets along with one another. I think the way my mom and dad raised us has a lot to do with that. It's also helpful that we all live within probably a 10-12 mile radius of Pop's place.
Naturally, we spend a lot of time talking about racing, but it's far from the dominant topic. With so many kids and grand kids around there are always lots of other stories to tell. By having these dinners we're able to really stay involved in what everyone is doing so it's really become a neat, neat deal.
They have a beautiful place with some acreage so there's room to play Cornhole, race around the property on golf carts, go fishing or canoeing in the pond, or take a whirl down the giant slip-n-slide my dad sets up that, if you hit just right, will dump you in the pond. Trust me, there is never a dull moment.
When you're running a company as big as JEGS Mail Order and racing a full schedule in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, life seems like it goes by at Mach 1 with your hair on fire. These dinners allow us all to slow down, if only for a few hours, and realize how blessed we are.
Once we get down to dinner we always start with one of the grand kids saying the Catholic prayer. Then we settle in to eat, at which point we'll go around the two massive tables we have set up and hear different stories from around the room of what has been going on the last week.
This is aimed toward the kids and we all love to hear about the latest horse show, junior drag race, ASA race, golf tournament, various little league sports or a spelling bee. If someone has been lucky enough to win a trophy or ribbon then this is their chance to show it off. Dad and Sue even have a special place to put everything so it's front and center all night.
If one of the adults has done something of note, then we'll exchange toasts and cheers. Aside from working every day with my three brothers, I'm extremely proud of their accomplishments and these dinners help me remember what a talented group of family members I have.
I've always known that a big part of my racing success is directly attributable to my family. I strongly feel that I wouldn't have won as many races or championships, and I certainly wouldn't have enjoyed the journey as much, if not for my family.
I encourage everyone to take a moment from time to time to reflect on your family and all the good things they represent. If you can, host a dinner. I promise you won't be disappointed.