“And the winds will say, ‘ They were a decent, godless people. Their only monument the asphalt road and a thousand lost golf balls.” Can’t remember who first wrote that, but Tom will!
Just home from our annual summer golf outing with my high school friends. There are six of us who actually came together in middle school but a few who go back as far as first grade together. At our thirtieth high school reunion -many years ago- we reunited ( which attests to the success of the reunion organizers) and for the last 17 years have established a proud tradition of gathering for a weekend every August to play golf, eat, drink and pretty much resume the behavior we demonstrated in middle school. The characters that comprise this cadre I will identify according position in the photo below. Jeb, Me, Bob, Paul, Scott (the oldest)and Bill. I am the youngest, which I take no credit for, so am still the most sound of mind – in my opinion – and also what you might call the high scorer in the golf competition which is a responsibility I have assumed for 17 years and do not take lightly! I have not changed the names to protect the innocent for there are none in this particular cohort. In the early years there was a lot of drinking throughout the the golf matches and there were high times and reckless cartmanship. As we have gotten older we seem to have mellowed a bit. It would appear that we are more serious now so don’t want golf to be such a distraction from our drinking.
Since Bob (Faull) was the early instigator of this event, it was dubbed The Faull Classic. After a few short years a name change was deemed necessary at which time it became the Faull Irritational. I would leave the reason for that to my readers’ imaginations but will suggest that when Bob was in your foursome there was a very good chance the strap holding your clubs to the cart would come undone, your ball may have been imbedded in the fairway by a cart tire thus improving your lie or you may have noticed his putter between your legs while you were putting. He has curtailed much of this immature behavior but, all will be in agreement, has not matured and has mastered more sophisticated irritational behaviors. At this juncture it may be appropriate to note Scott’s observation that the long weekend of togetherness has become an exercise in character assassination – actually six simultaneous assassinations. Certainly not an esteem-building workshop, but one is annually reminded of ones shortcomings and is offered constructive suggestions as to what to do with yourself – mostly from Bob! This observation probably came to Scott during the four minutes he spends standing over every put……..he couldn’t be thinking about putting all that time!
Paul and his wife Mary, also a classmate as far back as our elementary school days, are foolish enough to host this event. They open their home to out of towners and their lake cottage to the apres-golf activities involving boating, water skiing for any 65 year old foolish enough to try it (Bob), limitless libation, the sacrifice of about 500 clams as well as a side of beef and a Saturday night campfire where much philosophical debate unfolds.
The Golf……………… Paul always wins. Never any argument. Never any uncertainty. After sharing a cart with him I can tell you, he has an extraordinary short game. This actually makes sense since it might be said that he is not extraordinarily tall. He simply chips to the pin and sinks his 14 inch put- sometimes he needs not put! I on the other hand am of moderate height, have no short game, no long game and manage to screw up most everything in-between. With this there is also never any argument. Never any uncertainty. No suggestion that there is a golf gene on any of my chromosomes. I may have Jeb look into that. He has a company that is tinkering with genes to find a cure for cancer. Maybe when he gets over that he can focus on my problems. If playing on a day when those annoying little gnats are buzzing around your eyes causing unwanted modifications to your backswing, you want to be playing with Bill. He will be the large, happy object located at the center of a cloud of cigar smoke. Scott can drive the ball a mile ( we measured it). So can Jeb and also Bob. Both of them often take the opportunity to hit their second shot from an alternate fairway and if truth be told, on a weekend where it seldom is, they have both mastered the impossible recovery shot. Enough about golf.
After 18 holes on Friday afternoon and 18 on Saturday morning – which usually doubles my season’s hole count – we retire toPaul’s lake cottage where we spend the afternoon and evening laughing, insulting one another, spending inordinate amounts of time arguing about the best way to cook a clam and the number of BTUs in a triple glazed window, perhaps drinking more than necessary, reliving high school adventures that get bigger and better every year and generally making those wives still foolish enough to attend this picnic tingle with delight that they ever made our acquaintance. Jeb made us T-shirts this year as a reminder of how old we are and I guess to help us remember who we are in the morning. Bob and Bill are the master clam shuckers, consequently there were lots of raw clams and no insects nearby!
As fascinating as this is I will move ahead to the campfire where we congregate once darkness falls, the temperature drops and the ladies have departed . This year was the innaugural Fireside Fashion Competition both initiated and won by Bob. As the evening air assumed a chill, Bob disappeared and shortly returned sporting a pair of unhemed, red /burgundy, sweat pants which off-putting to some did match the color of his eyes in the morning! This would have centered him as the object of some ridicule had it not been for white pinstripe down each leg which added that certain je ne sais quoi! Meanwhile, Paul was sporting a hooded sweatshirt in which he thought we couldn’t see him sleeping. Jeb was desperate to get one of us to pour our drink in Paul’s lap. Of course we were all too much the gentleman …and….didn’t want to waste a drink! After an hour or two of retelling the same jokes of the last 17 years and reliving sexual adventures that we never had, we drifted off to bed except for Bill who sacrificed himself by staying up with Bob until he passed out and almost fell into the lake. Pretty routine stuff!
Always a good time.. Bob takes a lot of heat, most of which he deserves, but if misfortune should befall any of us Bob would be the first to offer help. Thank you Bob. ‘Til we meet again my friends.
OK. Since you insist…………….. Golfer: The doctor says I can’t play golf. Caddie: Oh, he’s played with you too, eh?
In Recovery, Grumpa