Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Golf III

As you know I am trying to introduce you to some of my strongest and most loyal friends in the series called Golf. Well today we go to a very special guy. I will never forget the first time I met him.

In high school I fancied myself a golfer, and had a couple of other friends who thought, like me, we were good golfers. I played on the golf team at school so I knew all of the golfers, or so I thought. I played football with a guy who said he had a friend he would team with; I could get a golfing buddy, and we would have a little competition with a little bet, if we so desired. I was a little wary until he told me the guy he was playing with went to school with us. He didn’t play any sports and was just a buddy of his who lived down the street from him. Well at that point he had me hook line and sinker!! We were poplar and we knew everyone in school so this guy had to be a chump so we accepted the challenge with a “make it light on yourself” kind of wager. We show up to play and here comes this guy, my now dear and treasured friend, shorts and shirt that didn’t even go together in the 70’s! No socks and his golf shoes untied! Well after a brief round of introductions we settled on the bet, which to this day I can’t remember, and began to play. After about 4 holes and this guy was even par and we were struggling to keep up I thought we might be in a little trouble. I suddenly figured, if I messed with this guy he would lose his cool and we would simply run over them since my football playing buddy was in the bag from the first hole. So I began, slowly at first, with just little things. Dropping my ball during his back swing, coughing at just the wrong time, standing with my shadow across his line, very understated at first, then more and more intently. It seemed the more I messed with this guy the better he got. I was amazed. So we get around too number nine. Match all tied, everything on the line for the bet. We tee off. This guy hits his ball into a raven on the edge of the fairway. My partner and I in the middle advantage us!! So I start again, looks like a bad lie, how can you hit the ball that far below your feet, wow tuff luck shame to lose on a bad lie, the whole nine yards of less than positive reinforcement for my opponent. I will never forget this part. I cannot set up this shot if you do not play golf. Leave it to say it was next to impossible. My partner and I both hit the green for the first time all day. I am feeling very relieved at this point and settle back to watch this guy kill himself trying to get this ball up next to the green. Then it happened, what I now recognize as a trademark of my dear friend. He looks over at me and then down at the ball, smiles, then hits the ball, it stops inside a foot, gimme, game, set, and match. I will not tell you how badly my partner and I missed our putts to tie the match. Leave it to be said it was more embarrassing than my behavior had been that afternoon. This was my first introduction to the guy we call Granny!

This match started a friendship that has grown over the last 40 years into something so special that it is hard to describe. Red might know where the body is buried but Granny, knows how it died! This guy had bailed me out of more trouble financially than anyone. I have never been the best with money. He could be Midas. He would just give me money whenever he knew I was flat ass broke and never ask for it back. I am proud to say when I paid him off with the final payment some years ago he looked at me and said “What’s this for?” I said dude you let me have that 10 or 15 years ago. He said wow I had forgotten about it, and you could have too. That’s Granny. As far as I know he has helped everyone one of the band of brothers out with money over the last 40 years. When someone kid needed braces Granny was there. A car broke down Granny was there. He was, and still is the nicest, most moral guy I know.

When I was having trouble with first wife he allowed me to move in with him. Needless to say we lived at different ends of the spectrum. Me the out all night running so hard sometimes I didn’t know how I got home. Him working hard all day coming home eating McDonalds everyday of his life and hanging around his house. He told me after I had moved out that he missed me. I asked really? He said yeah he had gotten used to the newspaper being on the table when he got up!! He also said he used to play a little game of where was I parked in the yard before he walked out to go to work every morning.

This guy is something else even to this day. When we were young we participated in every kind of sport you can imagine. Here are granny’s stats never to be duplicated. His softball batting average, 800. His bowling average, over 200. He golf handicap always under a 5, until recently, now I think he might have crept up to a 7 or 8. Tennis, he played in college, putting himself through school. I can remember one time he was challenge by someone to run a 10K race. He had never run a race in his life. Remember this is the guy who didn’t even tie his shoes. He ran finished the race and beat the person who challenged him. He was originally slated to go to college on a golf scholarship. He got to school and they told him they had done away with the golf team. He asked what other sports could he do and keep the free ride. They said, Tennis. He said oh I play that as well!!! He called me asked me what I knew about Tennis? I said nothing. He went out brought a racquet and rule book started hitting balls against a wall and in 3 weeks made the tennis team. When he graduated he was playing number 2 on a team of 6 people, incredible, huh?

Ok I have told you all of this to say this. When I was lost this is the guy that kept me grounded. When I would be about to really screw up he always knew exactly what to say to get me back down to earth and give up any crazy ideas I had. This is the guy that I will always think about whenever I am faced with an ethical dilemma. He is the little guy that we all should have on our shoulders when we really need to make the choices that matters in life

I can remember only once in his life where he was lost. He met his one and only. While I was living with him and he was finally as messed up as me, he was love struck! They spent every waking and any possible moments together. I was never happier for him. Well long story short it didn’t work out, she had battles that were too hard to overcome and she decided they were to end. It crushed him. I know he never got over it, because a few years ago she passed away. It was like they had been together the entire time. I ached inside for him as he worked his way through it. I often have, what if, thoughts about them. I know he would have finally found that one of a kind happiness that you only know, when you share you live with “The One”, she was no doubt his One. The unfair part, if anyone on earth deserves that feeling it is Granny, a babysitter to the wild, true friend, and unselfish giver, who better to feel that feeling? And how does a person like me get to feel it all the time. Strange how life deals the cards and the hands we each get.

Well that’s my friend Granny. A man who has shaped my life in many ways and I have shared some of the best times of my life with. My hope for you; that you have a Granny, a Red, and a goose, who is next up in the hit parade of golfing buddies, in your life. If so, call them right now and tell them you love them. Lord knows I love these guys.

Thanks Granny, Love you man…………………


The Blessed Man

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