For my grandmother, Mimi, a great deal of the love had to do with the fashion: Lilly skirts, brightly colored tops and those little socks with the ball on the back, coordinated to match the outfit. She dressed my grandfather in similarly bright clothes, together they were easy to find on the course. "Now isn't that smart?" she would say as she matched her bright pink ball socks to her multi colored golf skirt, and off we would go. Many summer days I spent riding along on the back of their cart, wedged in between the clubs like a watermelon seed, eager to hand out the right club when asked and often making the wrong choice. Mimi generally played with whatever I dished out, driver for a wood, wood for a driver, which really didn't matter too much as my grandfather kept score, cigarette in one hand, tiny pencil in the other, "Daddy, give me a three on that hole", and we'd move on after her fifth swing.
Tuesday afternoons were designated as Ladies Day, also a fine time to water the course. Being gender qualified, Mimi and I spent many a Ladies Day careening around the greens, just the two of us, driving through the sprinklers with our cart, hitting very few golf balls and returning to the club house a wet and droopy mess. "Nice game ladies?" and we'd nod and smile, as the caddies set about removing the muddy mess from the cart. From time to time I'd step up and actually try to hit the ball, always a disappointment to my golf crazed mentor, my swing best described as dismal. She was certain I was destined to be a great golfer as she claimed she shot her lowest round ever on the day I was born. My real joy came in spending the afternoon with her, racing around the course, chasing balls and stopping for a lemonade along the way, the lemonade ladies broad smile being one I would surely remember today if she appeared at my door.
Jack is a golfer, a little more competitive than Mimi and not quite as stylish (he tends to shun matching pink pom poms), but with a shared love of the game, although not the partner, he refuses to golf with me. His children might fare better as he spent Sunday morning chasing balls around with Mary and Kate, trying valiantly to teach the correct stance, the proper grip and a bit of course etiquette. Madly swinging their clubs into the air the girls chased from hole to hole, balls flying about, squealing happily each time they actually made contact with the ball. Their father persevered, intent on landing one ball into a hole, albeit a hole hidden beneath a large gorilla bear, or a odd replica of the Sears Tower. The man who hates to wake up in the morning was miniature golfing at 10 am in honor of our friend Eli's fourth birthday, stumbling along with a full contingent of dazed parents, all trying to maintain some sense of decorum, although Mary and Kate's father was one of the few actually trying to keep score.
Of course if points were given for snappy attire, the girls would have taken home the trophy. Deeply connected to their great grandmother they selected their golf outfits Saturday night, no pom pom socks, but plaid shorts and pink collared shirts, bright green stripes and flowered skirts, the whole look was one that would have sent Mimi singing through a sprinkler. As it was their game could use some work, most important to stress the importance of focusing on one large windmill at a time, not using ones feet to complete the putt and refraining from allowing balls to become weaponry, as can be the case when an army of four year old golfers takes over a wonderfully nostalgic miniature golf course early on a Sunday morning.
Best of luck Jack.
And happy birthday Eli.