I remember my girlfriend, now my wife, asking me how I stayed so narrow. Had I known, at age 25, what I know now, I would have commented “I’m freaking 25; I’m at my peak.” What I said, instead, hoping to turn her on to golf, was “I walk 27 holes in the sun with 15 pounds of metal on my back, three or four times a week.” That was then, this is now. Humor me and stick around.
I walked 18 on Saturday, again in the sun, again 15 pounds of composite materials slung across my back. I’m 20 years older and a bit wiser (I drank four bottles of water but didn’t use sunscreen. I’m a work in progress.) I looked at my partner, El Scramblero, and commented “It’s nice to drop some pounds this way.” He consented and on we marched. If we hadn’t each had prior engagements, we certainly would have gone on for another 9.
He and I have discussed a trip to Bandon, Oregon, to see the fabled courses (now five) at Bandon Dunes Resort. Four full-size, championship courses plus a 13-hole par three layout. Pretty cool, even if you don’t count the hickory course, Old Bandon, in town, or the off-resort track, Bandon Crossings, or the Sheep Ranch, the most legendary plot of golf in the USA. I want to hit them all when we go.
He brought the up the notion of moving up the trip as we walked, because one of our buds, the third member of the trip, might have serious reservations about walking 36 a day, for five or six consecutive days, in 3.5 years. That’s when I turn 50 and that’s when the trip was initially penciled in. I went to Bandon, about six years ago, when the resort had just opened its 3rd course. It’s an all-walking course, yet I know the magic. We’ll move up the dates of the trip.
So what’s a yee-ha moment? Well, some would say it’s one more notch in the bucket list. I prefer to think of it as something less serious. As mortality and reality measurably blend their hues, I’ve picked little things in life to attempt to master. Gone is the day of grandiose attempts at world-influencing endeavors; these days, I dream and accomplish on a smaller scale (unless you count a date with Kate Upton~that’s a massive dream.) A confluence of events led me to a boot store in Tonawanda this March, where I purchased a pair of cowboy boots, the kind I’d wanted since childhood. That was my second yee-ha moment of 2012.
The first came when I mastered the tying of a bow tie. Easy to find how-to help in this youtube era it is, and that’s where I went. After a few stabs at the craft, I came away with the knowledge that it’s as much the tie you buy, as how you tie it, that defines the look. Smaller is better in this case. After the boots, I pulled out my harmonica and decided to start banging out some tunes. I listen to “Bluesville” regularly on XM radio and marvel at the dexterity of those virtuosos. Hard-lived and hard-earned blues aren’t a part of my life and I don’t pretend they ever were. I’ve been fortunate in some respects.
This life is filled with yee-ha moments. I won’t be a great tournament champion; heck, I might never be a tournament champion. When I play at Stafford in early June, in a NYSGA State Days event, I hope I’m faced with a driveable par 4 or a shot at a par 5 green in two. Those will be yee-ha moments, as will Bandon and any other task that settles in my head. I’ll be glad to have them.