Numerous times today the broadcasters at the US Open will discuss golf and Father’s Day. In the collective national memory, we are supposed to have many fond memories of schlepping around the course with Dear Old Dad. Of course, that’s not the case for all of us. I only have one.
Pop has been gone for 20 years. I came late in life to him. He was truly the product of a different age. As a young boy he went to the Train Depot to watch Uncle George and the Upper Marlboro contingent of the Doughboys come home from the Great War. So he was there for the Depression, and the Second World War, and all the manifestations of the Cold War that followed. Saturdays weren’t meant for golf. They were meant for the farm. I didn’t find golf until my Navy years.
Home on Leave from the submarine one day I was headed to the course. The Old Man looked up and asked where I was going. When I told him he asked if he could come. “Sure.” It was more shock than anything. He never seemed to approve. Men who lived through the Depression tended to take a dim view of leisure. He was no exception. But, he was interested. So he walked the course with me. Twin Shields was the name of the course. It’s one of those courses that used to be fairly common; privately-owned, downscale, and a couple of notches above muni. It’s still there, celebrating 40 years of business despite the annual rumor ritual that it will be sold for development. http://www.twinshields.com/history.html
The wife and I were walking that course last week at twilight. June 14′th was the anniversary of Pop’s passing. Walking the course I found myself drifting back to that one day. When we were on the back, away from everyone he asked for a club. I tossed a ball on the ground. He took a swing with that old 7-iron and hit it fairly straight for about 100 yards. He handed back the club with a big, toothy grin: “I could see where this would be fun.” There wasn’t a lot of chatter. But, walking up Eighteen he unexpectedly put his hand on my shoulder: “You need to stay with golf, Son. It looks good on you.”
Of course, I didn’t listen. The new bride was not a fan. Golf went on the shelf for a number of years until SHE got bit by the bug. Life comes full circle sometimes through unforseen avenues. Walking up Eighteen with her the other day towards sunset against broken sky it was impossible to forget that day with the Old Man long ago. It was a golf memory; singular. But, it was one to remember.
Happy Father’s Day to all of you out there.