“Golf is a great game – if you have great friends.”
I know it is the season to be jolly, but at this time of year I also become both nostalgic and a bit melancholy. I really do believe that mood swings during the holidays are the norm, not the exception.
One minute you are thinking about Christmas morning when your children still believed in Santa, moments later memories of your now-gone-but-still-precious parents are swirling around in your head and then the smell of freshly-baked cookies sends you back to your 6th grade Christmas party. (Yes, I am so old that Christmas parties were allowed in elementary school.)
Frankly, I love the memories and moods, the emotional ups and downs that always accompany the holidays. Life is not a straight road for anyone, rather it is a series of interesting twists, unexpected bumps, time-consuming detours, an occasional wrong turn and delightful side trips. At the end of the day, the “experience,” which is just another word for “life,” should be a thrilling ride.
When I hear or see the word “Christmas,” vivid images appear in my mind. Very often I see my wonderful family – Nancy, my wife; Cate and Ruth, my daughters; Stephen and John, my sons-in-law, and now granddaughter, Clara, who turned 1 a couple of weeks ago. (That family image always puts a smile on my face.) Other times, I see my parents, brother and relatives from both sides in our childhood house on Christmas Eve having barbecue brisket from Werner’s and my mother’s fruit salad, which I never liked. Of course, I remember some of the presents such as my first football helmet and ball. Other images include the Country Club Plaza lights (very famous in Kansas City); caroling with my high school friends, and taking presents to all of our neighbors.
The holiday season seems to super charge our emotions and reminds us that there is much to remember and much to be grateful for. Very high on my grateful list is the long list of golf friends I have made because at my club. Yes, all of us have our strengths and weaknesses as golfers and our quirks and idiosyncrasies as people, but when it is all said and done, we come out and play together week after week as much for the friendship as for the game itself. A few years ago I wrote, “Our wives find it both amazing and infuriating that we can remember the handicaps of our friends and what we shot three Saturdays ago, but we can’t remember special days – first dates, birthdays and anniversaries.”
While my observation may have been be a slight exaggeration, I do think we know “certain sides” of our golf friends better than anyone might guess. Is it because as English humorist P.G. Wodehouse wrote? “Few things draw two men together more surely than a mutual inability to master golf, coupled with an intense and ever increasing love for the game.”
Yes, it’s that – and more. On the golf course and in the Men’s Grill we share experiences, lessons learned, swing thoughts and tips, jokes, beliefs, equipment innovations, disappointments and opinions (lots of opinions). We have gotten to know each other well because “golf time” is a time when we are all simply a few guys trying to win $10.
So here is a toast to all my golf friends. Thank you all for another year of great fun. Let the journey together continue!
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!