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I don’t play much golf these days. Hence, my golf clubs are stored in the corner of the garage along with other useless items like batons, yard darts, hubcaps, a badminton set, and a Slip’n’ Slide. (What can two adults do with a Slip’n Slide? I’ll save that for another blog.) As I have mentioned before, we live in the country and our garage is detached, or, as we like to say, “way out back.”
I hadn’t touched my golf clubs in well over a year. They rested against the wall next to a new golf bag which, much to St. Pauli Girl’s chagrin, I hadn’t used yet. I had been too lazy to move the clubs to the new bag since I didn’t know when I would be playing again. During that time I had noticed that Booboo the dog really liked to jump into that corner and growl and scratch at stuff. However, that was pretty normal Booboo behavior.
Last week, I had to make a trip to Lubbock, as St. Pauli Girl hosted a small reunion with old girlfriends from high school. (Hmm, what can six women do with a Slip’n Slide in 100-degree heat? But I digress.) Since I would be gone for the weekend, I threw the golf clubs in the car.
On Saturday, with the temperature hovering at 104, I drove to the golf course, paid my fees, then went to the driving range. I pulled a 6-iron from my bag and noticed something odd on the grip. “Are those feathers?” I thought. I ran my hand over the grip and realized that it was animal hair, and it seemed almost glued on. I wiped the grip with my towel and pulled out the 3-wood which had hair stuck on it as well.
I dropped the club back in the bag. Surely there wasn’t a dead animal in the bottom of the bag? I took a quick mental inventory of all our pets and nope, none seemed to have gone missing lately. Judging by the color of the hair, I guessed squirrel. At first I thought I should go ask for a refund. I really didn’t want people to see fur flying every time I swung a club. But then I tried to imagine how that would sound:
“So you want a refund because there’s a dead weasel in your bag?” the clerk would ask.
“Yes. I’m traumatized.”
“Unless the weasel was struck by lightning while on the course, sorry, no refund.”
But then I started thinking rationally. My golf bag had been in the car with 100-degree heat for four days. The car should have smelled pretty rancid since my bag is not an airtight mausoleum. I convinced myself that a squirrel probably only wintered there, condo-like, and then left when spring came, leaving behind his cold-weather fur. Why, if I looked hard enough I might even find some nuts. And on the positive side, I should be happy it wasn’t a hibernating rattlesnake which might have crawled out during the drive.
Since I probably couldn’t get a refund, I went ahead and played. Every time I pulled out a new club, I had to wipe sticky brown hair from the grip. Occasionally I did notice a foul odor but I could not positively say it wafted from the golf bag. (Lubbock does smell bad on occasion.) At the end of the round, I threw the clubs in the car and didn’t think about dead rodents. And the car smelled just fine all the way home.
After I got home, I knew I would at least have to clean the fur from bottom of the bag. This would be the perfect time to transfer everything to the new golf bag. One by one, I pulled the clubs out and set them on the ground. As I bent over to empty the side pockets, I noticed a foul odor much like . . . Lubbock.
I took a flashlight and slowly pointed it down the center of the bag. I could see a big pile of fur at the bottom. Looking closer, I could just make out a little squirrel paw.
Case closed! Dead squirrel in the golf bag!
I gave the little squirrel a proper burial by throwing the entire golf bag in the trash. “He would have wanted it that way,” I said, a tear sliding down my cheek. I put the clubs in my new bag then carried the bag into the house to stow in my office closet. At least next time, I’ll only have to worry about scorpions.
Last night during happy hour St. Pauli Girl asked how my golf game in Lubbock went. “Great,” I replied. “I done bagged me a squirrel!”