Friday, May 24, 2013

Notes from All-Boys Weekend

For over 25 years I have gone on an annual all-guys golf weekend with the same 6 to 12 gentlemen. After a hiatus of a few years, the trip resumed for me this past weekend but with only my brothers in attendance, and at a more primo location.

Every year, upon my return, St. Pauli Girl peppers me with the same questions: “How's so-and-so doing? How are his kids? How's his wife? Is he still at the same job?”

My answer is usually: “Well, I didn't ask him about that. I guess they're all fine. But I can tell you his golf scores.”

Conversely, when St. Pauli Girl returns from her annual all girls weekend, my only question is: “Did you have a pillow fight?”

This year, my golf weekend got off to a rough start when my clubs failed to arrive on the same plane as myself. I'm used to this indignity and know the procedure. However, due to the small presence of this particular airline at the equally small South Carolina airport, all of the employees were out loading the plane for its departure. After waiting thirty minutes, I approached the friendly woman at the ticket counter who typed quickly on the computer, then announced, “Your golf clubs are in Dallas.”

Then she asked me how I checked my bag, as if maybe I had given instructions that my clubs would prefer a later flight out of Dallas so it could have some drinks and party with the other cargo for awhile.

Well, I don't know what they're doing there,” she said, “but we'll deliver your bag to you after the last flight at 7:00 p.m.”

So when my brothers and I played our first round that afternoon, I had to use a set of rental clubs. We rode in carts but had a caddy with us to help out, per the course's requirements. He probably should have been heavily armed: we saw more alligators than people on the course.

(If you have binoculars, you might be able to see the alligator crossing the fairway above.  This is also a fine example of the lack of zoom on my phone camera.  This alligator was probably 8 feet long or so and was not the gator from the story below.)

At one point, we watched a cute baby alligator make its way across the fairway in front of us. We raced for our phone cameras but for me, with no zoom, the pictures didn't turn out. Still hoping for a good action shot, I said, “We'd better be on the lookout for the mama gator.”

After we had passed the cute baby gator, we saw a very large gator on the opposite fairway swinging its massive tail back and forth. So of course I thought it was the mama acting protectively, then I realized that it was probably just a big ol' hungry non-relative. The baby gator stopped suddenly about twenty yards from the large gator,which had started to approach it. Suddenly the small gator turned and ran back to where it had come from, with the large gator in hot pursuit.

Our caddy, whom I shall refer to as Marlin Perkins, took off toward the gators. The large gator chomped down on the small gator's tail but it managed to wriggle free and escape. Upon his return, young Marlin Perkins said, "I was trying to help."

I commented, “A really good caddy would have taken our cameras to get a closer picture.”

The lesson here is that big alligators run really fast on land, and as I remembered from my golf days back in Florida, if you are ever chased by an alligator, you need to run in a zig-zag pattern. Although alligators are fast, they are not very agile.

The rest of the weekend produced just boring golf stories. However, coming home, on my final flight out of Dallas, I saw a celebrity in the gate area who I shall call Bob. I thought about approaching him and sharing an anecdote on our related travails but decided not to as I watched someone else go up and shake his hand like they were long lost friends, which, judging from the look on Bob's face, they were not. I realized it would be about the same as if a stranger came up to me, slapped me on the back, and said that we'd once shared a urinal trough at Wrigley Field, remember?

I happened to be in line behind Bob as we boarded the plane and waited as he stowed his carry-on bags, then carefully folded himself into his seat (he really is tall). He kept a distant stare as if he was studying some philosophical conundrum floating just above everyone else's head. But I suspect it was to avoid conversation-engaging eye contact with strangers.

In the end, it just reminded me that people are people, and we all have our own problems yet deal with many common ones like no legroom on airplanes (except Bob was in an exit row). I also noticed he didn't check any bags either.

On the other end of the country, my brother arrived at his final destination but could not locate his golf bag on the baggage carousel. He went to the baggage office where he found out that his golf bag had taken an earlier flight. Maybe next time if we coordinate how we check in our bags, we can all arrive at the same time.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

West Texas Lawn

I take back everything nice I said about our neighbor, Bacon. Actually, I would just question his choice in lawn service companies. This morning, the lawn service came by, mowed, edged and raked Bacon's yard. Later this afternoon, I went to the side of the house between our properties and saw this:

Yes, that's very well manicured lawn/dirt. Now I suppose it's possible they are planting grass over there, regardless, this is west Texas, and we are in a drought so a dirt yard versus a yard of weeds, it's tough to pick a winner. But notice the pile of leaves behind the tree on the left (which is our property). Yes, the fine lawn service raked up the leaves and just dumped them on our side. Well done.

I can see the fine fifth grade reasoning behind this:

“There's already leaves over there, so we can just add this stack to theirs, and no one will notice. And by the time the leaves get blown back into Bacon's yard, we'll be long gone and counting our twenty dollars.”