September 13, 2012 at Forest Park Golf Course
“Where are we going lads?”
“To the toppermost!”
The Beatles were just at the beginning of their journey in Liverpool when they seemed to know they were going to achieve notoriety. Don’t we all feel this way early in our careers? That optimism is always there when the future looks so full of possibilities.
It’s already September and it has been too long since Tom, Dave, Rowdy and Wes have assembled to play 18 holes. Years ago we had the ambition and energy to plan golf junky weekends in the Ozarks that were packed with 36 holes a day. More recently our lives have settled into a preoccupation with kids in college, business prospects and navigating a dicey economy in the midst of an election year.
Our 7:30 a.m. tee-time at Forest Park (Hawthorn and Dogwood nines) is set, Dave is already putting when I arrived at 7:00. Pretty soon Tom joins us and in the parking lot with a box of donuts is Rowdy. We are back! We like to reference the Beatles because we all remember a time when that historic magical musical four-some started to move in different directions. It ain’t London’s Apple Studios’ rooftop but we’re are calmly ready to perform. Game on!
That first hit always sets a tone (but it is almost never a good indicator of how the whole round will go). Rowdy is ready and hits a perfect drive into position A. Tom tops his drive and accepts the less than optimal start (followed by an incredibly smooth a 18 holes afterwords). Dave is long – almost too long to make an easy angle approach shot. (He’s rusty and preoccupied with business that will resume with a conference call this afternoon). I am short but in the “highly overrated” fairway short grass.
As the round unfolds: Tom is completely relaxed. Dave’s eagle putt opportunity is spoiled when somehow his drive on Dogwood #4 is friek-ishly knocked off the green. (After that, Dave finished the final 5 holes with with marginal concentration. Rowdy is not 100% happy with his game or his weight. (In spite of the donuts, he’s planning to lose about 20 pounds). I’m humbled as I consider how my game measures up to my pals. (Secretly, I’m delighted breaking 100 and not embarrassing myself too badly.)
Leave it to Tom to put the day in perspective. His e-mail the very next day:
Every once in a while, sometimes around my birthday, sometimes not, I wonder how
many more days I have, how many more times I might get to be with my friends.
Yesterday, when I saw the sun rising, I just knew the day was going to be very
I'm very grateful to you three. Very, very grateful.