wasn’t much of a golfer. I, on the other hand, could get the ball up in
the air about half the time, and I seldom four-putted. While I was gearing
up for high school graduation, Dad loaded us in the Plymouth and the whole
family hit the links.
It happened on a short hole, a three-par, a water hole. Just 80 yards or so to clear the ball-eating duck pond that gaped between tee and flag. Then, walk the little bridge, pitch it up on the green, two putts, and home with a bogey! Aim high, that’s my philosophy.
Dad cleared the pond, and probably landed softly in the middle of the green like Tiger Woods on Ny-Quil. I think I was safe out of the water, as were my brother and sister. Then Mom stepped up to hit.
Her first ball bounced a few times before it hit the pond, while the second was a hard line drive that startled the ducks with a big splash and set them to flapping and skimming the ripples. Mom decided she’d take her penalty and lay out another ball on the far side of the pond.
As Mom and I sauntered down off the elevated tee, I unthinkingly blurted out the limiting idea: “You’d never make it over that pond.” She stopped dead in her tracks. A penetrating look I’ll never forget. An abrupt about-face, then she marched back up the hill like a U.S. Marine ready to plant the flag on Iwo Jima.
I knew what she had in mind, and I knew she would succeed. Then . . . whack, and the little white ball was airborne on a course for the other side. She walked down and across the bridge, and continued the game as before. Words were never spoken; none were ever needed.
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