I think I’ve written this a few times in my stories but here it is again – I’ve always been a long term planner. I think my desire to put together a long term plan and then stick to it all began as a very young teen as I was watching my parents go through the difficulties associated with bankruptcy. So now, here we are in Arizona; golfing, hiking and biking every day.
In an earlier story I think I shared that I felt fortunate that I had achieved my main goals in life, goals that I had set for myself when I was a very young parent; specifically, that I wanted to provide opportunities for my children, opportunities I felt I did not have.
After the point when I felt I had achieved those goals, the next thing I set my sights on was an early retirement, hopefully somewhere warm. My wife loves to golf so Arizona has always been one of the places at the top of our list.
And so……here we are….
Everyday, we’re hiking, biking, lounging at the pool and golfing. They say that practice makes perfect. ‘They’ say that alright, but ‘they’ weren’t talking about me where it comes to golf. I’m still golfing “like an amateur”. Perhaps you’re wondering why I placed quotes around those last three words. Well I’m gonna’ tell you because it’s one of my favorite golfing moments.
I’ve mentioned quite a number of times how good a golfer my wife is. She’s not a ‘scratch’ golfer, but when she gets serious, she can be pretty accurate. Lucky her, she scored an ace her very first year of golfing (link). She even won a city tourney in her flight one year.
Golf is a great ‘couples’ activity, a great way to spend time together all throughout your lives. Some of our more memorable vacations have been golf trips with other couples. I’d estimate we’ve taken perhaps a 12-15 trips with various other couples over the years; French Lick, Pawley’s Island, Myrtle Beach, Palm Springs, Copperopolis, Oregon, Phoenix, Tucson, Hawaii and probably a few others I’m not remembering.
I guess I got to thinking about these trips because as I’m sitting here writing, this upcoming weekend we have a couple flying into town for some golf and Spring Training baseball games. The vacation destination for the story today was Tucson, Arizona. In fact, it was on this same trip that my wife showed off her linguistic skills (link) while ordering sour cream in a Mexican restaurant.
This vacation trip was with a couple named Kim and Jason. Kim was a new hire, fourteen years my junior, who I worked with in her first assignment at P&G. She had a terrific sense of humor and reminded me quite a bit of one of my sisters so we had hit it off from the very beginning. Her husband Jason is equally funny and likable so we four all got along well enough to want to travel together for several golf trips.
Typically when we travel with another couple we get a condo with two suite bedrooms. We’ll get up in the early morning, eat breakfast together, golf a round and then eat dinner together. Depending on our moods, we might even eat a quick lunch after the first round and then get in another round before heading out for the evening. These trips are always short, but packed with activities the whole time. Alcohol usually is not needed to make the evenings fun but when it’s included, the giggling and laughter is typically in overdrive.
On this trip, the first day’s golf was just so-so for everyone; nothing disastrous and nothing spectacular. The second day though, oh yeah – that’s when the fun began. My wife hates to golf badly, (doesn’t everyone?), especially on a very nice course. If the course is poorly manicured or in mediocre condition, she can always blame bad shots on the course. If it’s a great course however, there are no external random factors to lay blame with. I’m entirely different – I might have one really nice round every 15 rounds so if I’m doing badly, it’s always my fault.
We had gotten through perhaps the first 7-8 holes in the round. Kim was having a mediocre round, which for her, this means ‘bad’. After yanking her second shot sharply to the left, she let out one of the most memorable cursing quotes we three would never forget.
“Shit! I’m golfing like a fucking amateur!!!”
Time stood still and we three all were frozen…..we just looked at each other in disbelief of what we had just heard. I was the brave one who spoke next:
Me – uh, Kim…you ARE an amateur.
At that, Kim smiled and started laughing. She realized then what she had said.
Kim – you know what I mean, I meant like a beginner.
We were all cracking up. On the very next hole, it was Jason who was first up to let out his version of the same expletive – “damn, I’m golfing just like a fucking amateur!”
And that’s how the rest of the day went. We three teased and cajoled Kim all day. We all golfed like fucking amateurs and we let each other know about it. None of us logged a great round that day, but all of us had the best time.
The very next morning, as we were eating breakfast, Kim made a declaration – no one talk to me today. I’m going to be serious.
Naturally we all teased about that one too, but to Kim’s credit, she did! If I’m remembering this correctly, she shot something like a 76. (That’s a really good score for all you non-golfers).
One of Kim’s best attributes is one she may not even know she has – she can take teasing and she loves to laugh at herself. I love that about her. It’s been a decent first 8 weeks in our new home; hiking, biking and golf almost every day.
I wish I were a better golfer…..but I’m not; I’m just a fucking amateur!