Today is my dad’s 75:th birthday. Unfortunately I can’t be there in person to celebrate, so I will have to rely on cross-Atlantic shipments and a quick phone call. Oh, and I can blog about it, of course.
(Sidebar comment to my friends at Fedex: It took three days for my package to go from Dallas to Addison to Indianapolis to Cologne to Paris and to Stockholm, Sweden. Then it sat in Stockholm for four days. What gives?)
I and my dad started playing golf together in the late 70s when I was about 13 and he was about 42. I had a friend who played, and he had a co-worker who played, and somehow I was able to talk him into taking some lessons. He’s never stopped thanking me for this. Golf has been a significant aid to keep him healthy and active as well as to help him manage stress both while he was working and as he transitioned into retirement. When I moved away from home he talked my mom into taking the game up so he had a partner, and the two of them have enjoyed many rounds and many golf vacations together.
As we started out playing our games progressed very similarly. We’re both big guys, and both with a history of playing various other sports, so we could always hit the ball a long way, even as a 30+ handicapper. But boy did we hit the ball a long way into the rough. And boy did we lose a lot of balls. Nothing but Top Flite XLs (if we felt we deserved new balls). Our home course was called Uddeholm GK, and it was notorious for deep ravines and high grass out in the rough, especially in the summer.
Because we usually practiced together and played together our handicaps dropped very similarly, and there was always an element of close competition when we played. Eventually we both dipped down into the single digits. I went off to college, and his golf journeys have taken him all over Sweden and Scotland, Ireland, Southern Europe, and Northern Africa (as well as visiting me in the US, of course). For a long time any trip across the Atlantic would include an empty golf bag going West, and a full one going back to Sweden, as golf equipment was extremely expensive in the old country.
These days he still plays several rounds a week, and walk every step of the way. He’s proud to be the rookie on the 75+ team that represents his golf club in local competitions. (For better or worse, it is the last team he can be a rookie on as there is no 80+ team or higher.)
Happy Birthday, “Pappa”.
Keep’em in the short stuff.