It was June and my teaching buddies and I were looking forward to vacation but lamenting the fact that we never seemed to do a good job of getting together over the summer. Someone suggested that we schedule a round of golf every week and whoever was in town could just show up. The idea met with unanimous approval which was pretty amazing considering there were ten people voting and only a couple of us had ever actually held a golf club.
We decided we would find a small, local golf course and we would play late in the afternoon so our amateur skills would offend as few people, as possible. Birch Hills Golf Course, a small executive course near the school, turned out to be our summer playground for golfing and we became acquainted with Mike, the golf pro, on our first visit. Judy had called ahead to set a tee-time and explain our situation before the first time we actually played a round of golf.
At first, Mike was the consummate professional explaining exactly what the club offered in classes, equipment, and support. However, it didn’t take him long to realize this group of golfers was more interested in the color of their tees and who would drive the golf cart than in signing up for classes to improve their putting.
The rules, for the course, were painted on a wooden sign that hung on the outside of the door to the pro shop and were quite obvious. Teachers are basically “compliant children” so Mike didn’t need to worry too much about us breaking the rules. We did sometimes giggle a little too loud, allow ourselves an inordinate amount of do-overs, or stop too many times to take photos. Our golf game might have been a bit unorthodox and we might have bent a few rules but we never broke any rules that could result in anyone getting hurt and we were never disrespectful of the more skilled serious players. The Marshall, who drove around in his little cart watching for infractions, disliked the fact that we would sometimes bunch together and make a six-some. He would always drive up to the group and exclaim…”Ladies, the rules state that you golf in groups of 4.” He must have complained, back at the pro shop, because once Mike made Judy walk outside and reread the rules posted on the door. But before the end of the summer Marshall had become our “best friend” and would purposely go out of his way to stop by and say hi whenever his shift was ending just as we arrived.
As the dog days of summer drew to a close, we faced the beginning of a new school year and the ending of those regularly scheduled golf games. Our weekly tee-offs had provided us with fun, friendship and a modicum of exercise. No one wanted to see them come to an end. We decided to stretch out our time together and end our summer routine with our own personally created Sports Award Banquet. We chose categories of awards where we would recognize each other for the unique strengths we each brought to the game or the growth that we all demonstrated. It would be the culminating activity after a summer of fun and new learning. We made reservations at a local restaurant, invited Mike to join us, and set out to create voting ballots for those awards.
I wanted to add my own special touch to the evening so I decided to create a poem that retold our golfing story. It was never my intention to write a “literary work of distinctive style and rhythm.” Instead, I wanted to remind the group of the adventures we had shared on the golf course and I wanted to make them laugh. My lack of poetry writing skills would insure my poem was never mistaken for high-level prose and setting it to the rhythm and rhyme of a well-known Christmas poem would guarantee its silliness. (There is something intrinsically funny about rewriting a well-known poem using totally unrelated words.)
Tomorrow I will post my poem…Twas The Night Before Golfing. Thank you Clement Clarke Moore.