Sunday, September 29, 2013

Storm Clouds

The storm is brewing in the west, while I'm perched high on a bluff overlooking Elk River as it blends into Grand Lake with its calm waters, boaters,  fishermen and women, pelicans, gulls and other swooping chattering birds.  A
Lee's Resort, Grand Lake, Oklahoma
talkative blue heron searching for a fisherman's handout just landed on the dock below bellowing its arrival.  As the onlooker perched on a peak, I watch in silence as the heron stalks the pier.   Shouldn't that bird be in the marsh or on the bank, but if he were I'd not have this opportunity to watch.  I had to chuckle as the heron lifted his leg and scratched his head.  Does this bird have fleas?

Lucy's at my feet protecting me from stray dogs, squirrels, and children.  Sitting in the wild of changing weather makes it difficult to concentrate on writing because I'm so busy feeling the temperature drop, noticing the changes from calm to white capped water, and seeing the green splotches of water currents floating on the blue gray cast of the lake waters.   Watching UBB's (unidentified brown birds)  fly below me, white gulls floating on air like snowflakes against the green hills across the water, and turnkey buzzards soar above is fascinating and quieting for the soul.  At home I know my birds--cardinals, orioles, wrens, robins, grackles, juncos, nuthatch--and their seasons, but the waters edge of Grand Lake brings a whole new landscape into view, even a late season hummingbird on a yellow rose bush, or perhaps it was one of those gigantic insects that I have no name for.  Either way I'm intrigued.

Facing the East with blue bluffs on the right.
Ah, the smell of stink bait as the man sporting a yellow cap and a heavy belly slowly meanders down to the to fishing pier.  My daughter, celebrating her 42nd birthday, is down on the dock fishing this morning.  I've brought steaks for dinner tonight, but a fresh fish cooked on a grill would be such a treat.

Oh, my heavens,  a speeding boat with flashing red and blue lights, no siren, just raced by; I've never seen police on water.  I wonder with the massive increase in boaters, houseboats, and lake homes, and if the age of cell phones and immediate contact has created a place for law enforcement on the water's edge.  In my childhood on Grand Lake in the late 50's and 60's we sometimes felt like we owned a cove or river of water since we were the only boat out for the day.    I'm looking down to my right at the blue bluff area, retelling
50 years ago, we fished, slept, and swam from this old houseboat.
my husband of the time my parents and friends owned a houseboat that for a few years was docked near the cove to Blue Bluff.  Winds are shifting and cool chill hits me from behind.

A moment of sunshine through the clouds.

Two men in a fishing boat are drifting by, my husband thinks they're reading the sonar or radar looking for fish.  What happened to looking for shad, schools of fish, or old fishing holes?  Shaun and Katy are talking to the guys now.   I imagine the dialogue goes like this:  Men, "Catching anything over here?"  Shaun, "No but we've had a few nibbles.  You see anything out there?"  Men, "Yeah, looks like back there to your right might be a few fish."  Then Shaun casts his lines toward the open lake.  The clouds have calmed and darkened around us now, so what is coming in from my back or Southwest?

My nose sometimes sniffs like a dog, especially when rain is in the air.  I can smell the rains but the clouds are hiding behind us in the trees, and the lake view looks innocent.  Oops!

Twenty four hours later:  Without thunder or strong winds to warn us, rain drops hit my back yesterday.  I closed the computer, cradling it in my arms like a baby or a small grand dog; I ran between heavy rain drops with Lucy and Jack running alongside.  Katy and Shaun with their two dogs, threw their fishing gear together and hurriedly climbed the stairs and ran back to the cabin.  A cool wet day sent us all off in different directions.

My Miami High  School class of 1965 met here at Lee's for a 50th reunion planning meeting,
Jack scouted out the area casinos, and Katy and Shaun drove around the Horse Creek area reflecting on her childhood  memories of swimming and fishing on Grand Lake.  There was no fish for dinner, but the steaks and grilled fresh veggies were juicy and delicious.  A small sliver of Yoder Chocolate Cream pie  topped off the night, until the moon came out and our young fisherman, Katy and Shaun, determined to catch a fish on her birthday headed back down to the docks.   After hours of football and an OU win, Jack and I made our way to the docks to sit  and watch our fishermen in action.  With our senses scanning the air and water for a calming memory, we reflected on a great day.  Happy Birthday Katy.

A new day:  sunshine on our faces and a cool fall breeze on our backs.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Taking Aunt Della

1965, 2013 The course and I have both changed and matured.
Our trip to the Solheim Cup in August also included a trip back in time for me, when we took a day to ourselves and played Hiwan Golf Course in Evergreen, Colorado.  I tried my best to remember the course from my only national level golf tournament, the  USGA Junior Girls Championship, held in July 1965 at Hiwan when I was 17 years old and a recent high school graduate.  I found an old typed information paper that gave a description of each hole, and I realized that we had played the course at 7,000 yards.  No wonder my boldest memory was of never flying the ball far enough off the tee shot to reach the fairway!  My fondest memory was that I putted like a champion, not well enough to qualify for match play, but I made putts back in 1965.  

While my brain puttered around looking for memories my heart thumped. Suddenly, I realized that my Aunt Della, my father's sister from Wichita, also traveled with dad and me to Hiwan in 1965.   Aunt Della, or Pheobe as dad had nicknamed her when they were children, loved chocolate
Aunt Della and Grandma 1947.
sundaes; dad and I loved malts, so every evening we treated ourselves to ice cream.  One afternoon the three of us went exploring the mountainside.  Finding an old abandoned lodge I watched with glee as my father lifted his sister, Phoebe, through an open window. Upon gaining her balance she walked over and let us in the door as if we'd made reservations. I giggled to my self-conscience teenage self, as I watched the two of them play and pretend like little children in this gigantic lodge.  Heavy white dishes lined the shelves, dust covered the kitchen, very little furniture remained in the living areas, and an occasional critter ran across the floor.  I didn't realize how sick and frail Aunt Della was until she died within the year.

Today while walking and playing like a child, picking up sticks, looking for sea shells, and watching the birds on the beach here at Hilton Head, South Carolina, and after forty-eight years passing, I realized that I'd taken Aunt Della on nearly every trip I've ever made since she died.  I'd never made that connection until this year.  After she died, I inherited a tiny diamond necklace that she had designed.  Della was always an artist at heart, and a great photographer who once studied under Margaret Burke White, and had known other artist in Taos, New Mexico in the 1940's.  I often wondered if she'd known Georgia O'Keefe, so I guess I'll just believe in my heart that their spirits were kindred.  

I looked down at the tiny diamond necklace that has traveled the world, and my heart thumped, once again.  I knew Aunt Della was smiling down and enjoying the view of the ocean, a rare treat for a girl who grew up in the heart of Kansas during the depression.  Della would have loved the beach, I know my dad always did.  As the years flow forward and Jack and I criss-cross the continent, I'll be taking Aunt Della,  storing up memories for another story, and taking pictures to share.  
Where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Calibogue Sound at Sunrise and high tide. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Solheim Reflections: Football Golf

Sometimes golf is more than just the top five names on the leader board; sometimes it's about the spirit of the game and the passion of it's fans from states and countries all over the world.  Every two years golf fans have and players have the opportunity to enjoy The Solheim Cup.

Nothing prepares golf aficionados  for the exhilaration of attending the Solheim Cup.  Maybe it's the chanting  "USA, USA, USA" or "Olay Olay Olay," the supportive vigor of the crowd, or the crazy costumes of the fans.  
Whatever it is, it is the most elaborate display of team support and loyalty to the game of any other Ladies Professional Golf championship. The 2013 Solheim is written history, filled with historical firsts: the youngest two players Charley Hull and Lexi Thompson; the 5 wins by Caroline Hedwell; the defeat of our American team on USA soil, and more.  Even in defeat Jack and I agree we cheered on our team with boisterous cries like we were watching football golf, but we didn't walk away losers.  Instead we walked away thrilled to have been a part of women's golf history.  We walked away hot, tired, hungry, and suntanned, but filled with respect for twenty-four young women, their caddies, and captains, who played with their hearts and souls for their countries.

B. Lincicome putting from tier to tier on hole 11.

For me, there were more highlights than the camera was allowed to take, and more than I can fill in a short page.  On the first day of practice we followed our American team, and we scouted out places to sit or stand for the three days of competition.  I  found the number of people in each foursome rather distracting, so I wondered how the girls managed to focus and think with caddies, coaches, and captains swarming every hole, not to mention the throngs of fans extending arms with flags, hats, shirts, and books for autographing.  The lady golfers happily obliged.  The bleachers were full even on the practice rounds, so we found ourselves observing from hillsides under shade trees, near landing zones, and green side.  

Catrina cheering on her team.
Another day we spent following the European team and applauding their skills and focus with as much zeal as we did for the Americans.  After all,  they are all LPGA pros whom we watch and cheer for weekly on TV.  Catrina Matthew has always been one of our favorites, much like Juli Inskter (both working moms) we've watch her over the decades, and she didn't let us down.

The Solheim site was the Colorado Golf Club designed by Ben Crenshaw and Bert Core, two men who greatly admire the work of Perry Maxwell, who designed my home course, Prairie Dunes.  We were not surpised by the undulating greens that were made even more difficult by the pull of gravity away from the mountains.

On Thursday, dressed in her flag regalia, Morgan Pressel walked hole 15 alone.  Suddenly, a little girl waved and cheered her on.  Morgan walked over to the little girl, took her by the hand and together they walked down the long par 5 chatting and laughing. The fans all watched, smiling like proud parents.

The line for the opening ceremonies began forming at 3:00, while the ceremonies didn't begin until 7.  We choose to watch the Junior Girls Solheim group play a three hole match play against former champions like Rosie Jones.    

Rosie Jones.
We then hoped we had the patience to sit in the heat of the sun and wait for the ceremonies.  Needless to say, we did not get there early enough for prime seats, but we had fun.  For two hours people milled about waving flags and banners, and chanting USA USA USA or Olay Olay Olay.  While some of us drank every drop of water we could others brought beer, which seemed to elevate the noise and spirit level measurably.
View from ground level.

At last the flag waving ceremony to welcome the teams began.  We stood and cheered for them all, the greatest women golfers of their time, no matter which team colors they wore.  We were just proud to be Americans, on that day, and every day.
Team asst. captains Lora Diaz, Dottie Pepper followed by Paula Creamer.