Sunday, August 24, 2014

Golf Gypsy: Getting Serious

Decorated carts for good cheer at Belmar.
Some things in life are worth getting serious about, but a game of golf is just another opportunity to play for a great cause (Susan G. Komen Foundation), to meet new golf gypies, to play scenic golf courses, to test our hand at hitting great golf shots, and to enjoy hours of summer fresh air.  Sometimes keeping score is painful, but honesty and facing adversity is just part of the game.

Two golf gypsies doing the math.
Dawn Stork, a new golf gypsy friend, and I began our week of golf on a Saturday in August at Belmar Golf Club in Norman, OK as many women gathered to raise money for breast cancer research, a serious cause because I have friends who know the importance of this research.  One special friend is traveling this path, and I'm sure with the help of great doctors, research, friends, and family will make a speedy recovery...Manon you are on my mind and in my prayers.

Although our score for the Charity event didn't merit a "Win" we all went home with good cheer thanks to the generosity of Toby Keith and Barry Switzer.

Dawn and I continued our golf journey with three days of golf at Shangri La Golf Course on Grand Lake.  This was our first time to play in the Women's Oklahoma Golf Association's Partnership Tournament.  Imagine being able to spend three days on a golf course where you can take a deep breath between golf shots and look out in the distance and see the waters of Grand Lake.  It was truly a grand setting.  What's more we stayed with friends, Josie Armstrong and Ellen Cantrell,  in a home nearby where we relaxed every morning and evening on a deck with cool lake breezes and some gray cloudy skies in August.

The practice round gave us an opportunity to seriously study the golf course and its contours.  Since putting is one skill I enjoy practicing and executing I found these greens to be filled with undulating challenges, some with three tiers, but all with trouble lurking way too close to the greens for comfort.  Day one we were thrilled to shoot a 78 (using Dawn's best ball or my best ball on each hole.)  I do enjoy having a partner with which to share the anguish and celebrations.  Day two began with a par on a hole that we had previously double bogeyed, so for a moment I thought we could wag the dog's tail.  Then the golf bitch arrived to slap us around and remind us to be humble.  Eight holes of chaotic golf challenged our patience and perseverance, but in the end, and with the thanks from our gallery, we pulled our games back together and finished with another 78.  Our two rounds gave us the honor of winning our First Flight.

There is a time to be serious, a time to laugh, and a time to be thankful for each day in our lives and the people who surround us.  To all of my golf gypsy friends across the country, I am abundantly thankful to have each of you in my life.  Be of good cheer dear friends. 


Friday, August 15, 2014

A Piece of Time

For the last few weeks I've been listening to the book tapes to China Dolls by Lisa See.  I have enjoyed the characters and plot, but what I have found most intriguing are her descriptions of clothing, the items people could not obtain during World War II, and how much people shared what little they had with others who had even less.  In one scene Grace, and Ruby dress up for a movie shooting in Hollywood, but they didn't have any nylons, so they painted their legs with makeup and drew a black line down the back to look like a seem in their hosiery.  When I listen to the words of a story I do a much better job of imagining scenes and internalizing the emotions of the times.  Consequently, the characters in her book have been on my mind.

Last night I sat down on the floor to continue sorting and reading items that have been stored for decades by my Aunt Della, my grandmothers, and my mother.  From a fragile yellowed envelope a picture dropped to the floor.
The inscription on the back of the billfold size photo read, "Della, I am in a Filipina Dress.  Suppose you copy this one together with your picture.  I mean this mine and your together.  How about a Filipina and an American lady friends together....Herminia."  My Aunt Della was a well known photographer in Wichita, Ks.  My guess is that Herminia wanted Della to take a picture of the two of them together using the negative she sent.  

There in my hands I held someone's story, not Grace's and not Ruby's, but who was this woman? The picture along with its negative and another photo were sent to my Aunt Della on "8 August 46" from "Cuyapo, Nueva Ecija, P.I." (the Philippines)  She wrote a seven page letter in tiny cursive writing, and occasionally I used the magnifying glass to read her words.

My Dear Della,
     I was with that undefinable thrill upon the receipt of my most expected letter from you, but much to my regret I was not able to answer at once.  I am trusting to your kind heart to forgive me for the present.  I was confined in bed for a week, a victim of severe cold, headache and high fever.
     Now a days the weather is not so favorable.  The rains are here again....
     Your letter brought to each and everyone of us in the family an endless and in comparable joy.  Friends and relatives who visited me when I was in bed and even at times now read your letters.  Also I showed them your pictures.  They are very glad and say that I'm fortunate indeed to have acquired an American lady friend, so good and nice as you are.  It seems to me they are jealous of me, and the more I feel proud of you, cause they are also professionals like me but they go no lady friend like you.  Perhaps its Grace from Above, for had it not been for your brother we should not have come to know each other.  

Della's brother was my father, who spent four years in the Philippines during WWII.  My imagination has no limits as to how Herminia and my father had connected, but I'm most certainly thrilled to see that he connected her to his sister.  Herminia, later goes on to talk about her family and ask all about Della's family and even names Della's friends.  So I assume the friendship has gone on for sometime.  In the paragraphs about family she writes:  Don't forget to remember me to the Lt. and wife whenever you write them.  I hope to receive a picture of them too.  The Lieutenant would be my father and his new wife Helen.  They married in May of 1946.  

It seems as though Della has been sending Herminia care packages.  In one package she sent a cigarette case and Herminia writes this:  Luckily, you have come to get all the things I like.  They are my weaknesses too.  Only perhaps the cigarette case will be of no use for I don't smoke.  Instead I'll place them in my cabinet as souveneir from you......But Oh! Della, you have touched me very much with those Nylons.  I have been long dreaming to have even one pair of hose Nylons.  You know since the Philippines was liberated we were hoping to have those but in vain.  Every time I go to Manila, I should like to buy one for me but could not find any.  Last month, my last visit to Manila, I went to Dept. Stores where American goods are sold but no stockings still.  All ladies clamor for Nylons.  

Such a great story, hidden in boxes and drawers for over 50 years.  Her language, her undefinable thrill in receiving packages and letters (like mine in finding this), and descriptions of feelings really tug at my heart.   I'll keep reading and digging, and continue to share Herminia's  story and maybe finds some answers.  

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Golf Gypsy: Rat Bastard's Revival

Alice, alias Rat Bastard
Her given name is "Rat Bastard."  She came to me several years as a prize in a golf event at Prairie Dunes.  I believe my golf gypsy friends from Topeka rigged the play day, just so I would win this ratty beady eyed character.  I'm sure they never dreamed that when she became the head cover for my 5 Wood that her devious ratty ways and wayward life would soon change, as I hit solid clean shots down the fairway with her,earning her the name of 

But times and places change and with that new friends and stories are created.  Alice's history at The Trails has been overshadowed by her
rat like tail that startles golfers.  I'd thrown her down on the fairway and prepared to hit my five wood into the green when Tammy screamed and jumped sideways on the golf cart.  "That tail it moved.  What is it?" She screamed.  It's rather difficult to calmly settle a woman down after she thinks she's seen a tail to an animal twitch, especially one that resembles a rat.  Laughter, however, is the miracle worker.

Maybe that's why I keep her in my golf bag.  On a warm sunny spring
Cathy, Ellen, Jean
day this year Ellen walked by my golf bag then suddenly leaped to the side and yelped like a she'd been bitten.    The foursome quickly gathered round to assess the problem when they all

discovered "Rat Bastard" sitting on my golf club.   The official 
  explanation made no sense, what friend would give someone a rat head cover, but the laughter that followed made for fun memories. 

Lucy, alias Big Dog, and Alice
 Just like in life, sometimes the golf shots don't always run straight and true.  Perhaps the      greatest gift of playing sports is making friends, and learning to laugh at yourself.  Rat   Bastard and Big Dog may fail me from time to time, but my real friends stand with me and guide me through the rough.   

Laugh for me somewhere on the golf course today, dear friends.