Sunday, August 30, 2015

We Are One

Hilton Head
  at just the right moment
Time floats

  at just the right spot
Time hangs in the balance

  with just the right breath
Time drifts within us

  from wheatfields to lakes
  from mountains to oceans
Time glistens
Hilton Head

  from building tops
    to backyards
  from city parks
    to country roads
Time eases the tensions

  we may glimpse
  the gentle drift as
Time passes
Shangri La

  we pause to wonder
  as the setting sun
Hushes the crowds

  as we stand idly by
  the clouds and sun
Create the illusion
--We are One

For that moment
  Time floats
We drift
  Our thoughts connect
--We are One  
Shangri La

Friday, August 21, 2015

Full Circle

Golf a four letter word.
A few weeks ago my friend, Leah Jackson, and I went out for dinner.  There in her car was a large lavender marble painted gift sack stuffed with colorful tissue paper. Before we pulled out of the drive way Leah said, "This is a Susi Gift for you." Where upon she added, "Open it now before we leave."  

I queried her about a Susi gift, and she said, "It is an old Southern tradition.  Simply a gift for a friend..."

With happy hands and a smiling face I carefully pulled out the colorful papers to find this photo framed and staring at me.  I laughed, "Golly, Leah my parents used to have a picture like this hanging in the den.  I haven't seen it in years, but I love it.  Where ever did you find it?"  

With sparkles in her eyes she said, "Turn it over."  There on the back of the wooden framed picture were my father's words and my mother's words, in their handwriting, and dated.  Before I could speak I cried, and even cry now with tears of happiness as I relate this tale.  

A gift returned forty years later.

In dad's handwriting it reads, Oct. 1975.
In mother's handwriting it reads, 

To Jack and Norma ___
      The number one couple of the Miami Country Club.  
      May the worst thing in your lives be a single bogey.

  Johnie and Helen Stapp

Leah married Scotty Jackson, son of Doc and Norma Lou Jackson from Miami, Oklahoma.  As the years passed we attended the funerals for Norma Lou, Doc, and many of our Miami friends. Then nearly two years ago Scott Jackson died, leaving Leah and her two children.  We moved back to Norman shortly after Scott's death, and Leah and I have become dear friends.  Leah and Scott cherished this photo after his parents died, and now Leah has given the photo back.

We both cried and hugged that evening before we even left for dinner.  It's not often life blesses you with friends like Leah and the Jackson family.  

The old cherished picture has a new place in our home, right where we can see it every day after a game of golf, after running errands, after spending time with family and friends; it is there to greet us, and remind us to laugh.  

May the worst thing in your lives be a single bogey, dear friends.  

Friday, August 14, 2015

Golf Gypsy: the Secret to Staying Young

Lois Cowles' 80th birthday w/ Carol. 
To this day, I can hear Lois's light pitched voice, her giggle, and stories of life. She was the consummate teacher. Lois knew about life, love, lose, and the Secret to Staying Young.

Lois Cowles, who raised three curious energetic and productive daughters from Miami, Ok, also, taught Kindergarten at Jefferson Elementary in Norman, Ok, for two decades.  She lived by the belief, that the
Jefferson puppeteers.
secret to staying young was to surround yourself with young people. Every spring break she would take a trip to Florida to meet friends from Ohio, and come back talking about how old they seemed to her.  I've never forgotten Lois, nor her words.  Any coach or teacher will agree that children and young people are the secret to living and laughing with glee.  

In my attempt to stay young at heart, I recently played in the 100th celebration of WOGA, and on day two I met and lost to a determined "Flat Belly" (our term of endearment for youthful women golfers.) 
The look of youth.

Kennedy Hudson, who just completed her first year of college at Northeastern State University and will be playing on the women's golf team, impressed me with her focus and ability to pull herself together after this old
Letty and Kennedy
woman had her down at the turn (in other words I could have won the match, but for focus, youth, determination,  and ability).
 She went on to win our flight the next day.  She delighted me with her skills and attitude about golf, so I asked her how she came to be a golfer.  This is her story. 

I started playing golf because my mother forced me into the sport, and our deal was if I went a full year of golf and didn't like it then I could quit.  On the first day of golf practice that January my coach, Ken Morrow, told me to grab my 7 iron, and I was totally confused.  He could see my confusion and told me that it was the club with the upside down L on it. After I took my first swing, I fell in love with the game and realized that I could be someone in this sport.  My first tournament was in March of that year, and I shot a 122.  I was crying by the third hole.  That year I was consistent in the 120's, and by my sophomore year I was consistent in the 90's.  By my Junior and Senior year I was consistently playing in the 80's. My skills were strong enough to be recruited by Northeastern State University where I redshirted my freshman year of college, so I could continue to improve on my course management and shot making. 

What I enjoy most about golf happens when I step on the course and my stress completely melts away.  All I have to do is focus on my swing.  I never realized that golf could teach life lessons, but it has taught me to leave behind whatever is in the past, and focus on what is going on right then and there. If I continue to think about a bad hole or bad shot then I'm not giving my full effort to the shot I'm about it hit.  It has taken me many years to learn that lesson, but I feel like its the most important one.  I love the feeling of competing against myself and the golf course. Sometimes when playing against someone it can bring out the bitterness in me to try a beat another person, that's why it's important to focus on the shot, the course, and the moment. 

Thank heavens for mother's who push their children into life, and for children who keep the adults young at heart.