My friend Steve…

I can count on two hands the friends who hear from me in writing on a regular basis.  Steve is one of them.  (On a side note, that list needs to grow.)

We have played countless rounds of golf together – he routinely slams the door on me and/or any other hapless duffer(s) who happen to get paired with him – and he is the best iron player I’ve ever seen.  Maddeningly good.  You can blow by him off the tee, but when you ask him what he had on a hole, he’s likely to say ‘3’ while the rest of us hacks pencil in a bogie – or worse.

But golf isn’t the only thing that has gone down in the last few decades.  Our paths have somewhat mirrored each other – divorce, family issues, jobs (he’s really successful; maddeningly so), grown kids, etc.  So we’ve had things to talk about.  It’s been more than five years since I pulled up roots and bolted from Des Moines.  Steve is one of the people I stay in touch with.  Certainly we acquire good friends at any stage of life, but while many of my early chums (in my 20’s and 30’s) are no longer on the radar, Steve and others are constant blips on the screen.

My letters really play catch-up; how things are here in North Carolina, the state of personal affairs, how his not-so-little cottage business is flourishing, and, of course, how my woe-is-me golf game cannot compete with his.  It’s just something else I have to live with.  Maddeningly so.


October 24, 2011

Steve: Well, thanks for your words about mom.  She just ran out of physical and emotional gas.  The void is beginning to show itself.  Someone said when your parents are gone, you become an orphan, even at our advanced age (or at least mine).  You’re onto something about the onset of our own mortality.  It’s creeping up on us at warp speed.  Hard to think that we have roughly one-fourth of our years left to go.  That’s what I was left with after her passing.  You’re right about keeping your eye on what’s important in terms of loved ones.  Keep me posted about your mother.  It’s just awfully hard, but at 89 she had decades of good years.  And I’m sorry about your brother.  That has to take a large toll on you.  Lucky you have Jane as that steadfast partner.  We should all be so lucky.  I doubt that our kids view such events in the context of us passing by the wayside.  My guess is that they avoid such thinking – much like we did too.  I think having a parent pass at an advanced age is way different than losing them suddenly when they were much more vibrant.

At least your girls are doing fine.  Kate in San Diego.  It’s just hard to imagine they end up so far away.  And Margaret is a senior?  That I don’t get.  Seems she was just at Valley last year.  If she goes into medicine, steer her towards the mental side of patient care.  That’s what guys like me need.  My two are doing okay.  Reid still is set in Chicago (although there is all too little news coming from him).  Ellen is becoming a Minnesotan.  That your girls are succeeding ought to offset some of the other news.

What the hell is the deal with the arm?  Don’t necessarily buy into the idea your wing won’t be as it was.  With your simple swing mechanics it shouldn’t be that big a deal.  At least this is happening at the right time of the season and you’ll have adequate time to rehab.  Perhaps there is a silver lining in that Jane will recognize your circumstance and step up to haul out the trash or rake the yard.  And how the heck did Oleson rupture his Achilles?  Now that’s a game changer in terms of walking and such.  Long rehab with so-so results.  More evidence of what was discussed in paragraph one.  I will send him a note right away.  I am with you on the deterioration of our games.  Our best golf years are behind us.  I am sick and tired of being two over after 12 or 13 only to card a sniveling 85 (which was the case yesterday).  The mental part is just killing me.  Shanks are the only thing I can count on.  None of the several facets (driving, long-mid irons, short game, putting) ever manage to surface on the same day.  I’d accept two of the four.  But I just can’t hold things together.  Bogies and doubles from the fairway have become a common occurrence.  My swing is better but my 8.0 is in jeopardy of climbing ever higher.

The writing is on the wall at work.  We’re yet again consolidating divisions and my smaller unit was just gulped down by a bigger one.  “Duplicity of services” is code for others will do the job I’m doing now.  I’m inured to it.  Let it happen.  I can start to collect Social Security in a few months and whatever meager pension is to be received from Allen Diversified Industries.  Just the other day I logged on to the real estate pages at Pinehurst.  If my place could sell…  You know where that dream is headed.  You’d have a place to stay.


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