I’m in Charlotte; a lot of my friends are up in Iowa. A few of them broke away from Des Moines long enough to head up to Kohler, Wisconsin for what passes as a mild mannered getaway these days for the middle aged; golf, refreshments and eating. And stories (stories that have grown, been twisted or embellished out of proportion or thankfully become murky due to memory).
It’s good for Ellen and Reid to see how their old man spends his free time. As little as possible was spent of their inheritance.
September 23, 2013
Ellen/Reid: I must say it was nice to be back in the Midwest, if only for a few days, up in Kohler. Fall was just rearing its head and it’s nice to see the horizon to the West for a change. You don’t get much of those sorts of vistas in the Carolinas or at least the part of North Carolina where I live. Great fun to see the King salmon begin their push up the Sheboygan River. Those were some big fish, and I see why Tim is so anxious to go after them. We saw a few anglers but there wasn’t much yelling or whooping it up, a sure signal that something was on the line. But people weren’t catching much. Then again, if you did happen to snag one of those lunkers, you’d have some food in the freezer for a good long while.
Kohler itself was wonderful. Good to see the guys, and we ate ourselves silly with incredible meals (although I tried, mostly with success, to not overdo the wine). It was great just to lounge around with a beer or glass of wine and shoot the shit. There was the usual discussion of kids and wives and other things about Des Moines, including the potential for a return to the Midwest. I really don’t know what the odds are right now. One foot is in North Carolina, the other in Iowa. Yet there is something to be said for being nearer to the two of you, Emma, Tim and Liz. We’ll have to play that one by ear.
We stayed at the American Club, which is pretty much a high end playground for the well heeled, your dad excepted. They really do it up right. But if you’re not into golf or don’t have an innate interest to see how commodes are constructed at the Kohler plant, there’s not much for you to do. The golf is incredible. We played our first two rounds along the Sheboygan River, and the finale for us was Saturday’s walk around Whistling Straits which is hard on the west shore of Lake Michigan. It was constructed of – and the amount varies by who you listen to – up to 600,000 dump trucks of material to create basically a course that looks like one gigantic moonscape with slim ribbons of green for fairways. I’ve played a lot of top U.S. courses, but this was the toughest track I’ve ever played yet perhaps one of the best thought-out. It was just severe in every imaginable way.
There was no bail out, no escaping danger. I was on the defensive the entire 18 holes. We had caddies which was great fun. They assured us they’d seen much worse duffers than us. After the drubbing it meted out, I was certain I’d never play it again but that doesn’t ring so true now. You just need to have your ‘A’ or ‘B’ game. Anything above that and you’re toast.
They will come back to the Carolinas in Sept. ’14 for our next foray into bad golf and good food and wine. Looks like there is pressure to go fishing, too, if the water temperatures are in the correct range. What that means is our expectations for big fish are low and we will fix whatever it is that is dumb enough to bite our baits. Right now the thinking for a landing spot is Hilton Head since it doesn’t sound like they’ve really been down in the Low Country all that much. The wild card will be the availability of the time share, and if it is available, then it’s a done deal. We’ll probably gallivant between Hilton Head, Savannah and maybe Beaufort, SC which isn’t too terribly far away. These guys have culinary expectations that need to be maintained, if not exceeded.
By then we will know more about my pending/looming/possible retirement. Heck, other people may well make that decision for me far before that. My morning trips to the gym are getting harder by the day, a sure sign that perhaps my body is at last saying ‘no’ or at least putting up some resistance.