Dinner at the Club

img_0694Our favorite people in town are M and V, and to celebrate our friendship, we invited them last night to Wakonda for dinner. Wakonda was decked out in her full glory, and we enjoyed a very hearty meal. M is a golfist, and referred me to Golf in the Kingdom, one of the venerated texts of golfist mysticism. Out of the corner of my eye, over my wife J’s shoulder, I could see the first tee blanketed in snow. It was snowing and the shimmery Christmas lights added a cheerful glow to the evening’s pleasures. Dinner was a medium rare Chateaubriand filet mignon served with young vegetables and a grilled floret of seasoned potatoes, chased with a very balanced pinot noir (Cambria). 

As the night went on, I could swear there was a small dark figure on the first tee. He was bent over, and his eyes shined as brightly as the Christmas lights bedecking the halls. He was wearing a bear coat, clearly a bear because of the bear head that was fashioned into a hood draped across his forehead. He had a gnarled oaken branch that he was using as a staff -it was capped with a golden monkey’s head. He dropped a fiery red globe on the ground, flipped his oaken staff over and took his stance. He waggled his primitive club, and made a mighty blow at the fiery globe, the golden monkey head pierced the fire orb, resulting in an explosion of light. Then darkness. 

I turned back to the conversation, which was alternatingly about J and V’s tennis obsession, M’s day trading obsession, and my golf obsession. The retinal flash of that burst of light persisted, and I finished up my pinot with savor and not a little shiver of dread. Dessert was crepes with caramelized pear served with a dollop of fresh cream and a spearmint leaf. As I sipped my coffee and pondered the possibility of ordering a nice port to cap the night, the night golfer appeared in the window behind M, his bony finger pointed at me. 

Clearly, it was my turn to tee it up. I gestured at my watch, and pointed at my friends and family around me. No time for golf with the scary bear spirit at the moment. Scary bear spirit shrugged, and floated off into the snow storm. From the red glow in the distance, he had hooked it into the woods between #1 and #4. 

Some day, my friend. Some day.

One thought on “Dinner at the Club

  1. Since I happen to know the author of this blog and know him to be an honest, rational and highly sane man, the question for me becomes: What can explain the sudden appearance of this bear-hooded apparition on a dark, snowy evening? I’m willing to hypothesize that the figure was a cousin or close associate of Shivas Irons, that erstwhile prophet of human nature introduced to the world by Michael Murphy in GOLF IN THE KINGDOM. Or perhaps it was Shivas himself, momentarily dropped in from the Firth of Fife, Scotland, to deliver my friend his daily dose of fascination.

    It’s been said that man’s ability to think and reason is what separates him from the rest of the animal kingdom, but this is only half the truth. His capacity for fascination is the other half. Fascination, in fact, is the mother of golf. There came a certain day in the history of mankind, many centuries ago, when a man or woman (most likely a shepherd in Scotland, sitting on a rock watching his flock, and bored halfway to hell — and with no money to get drunk) got the idea of using his staff to knock a stone into a gopher hole adjacent to a sheep’s bunker a hundred yards away. This took imagination for sure, but it was the fascination of sinking the rock in the hole that kindled the shepherd’s imagination in the first instance.

    The appearance of the bear figure on the first tee is proof that golf, after all these centuries, is still a work in progress, and that fascination continues to feed her. Of this, I’m certain. I cannot explain, however, why the apparition hooked the fire-ball into the woods. Perhaps his grip was too strong, or maybe the shaft on the staff was too whippy. Or maybe that tiny, unimportant portion of the story was merely a figment of my friend’s imagination.

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