Early today on November 5th, I drove to DeBell Golf Course in Burbank, to celebrate Obama and America’s triumph. Our ages range from 58 to 64 and I laughingly named our foursome, “Ceremonies in Old Dark Men”, a reference to Lonnie Elder’s similarly named play. Three of us served in Vietnam; a different three have made their living as actors for the past 35 years or more. Each of us values the hard earned progress towards racial equality in America achieved in our lifetimes and each of us cherished this glory; the first President-elect to reflect our own heritage .
I was dressed in some rather colorful golfing pants. They’d belonged to my father, a birthday or Father’s Day gift from one of us perhaps 25 or 30 years ago, a gift so garish, only a father who dearly loved his children might wear them outside his living room. After his death in 1998, I brought those pants home to California, thinking, “One day…some Father’s Day or on his birthday in August, I’m gonna wear these on a golf course, and think about Dad.” Yet years passed and they remained hanging in my closet. Until today. I wanted to somehow share the magnificence of today with him, knowing how very proud and joyous he would have been. So I put them on…and marveled at their Sansabelt, loopless waistband. How on earth had he ever kept them up? I adopted an Arnold Palmer hitch of the waistband after each shot and they remained pretty much in place throughout the day.
I stood on the first tee (a steeply downhill dogleg left par 5) and made a good positive swing. The ball soared along the right hand side of the fairway and fell to earth far below. We looked for some time in vain, finally finding it 30 yards past where I’d imagined it’d stopped. I had about 180 yards to a front pin and hit a marvelous high fade with my 7 iron that looked to be closing in beautifully on the flag. When I arrived at the green I realized I had left a 12 foot uphill putt with a slight break right for an EAGLE! Now understand I’d only had two eagles in my entire life of golfing. The first on my high school golf team in 1960 and the second in 1994, while playing with my father and youngest brother on a public course in Ohio.
I had a curious calm about me as I lined up the putt. Curious because anyone that knows me, knows how hyper I can get on a golf course; at times willing wondrous results and other times, wretched failure, simply because I am so amped up. Yet my heartbeat was calm, my stroke steady and my read true, for the ball rolled, broke a cup right and tumbled into the hole. My friends applauded. I reached down for the ball and looked up to the sky. “Did you see that, Daddy?”
“A steady putt and then it went
Oh, most securely in.
The very turf rejoiced to see
That quite unprecedented three.”