Thursday, May 31, 2012

Myrtle Beach Vacation.....Part II

Today was the very definition of what a vacation is supposed to be. The weather was glorious, clear and bright, low 80's. I woke up early, made myself some coffee and drank it out on the balcony overlooking the beach that was inhabited only by a few osprey. After getting dressed, I left my sleeping family, drove to one of the 16,000 golf courses in the area, Possum Trot, where I was delighted to discover a nearly empty parking lot. "Absolutely, darlin'," the girl behind the counter answered when I asked if she could fit in a single. Five minutes later I had been introduced to two other men with the same idea, Jim from Kentucky and Steve from California. So, having had no opportunity to hit any balls at the driving range, or gauge the speed of the greens on the practice green, I proceeded to belt my drive right down the middle, crush a 4 iron, then spin a 52 degree wedge within 5 feet of the cup. After sinking the putt for a birdie, I realized that I was in the strange golf universe that exists only when you are away from home and playing with complete strangers. I know what a horrible hack job I'm capable of when swinging golf clubs...but Steve and Jim only know that I just made a birdie on the first hole and made it look easy doing it. To them, I might as well be Tiger Woods. So, I decided to make the most of it. I continued my awesome impersonation of a serious golfer for the entire front nine, shooting a scorching 37, and thoroughly enjoyed being "the man".

After the turn, as sure as night follows day, I returned to form, placing a couple of drives in the woods, snap-hooking an approach shot or two, and generally playing like the 15 handicapper that I am. Still, an 83 in front of two strangers is always a delightful way to start a day. The entire round took 3 hours and 45 minutes to complete, a wonderful bonus. Somewhere on the back nine, after my poorer play made me more approachable, I got into a conversation with Jim, and discovered that his middle daughter, Courtney, 28, has Hodgkin's Lymphoma, and the prognosis isn't good. He described the two bone marrow procedures that she has endured, the heartbreak of learning that after the second time, the cancer returned. He had flown his wife to Myrtle Beach this week just to get her away from the pain and sadness for a while. I promised him that me and my family would be praying for Courtney tonight at dinner.

After a quick lunch back at the condo, I went down to the beach and spent the afternoon talking and laughing with my kids, and throwing the football back and forth like I've done every year for the past twenty. Tonight we will eat dinner out on the balcony, then head out for a severely contested game of team putt-putt. Patrick and I will dominate Kaitlin and Pam, but will show mercy and try to at least keep it close. The losing team will treat the winning team to soft serve. I prefer chocolate-dipped...in case either of you are reading this.