Golf - A Sport That Ties Us Together.

|
Looking through ESPN.com, I ran across this article about golf and how the author relates that sport to her father and the memories it brings. It definitely hit a soft spot for me. Although my dad didn't play golf, and sparingly now, until later in his life - the same connections were made through hunting trips and baseball.

My brother actually introduced me to golf. He and I would have my mom drop us off at a local driving range, which is now closed down, and we would hit golf balls as far as we could while she went shopping. We spent many, many afternoons pounding ball after ball, seeing who could hit it farther or make it into the big bucket about 100 yards out. If I recall correctly, big brother, we made it in that bucket on more than one occasion.

In my later years, my mom would drop me off at my golf lesson and either hang out and watch me hit balls or she would go about her business and come pick me up a few hours later. She would always ask me about my lesson and then would allow me to keep golf on the t.v. on weekends while she cleaned the house. She always had an outside connection to me and golf, and now on weekends she often knows more about the weekly PGA tournament then I do.

Now, a few years later, we have started a tradition of playing a round of golf on Father's Day. For my dad, it is probably one of 3 rounds he plays throughout the year. Every now and then he will join me for a round, but for the most part it is the one weekend when my brother and dad join me for a round, along with 3 t0 4 of my uncles and an few miscellaneous family friends and some how related members of the extended family.

I look forward to that round, more than most of the golfers that day. I love being able to pass the game on to more people, and one day Jaxson will join us along with my nephew, Cody. Those days will not get here soon enough.

Again, here is the article from ESPN.com

Don't Give Up On Golf, America
-Mary Buckheit

There are things about my childhood that I will never be able to shake. Patterns that were as predictable as the seasons.

For instance, every night after dinner in winter months like these, as snow blanketed the backyard, my dad would drink down his last swallow, then take his finished plate in from the table to the kitchen sink. He'd thank my mother for the feast with a kiss on the cheek, then open the latch to the basement door and descend the wooden stairs.

I remember the sound of his slippers shuffling on the cement cellar floor while he searched for the dangling pull string. I remember the sound of his stutter step, tug and click as the cold, unfinished walls lit up from the light of an undressed bulb.

It was there that my dad would decompress from the workday.

On the gray floor lay a small mat from the front seat of his old Dodge. Next to that was a long, narrow strip of insulation.

The car mat was for irons. The insulation, for putting.

I remember how I would sneak down and sit on the fourth stair in my feety pajamas. I'd talk to my dad as he hit plastic golf ball after plastic golf ball from the car mat into the cement wall. I can still hear the cycle of sounds -- the shaft through the air, the club to the ball, the plastic against cement and the trickling of the small Wiffle balls bouncing around until it was time to collect them in the coffee can and do it again. He let me do that.

I remember how my mom would call me to bed from two flights up, and how my dad would then signal me down from the stairs; waving me over with one hand, the other quieting me with an index finger to his lips. He'd grab his old putter leaning against the wall and hand it to me.

"One-for-one, last one in's a rotten egg," he'd say.

Without fail, I'd hastily putt my ball off the side of the thin foam strip a few times, and my dad would toy with me for a minute or two before finally tapping one into the silver tambourine tray. Bedtime. He'd hand me his putter, and I'd put it back on the wall while he walked over to the pull string. He'd stand under the bulb with his hand on the cord, giving me a second to make a dash for the stairs before the darkness fell. If I was stalling on bedtime all he had to do was pull the string.

Every single night it was golf balls, a strip of insulation, me, my dad and a putter.

I remember when my mom bought him a real green foam practice putting strip for his birthday, and set that up in the basement.


I remember kneeling next to my mom in front of the casket at his funeral, the putter tucked next to him. Of course.

My dad would have turned 70 years old on Thursday. Out of habit, in these February days leading up to his birthday, I always get that pang. I think of golfing in the basement, longing for springtime grass and greens. I think of driving by tundra-like courses -- "Hey look, let's go, the flags are up!" my dad would joke.

There's this feeling now, as if I'm forgetting something. It's been five years, and somehow I still kind of forget he's gone. Or maybe I don't forget as much as I am still reminded of him so often that it's almost -- but not quite -- as if he never left.

And while there were so many parts to the man I love most -- a husband of 40 years, a father of six, a brother to seven, a grandfather of eight -- I am never more aware and surrounded by his presence than I am when I'm on a golf course.

The man loved golf. I remember the obituary noting his devotion to his family, his church, the Brooklyn Dodgers and golf. And I remember the phone call from my mom on a Monday night.

"Have you heard from dad?" she asked. "He went out golfing this morning and he's not home yet."

It was one of those moments when you know in your bones what has happened, even when it's the most unlikely scenario on Earth. Never in my 23 years had I ever heard from my dad without my mom first passing him the phone. If she hadn't heard from him, something was surely amiss.

On that rainy night in Geneva, N.Y., my uncle took my mom down the road to Big Oak Golf Course, where he had spent the afternoon with my father. They had played one round together, and that was enough for my Uncle John. Dad said he was going to go around again -- 27, maybe 36 holes -- which wasn't unusual for him at the age of 65, even on a rainy day. He could hack around for hours by himself if he'd had his work done. And that day, he did.


His car was still there at the course that Monday night. The only one on the lot.


Maybe the car wouldn't start and he had just walked somewhere, the police officers suggested. It was plausible. But I'm fairly certain that everyone gathered in the clubhouse knew what had happened even before my uncle finally found him in the fourth fairway.

He died. But he died playing golf. And just like that, five years later, something about losing my dad so unpredictably somehow seems to make some kind of sense now.


My dad loved playing golf. He respected the etiquette, the honor code, and the beauty that can be found on even the most haggard of municipal courses. He felt humbled by every minute that he was lucky enough to be out there between the flags, away from the hustle and bustle. And because of that, he had egg cartons filled with golf balls in the garage that he would wash by hand in the offseason.

He was faithful to what can make golf a difficult partner to keep. It is a relationship that can't be maintained by the listless.

And that's why it didn't surprise me too much when I saw
the recent New York Times article in which Paul Vitello explained that "more Americans are giving up golf."

It seems the total number of people in America who play golf has been on the decline this decade and, what's more, about 3 million golfers quit playing each year.

Many would argue that most Americans don't have the time for such a commitment. But I'd argue that most don't have the heart for that kind of commitment, either. C'mon. If you think the only way you have time to play nine holes of golf is by driving a cart, it's not really about time, it's about devotion. (Now, if you're taking a cart for fun, and because it allows you and your buddies enough time to play two balls and also enjoy a six-pack, you're all right by me.)
Sure, there's no doubt that time is hard to come by these days. It's more difficult today to squeeze in a few hours away than it was even five years ago.


But it can be done.

You might have to wake up for an early tee time before the rest of the slackers roll out of bed and slow your pace. You might have to get off the couch on a winter night and practice your swing in the basement, to keep up your pace come spring. You might have to walk a few rounds in the rain -- but if you're lucky enough, you could have the course to yourself.

And if you're really lucky in your pursuit of this valiant obsession, you just might rest peacefully someday. With your favorite putter never far from your side.

Click here for the original article.

Cookies: A Three Step Process

|

First: You inspect the bag, verify that there are cookies to be eaten.

Second: Commence eating the cookies.

Third: Finish off the process with your own personal cookie dance.

Crunching The Numbers

|
We figured we would let him do the taxes this year. What could happen....?

Riding Shotgun With Dad

|
Hey Little Bambino,

I really enjoyed hanging out with you all day on Sunday. We did some grocery shopping (which we successfully got all the right ingredients this time plus a few surprises for momma), we took you for your second haircut (which you hated and cried the whole time, but you look good) you got to "ride" shotgun with dad (while we waited for the barber shop to open, and yes, we were parked), we ate lunch with momma and learned the in-and-outs of air hockey (which you will learn to love in college), and finally we went to pick up Boo from the airport (she was really happy to see you).

We had a good day, and I enjoyed it. Glad you are my little man.
Love,
Dad.

A Little Young

|
Before he was wondering the halls causing mayhem and waking up all the residents from their afternoon naps, our little carjacker was trying to take a joyride.

Kids these days.

Pure Madness In The Hallways

|
Just kickn' it at the old folks home on Sunday.

video

Cookie Monster Gets Assistance

|
Jacob and Esther helped the cookie monster take in some more loot on Friday night.


Oh Bag Boy.

|

I think I know what it would feel like being a celebrity. Having someone to carry your bags for you; of course, by the time this bag got home the clothes inside may have a few concrete burns or marks.


"My Name Is Forrest, Forrest Gump."

|

Thursday Boys Are An Inspiration

|
Occasionally I will watch a movie, hear a song, or read an article that reminds me why I love being a parent and how much children can inspire and create beautiful moments and stories and the sacrifices that people will go through to be engaged with their children.

From time to time, while driving around the Fort Worth area, I have noticed stickers on the back windshields of cars that read Thursday Boys and would have names underneath that, I assumed they were children's names but I could never figure out what the Thursday Boys part meant. I figured it had something to do with the JV football team for Arlington Heights High School, since that is where I usually saw them and the colors were blue and yellow and JV teams typically play on Thursday night. But we all know what happens when we assume.

Stumbling through the Star-Telegram website this morning, I came across a picture that caught my attention and drew me into the article.

Please take a minute and read the article. I don't want to write about the article or preview anymore than I already have - I feel it may take away from the original article. Hopefully the article will tug at your heart like it did mine.

Link to their website...click here.

The Bruise Proves It

|
So what if he is wearing a pink bow in his hair. If you look close you can see the bruise on his forehead from school today that proves he is tough.

So go ahead, laugh at him. I dare you.

Boys And Their Cars

|
No matter what age, boys like toys. Big boys like big toys, and little boys like little toys. But no matter what age we are, we men/boys like cars. The only difference is when we get older, we are capable of wrecking the cars - so it's good to practice taking the cars into the shop at a young age.



Kostas brought his cars by the house tonight so that Jaxson could check them out and his momma brought food - would else could a man want. A friend with cars and a mom that cooks.

Bed Head

|

Two Heads Are Better Than One

|

Sliding Into Home

|
The set-up.

The descent.

The victory dance.

Meeting Babies

|
While some of us had to work today, other members of the family were able to enjoy the beautiful day and hang out with the Little Bambino.

Not only did mom and Jax get to enjoy the day with one another, they also got to meet Connor for the first time. Blake and Laura are the proud parents of a bouncing baby boy. Connor, who is part of the blogging community already, entered our world back on January 5. Today was the first time that they were able to get together and meet. Congrats to the new parents, he is a beautiful boy.



Dr. Evil's Twin

|

A Welcomed Evening

|
As the cold air blew and the clouds made way for some much needed sunshine yesterday evening, we were indulging in a wonderful bowl of homemade chili and cornbread muffins thanks to Scott and Katy.
We spent the evening with Katy, Robyn's cousin, and her husband Scott. It was an evening of good conversation, Trivial Pursuit and card games (which Scott dominated most of the evening) and just sitting back and enjoying their new home; which is gorgeous.

Jaxson seems to enjoy letting Katy feed him. At our Christmas party, she helped fill his belly full of meatballs - and he has not forgotten. Each time he sees her, he clings to her - I think he is secretly hoping she has some more meatballs in her pocket, but that's just me and my thoughts.


More Than A Mouthful

|

St. Valentine's Day Recap

|
Nothing screams true love to me more than a good breakfast during the work week, and what better breakfast then an old Wheat family favorite - Egg Toast with a big glass of cold milk.

Basically, it is French toast with peanut butter and syrup - a weird yet delightfully good combination. My dad would make this for us growing up on the weekends, and it was always a treat. I remember countless Sunday mornings before church, scarfing down these little treats before heading to Sunday school. Not sure if he created the recipe or read it in one of his Boy Scout manuals, but where ever the hell it came from I am glad we picked it up along the way.

I had to introduce this little morning goodie to Robyn; so the family tradition is extended one more generation.

To close out the day, Mimi stopped by for a bit to see the little guy. We finally got around to playing with the "Elephun" toy that we got from Boo for Christmas. It shoots out little pieces of plastic you are suppose to catch with the nets. Jaxson didn't get that concept, but staring up and giggling - he's got that down.
Before Mimi left, I think I caught her and Jaxson asking the mirror, mirror on the wall who the coolest dad of them all...

Put A Leg Up

|
If I could only sleep this good again...oh the dreams I could have.



Bucking

|
The stereotypes are true, everybody from Texas DOES know how to ride a horse (or whatever that animal is on the toy).

video

He did stay on for 8 seconds. All he needs now is some chaps, spurs, and a hat.

B-Ball With The Devils

|
The boys had a night together. Just us, the t.v., and the Duke Blue Devils on ESPN.


By the way Casey, I won. You owe me 2, yes count them, 2 rounds of brewskis.

Uncle Casey and I had a reoccuring bet for the Duke/Maryland match-up. Casey is a fan of the Terps, where I am a life-long fan of Duke basketball.

Stinky Socks

|

Loves to smell his socks, weird.


Blue

|

This Big Kid Is Happy

|
As a HUGE Dr. Seuss fan, with my favorite being Oh, the Places You'll Go, I am exicted to see this new movie coming out.
Jim Carrey leading the charge with Steve Carell as a co-star...I think it will be a good one.

Sleepy Boy

|
A sweet moment between momma and son.


video

Chinese New Year

|
We celebrated the coming of the Year of the Rat with Gracie last night. Great way to connect cultures and communities from worlds apart.


Gracie looked like a million bucks in her authentic silky threads.


Never Too Early

|
We hit the links (well, at least the back yard) with the sticks.

Just Cut Short...

|
I will let you guess what happened the second after the camera stopped.....


video

Sun & Shade

|

He Makes It Look So Good

|
Carshon's in FW has THE best pies, all homemade and all from scratch. Big recommendation from this sweet tooth. Oh yeah, their sandwiches are fantastic as well.

Doesn't he make your mouth water.....


video

Like A Primate

|
Not sure if you remember the National Geographic videos that we all suffered through in elementary school; but, if you do - try and recall the one where the gorilla takes the stick and dips in into the ant hill and pulls out a little snack.....


video

Robyn Caught Off Guard

|
Poor thing was just trying to get a good family photo during our train ride....

video

....funny thing is, she hates having her picture taken, and the one time she was willing to have it taken - it was the wrong time.

Riding The Train To Happyville

|
Once again, the weather is spectacular here in Tejas. To celebrate the sunshine we decided to Forest Park and ride the miniature train, for $3 a person - you can't beat it. You can't tell, but the sign reads Forest Park Depot.

Winding through the Trinity Park area and with one stop to fill up on popcorn and soda; we couldn't think of a better reason to let the tracks take us where they may.

One more reason why I love Fort Worth.



Looks Like Moon-Walking To Me

|

Wondering P.J.'s

|
video

Destined For Greatness

|
I wonder if Tiger ever slept with his golf clubs??

He even has a proper grip on the club, that'a boy!

Popping On A Saturday Morning

|
We all had them as kids, we all loved them as kids, and we still want them as adults.

Pop-Tarts!!!

What's better than a warm Pop-Tart fresh out of the toaster - home made Pop-Tarts.

While browsing through the internet yesterday, I ran across a recipe for home made Pop-Tarts. I couldn't think of a better way to start a weekend than some home made treats for breakfast while the sun creeps through the tree branches and across our kitchen.

For a first time around, they weren't too bad. There are a few modifications that I would make but they were definitely edible.