The Saturday Morning Post© 2017

“Don’t let your dreams be dreams.”
Jack Johnson

A Love of Horses

Aunt Janice had horses in her blood. At five, she pounded six nails into a small stick to make a horse, one nail for the head, four for the legs and, of course, one for the tail. At ten, she advanced to bigger ideas, using a long board for the body, a smaller one for the head and some string for the reins. Then she made herself a herd. Using a card table as her barn, she opened a riding stable at the curb in front of her house. Her sign boldly advertised, “Hobby Horses for Rent.” I doubt she made much money, but she had fun and loved her horses.

When she was thirteen, she got a job at a real stable in Los Angeles, which kept several dozen ponies for children’s parties and weekend rides. The Pony Park was still the site of many birthday parties when I was a kid. She worked there for free for the first year or so, mucking corrals, cleaning the barn and walking little kids around on the ponies, anything to be near horses. Aunt Janice was also a good artist, and what do you think she liked to draw and paint the most? She had a dream of one day having her own horse farm. And she knew you can do anything you want if you keep working at it. And she did.

Every summer, she would go to her Aunt Cora and Uncle Ralph’s ranch with her sister and her parents. She always hoped there would be a pony there for her, but there never was. Even so, she kept dreaming. Aunt Janice worked at the pony track until she was sixteen, gradually earning up to fifty cents an hour, all the while falling more and more in love with horses. You know you love horses if you like the smell of horse manure in the air. I guess I have horses in my blood too, because that smell always makes me feel good.

Later in high school, Aunt Janice and her soon-to-become sister-in-law, Aunt Patsy, bought a matched pair of painted ponies and kept them at Griffith Park, where they could ride in the ring or on the trails nearby. She married Uncle Dale when she was twenty and moved to Georgia, when he went into the Army. She bought another horse named Sailor in Georgia. My cousins, Lynne and Stephen, were born there.

Soon after they returned from Georgia, Uncle Dale passed away. They lived across the street from us, and we were all very sad when that happened. I felt particularly bad for my cousins who lost their father. He was a good uncle and always nice to me. When I was little, I had about twenty-five pictures of Navy ships, kept together by a rubber band. I told Uncle Dale that my dad had been on every one of those ships during the war, and he was kind enough to believe me.

When Aunt Janice met Uncle Gordon and got married, they moved to his house that had a barn and room for horses. She taught all of us cousins to ride in their corral. She knew how to treat horses and if you didn’t do it right, she’d let you have it. I remember she always seemed to have four to six horses there and a couple of ponies. If you want to read a story about the meanest pony I ever met click Twinkle.

Aunt Janice and Uncle Gordon eventually moved up to the cabin at Lake Tahoe with most of their kids and all of their horses. I have great memories of riding through the forest up there on horseback. If you ask me, there’s no place more peaceful than riding a trail on the back of a horse.

All the while living up at the cabin, Aunt Janice kept thinking about that horse farm. She hadn’t forgotten her dream, and she would talk about it from time to time. She began to look around for land to build it on and finally settled on forty acres between Reno and Carson City. They bought the land and eventually, Franktown Meadows became one of the finest equestrian centers in the whole country.

And to think, it all started with a little girl who had a couple of sticks, a handful of nails and a dream.

The Saturday Morning Post© 2017

“Everything is a once in a lifetime experience.”
Kobi Yamada

Be Safe

One of the most heard phrases of my childhood was, “Be safe and don’t do anything dangerous.” My mom always said that, as I was heading up to my aunt and uncle’s cabin with my grandmother, a few weeks before my mom and dad and my sister would join us.

The cabin was my favorite place on earth, 7 miles up the mountain from Lake Tahoe, with nothing around it but what God put there–pine trees, mountains, lakes and streams, and granite cliffs as large as tall buildings.

My aunt and uncle were adventurers of the first order, living year-round in a beautiful log cabin at 8450 feet. Often there was so much snow in the winter that the only thing showing of the cabin were the roof eaves and the chimney. During such times, they often took their kids to school in a Sno-Cat.

As I look at the above summer photo, taken by Aunt Janice, I realize that my mom actually had good reason to worry. We often did wildly dangerous things, though they didn’t seem so at the time. Upon closer look, there’s not much danger to us in our PJs in the foreground, though you might say there is to my cousin Mike in the background. Mike seems to be holding a Roman Candle firework that was likely intended to be in a stand rather than hand-held. I recall that Mike lit off quite a few fireworks that night, with the national forest in the background and the grownups somewhere in the living room with the rest of us.

Of course, Mike was older, about fourteen in this picture, so he was allowed to do quite a few more things than the rest of us; such as, drive us on the dirt roads all over the place, around the cabin, with 10 kids in the back of the 1929 Model A pickup truck.

We spent many summer days out on the lake, fishing in rowboats, with no life preserver; or, in winter, jumping off the roof, into the snow bank up to our necks.

We often went “stump hunting” in the summer, which was our particular term for looking for firewood across the old highway. We rarely found any actual pieces of firewood on the ground. Uncle Gordon had a box of dynamite and would place a stick under an old tree stump, add the blasting cap and long fuse. We hid behind trees a hundred yards away and knew when the fuse was lit, as he came running for cover.

BANG!

We ran out and gathered the pieces of stump, strewn about in a 30 to 40-foot radius, often clear on the other side of the tall trees from where they originated.

We rode our mini-bikes wherever we could find a path, or not, no helmet required back then. Heck, there were no seatbelts in most cars or school buses either.

Then, there was the mountain behind the cabin that provided us with local skiing each year. Uncle Gordon built his own rope tow up the mountain, so there were often just 10 or fewer of us skiing over the untracked snow. Sometimes, in big winters, there was so much snow that there was danger of an avalanche. No problem, Uncle Gordon had learned how to “shoot the avalanche,” with multiple small rockets. Yes, they were actual rockets about 2 feet long, with little wings on the tail and a pointy front. They made quite a boom as they hit the top of the mountain a mile or so away, where the avalanche began its roll.

Then, there was the time we were snowed in for two weeks. When it finally stopped snowing, the highway was closed, and remained so for more than 30 days. We couldn’t all ride in the Sno-Cat so we had to walk out 11 miles. It took us 11 or 12 hours into the night, because there was no road to be seen. After quite a few of those hours my sister Mary Ellen, who was about 11 at the time asked, “Uncle Gordon, are we lost?” When we at last arrived at the Glover’s house, about half-way down the mountain we were pretty frozen. We spent an hour or so tightly packed in front of the fireplace, thawing out with cups of steaming hot chocolate clasped in our hands.

It was all wonderful to me. Somehow, we survived, our joyful if sometimes dangerous, adventures up at the cabin. I owe many of my once-in-a-lifetime experiences to Aunt Janice and Uncle Gordon.

So, Happy Fourth of July to you and yours, be safe and remember not to do anything dangerous.

Photo Credit: Janice MacLean

The Saturday Morning Post© 2017

“Truth builds trust.”
Marilyn Suttle

Carl’s Water

Years ago, I had a business deal that I worked on for nearly two years. It looked like we were going to get it, but it was still a bit in question. My partner, on the case, and I met for lunch with our client, Carl, and his partner, Robert, at a nice restaurant.

The restaurant was beautiful and the food was terrific. We were seated at a square table covered with a white tablecloth, with a lovely flower arrangement in the center. My partner sat across from me, and Carl sat to my left, his partner directly across from him.

Things were going well, and I felt good about the meeting, that is, until I noticed that I had been drinking Carl’s water. In my defense, I am left-handed and naturally inclined to reach for a glass with my left hand. Of course, the trouble in doing that is that I repeatedly reached for Carl’s glass.

So, I sat there thinking what to do. I could pretend that I didn’t notice what I was doing and hope that he hadn’t either. The obvious part two to that plan would be to stop drinking his water, or perhaps continue to drink it but move the glass to the right. Or I could tell him and apologize, but, if he hadn’t noticed, then I would be bringing it to his attention needlessly.

I sat there thinking and decided to tell him and apologize, and when I did, I couldn’t tell whether he had noticed or not. But, he forgave me anyway. I did mention my left-handed theory briefly, but kept it short so as not to make it worse by over-explanation.

There are many such challenges being a lefty in a right-handed world. I have told this story to a few friends and learned two methods from my lefty cousin Hawley to avoid this in the future.

Put both of your hands in your lap in the OK gesture and if you look closely, and use your imagination, your left-hand sort of looks like a lower-case b, and your right hand looks like a lower-case d. I must admit that when I have done this, it has sometimes taken me a bit to figure out what I am looking at. This bewilderment can be exacerbated by having a cocktail or two before sitting down at the table. The left-hand b symbolizes the word bread, and the right-hand d symbolizes drink.

Your tablemates may think you have dozed off, as you stare at your lap for no apparent reason. Perhaps easier is to remember the acronym BMW, which of course stands not for Bavarian Motor Works but rather for Bread, Meal, Wine.

I hope this helps you in your own dining experiences; and, if you dine with me, perhaps will help you to overlook my occasionally staring at my lap.

By the way, we got the deal. So honesty clearly is the best policy, regardless of the faux-pas of the moment.

The Saturday Morning Post© 2017

“If you’re not having fun, you’re doing something wrong.”
Groucho Marx

The Rock Star

My uncle Jack was a contractor, the youngest Eagle Scout in his troop, the mayor of La Canada and one of the finest people I’ve ever known. He built the guesthouse for our family friends around the corner, Dick and Jane Kelsey. Yes, those are their real names. They loved to go out to dinner with my parents, Harry and Mary, and Dan and Cam Gross, also friends from the neighborhood.

Speaking of names, you may have noticed that it seems that nearly everyone in my family is named Mary or John. If you’re keeping score, we have nine Marys, if you count variations, eight Johns, three Harrys and three Sterlings so far. Even Uncle Jack was a John, but because of his gregarious nature all the grownups called him Uncle Chatty.

Anyhow, my cousin John was working for his dad on the guesthouse and came over one day to say hi. When he arrived, I asked him if he knew that that very night was the last of six sold-out nights for Led Zeppelin, at the Forum in Inglewood.

He said he did. And I said, why don’t we go and five minutes later, we were cruising down the 405 in my ’69 Karman Ghia with no tickets but we had a dream.

We got to the concert after it started, and no one else was in the parking lot of 10,000 plus cars, except for one lone scalper with two awesome twenty-dollar tickets. We felt like celebrities, as the ushers led us to the sixth row from the stage, dead center. The concert was terrific, loud and wild!

I need to tell you a little backstory here. You may recall that many of my cousins had Model A Fords that were in various stages of restoration or decay, depending on how you looked at it, and that we took occasional summer trips on back roads in the West, past many farms and ranches, dotted with grazing cattle.

Well, our Model As rolled along at about forty-five miles an hour with no radio, phone or air conditioning. With nothing to do but shoot the breeze, we got a little bored here and there and started looking for diversions. So, we decided to see if we could attract the attention of the cows.

It turns out that is pretty hard to do. Grazing cattle don’t respond to yelling or pounding on the side of the car or the distinctive sound of the Ahooga horn on a Model A Ford. Believe me we tried and nothing worked. Miles and miles of cows just kept chewing the grass and ignoring the monkeys going by in the old cars.

Somehow, I began to think about my friend Todd’s dad, who had been a cameraman at CBS and had a vast collection of old movie shorts. One of these featured Joe E. Brown, a famous comedian who had a distinctive way of saying, “Hey.” He stretched it out, so it was more like, “Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeey!”

I decided to give it a try but threw my own twist into it, so it started out quiet and slowly became super loud. “HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEYYY!!!”

And to our surprise, every cow in that first field stopped chewing, raised its head and looked up at us. Every cow in every field looked up at us after that.

They didn’t stampede or appear frightened. They had more of a, “What the heck was that?” look on their faces as we passed by. Well, we named it “the cradle call” and had a lot of fun with it, until we were so hoarse we couldn’t speak.

Back at the Led Zeppelin concert, the crowd went wild as Robert Plant and Jimmy Page rocked out on stage. And at the end of a song, cousin John suddenly gave a super loud cradle call. Robert Plant turned around and yelled, “Heeeey!” back at John, in response.

So, next time you’re at a concert and want to get the attention of a rock star, or perhaps get thrown out of the venue altogether, or you’re just out driving through the country and see a herd of grazing cows, well, now you know what to do. And I’m sure you’ll have fun doing it, cause we sure did.

The Saturday Morning Post© 2017

“Adventure is not outside man; its within.”
George Eliot

The Road Trip

In the summer of seventy-six, my close friend, Scott McNatt, and I decided to take a little drive from Los Angeles to the Olympic Games in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, over three thousand miles away. Actually, it turned out to be a lot farther than that, as we took numerous detours along the way, such as Lake Tahoe, the Bonneville Salt Flats, Yellowstone and Mt. Rushmore.

But first, we needed a vehicle we could drive and sleep in, because we didn’t have the money to stay in a motel every night and didn’t want to spend a month sleeping on the ground. We had our dads’ credit cards as backup but wanted to take it easy on them.

Our search revealed a 1955 Chevy Step Van that had previously been a UPS truck. As it was in rough shape, we spent several weeks fixing it up and hand painting it red, white and blue in honor of our country’s 200th birthday. We emblazoned thirteen stars across its massive blue front and a map of the United States on one side to show our route as we progressed. We built out the interior to allow for two fold-out bunks and a refrigerator powered by an occasionally replaced block of ice.

So off we went into the wild blue yonder, or at least up the 101.

Our original itinerary was simply to head north, then east and come back in a month, as we were going to Montreal to compete in the Olympic Games. Sorry, spellcheck. We were going to compete with five hundred thousand other spectators for tickets to the Olympic Games. Common knowledge was that none were available. But what’s an extra several thousand miles to find out?

We had quite an adventure, too much to cover in one post, but three things really stand out:

There is something wonderful about being out on the road on a long trip with nowhere you have to be tonight or tomorrow or the next day. The experience of already being where you are going is exhilarating and takes all the pressure out of the usual drive from, say, Los Angeles to Lake Tahoe.

We broke down five times and that provided the opportunity to appreciate the amazing kindness of total strangers we met along the way. The dad in me must say that not all strangers are kind, no, no, no. But the ones who picked me up hitchhiking for a tow-truck and drove me twenty-two miles out of their way in the middle of nowhere were, and so were many others.

After a while on the road, we didn’t like coming into a big town as there was so much to see in the little towns and where there were no towns at all. A trip with no itinerary really makes you appreciate where you are.

When we arrived in Montreal, we needed a new tire, and the French-Canadian mechanic who helped us suggested that we go to the office of the Montreal Matin, the morning newspaper, and ask if we could tag along with a photographer to the Games. Now this was a ridiculous idea even in 1976, but since we had none better we decided to go for it.

To our surprise, the paper welcomed us, took our picture and wrote a story about our sojourn across the continent to see the Games. We think they splashed it up a bit, though we weren’t quite sure, as it was written in French. But from that moment on, their readers donated tickets for us to see the Games every day we were there, another amazing kindness from strangers.

The paper wrote a follow-up article about the success of their campaign and published our picture again, breakfasting with Jacques and Claudine St. Germain, the reporter and his wife, who had written our story.

Jacques gave us each a Canadian dollar and signed it in French. He told us with a twinkle in his eye, “If you keep this dollar in your wallet, you will always have money.”

I have lost and found that wallet with my Canadian dollar in it twice in the forty-one years since that breakfast. The first time was when I lost it in the parking lot of a hardware store, and it turned up months later and miles away. Only the American cash was gone, but that dollar was still tucked inside. Jacques was right, and I will always remember his kindness and generosity. Click here to see the dollar and a few more photos from our trip.

Oh, and a couple of tips, if you decide to make such a trip, be sure the windshield wiper works on your vehicle, ours never did, though having a nearly vertical windshield helps. And I wouldn’t recommend making the return drive from Montreal to Los Angeles in one sixty-nine hour stretch.

The Saturday Morning Post© 2017

“There was a whole magnificent soul burning brightly under her shy demeanor.”
Atticus

My Date with Marcia Brady

Everyone knew that Maureen McCormick, aka Marcia Brady, went to our high school. Maureen was a year behind me, and I sat next to her every day at lunch. She was just as cute in person as she was on TV, often dressed in a hot pink or green mini-skirt. But you have to understand the culture of the time to really follow what comes next.

The Brady Bunch was one of the top shows on television for those under twenty. The show was on Friday nights on ABC, and everyone watched it, including the majority of kids in our school.

No one wanted to admit that fact, because it wasn’t cool to watch The Brady Bunch in the era of The Who, The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin.

So, we all pretended not to like the show, though, secretly, every girl wanted to be Marcia Brady and every boy wanted to date her.

The funny thing is that, though Maureen and I sat next to each other, each of us had three friends on either side that sort of blocked us from the rest of the school crowd. And our friends didn’t intermingle.

Maureen was really very quiet, I guess because she was so well known to every kid in school she felt shy about interacting with them. I really saw myself as her protector, though I have no memory of anyone ever bothering her. I believe she appreciated my presence.

I was shy with her too. We were in fact so shy that we never actually spoke with each other, though we may have made eye contact once, or perhaps twice. And so, without the actual interaction of speech, I never had that date with Marcia Brady, or Maureen.

But I did watch her show on TV, every Friday night.

The Saturday Morning Post© 2017

“The trick is growing up without growing old.”
Casey Stengel

The Last Buzzcut

This is one of the last photos of me with a buzz cut, or what was known back then as a butch. We were up at my aunt and uncle’s cabin, and my cousins Stephen and Rory and I went into Reno for haircuts with Uncle Gordon. I don’t know how Rory missed out. That’s him pictured on the right. As we were coming back up the mountain, we made a detour off the highway to meet up with my aunt and cousin Lynne who were on horseback. We got stuck in the mud and were using the winch on the front of the Travelall to pull ourselves out.

All the boys in our family got a buzz cut at the start of summer, given the expectation that boys of a certain age get dirty. We got filthy, and it was certainly cooler and easier in the summer heat to have a buzz. But the older we got, the more we resisted the seasonal mowing. We realized having a buzz made us look like kids, and that’s the last thing any self-respecting boy wanted to look like, especially in front of a girl.

My mom had one of those haircut kits they advertised on TV, which she used on me during the school year. Mom was wonderful to me and a very talented gardener who could prune a bush like nobody’s business, and our yard was the pride of the neighborhood. So, I guess she figured she could cut hair as well. She cut mine from birth ‘till I was about nine.

I was making some progress by half-talking my mother into letting me go to the barber shop like the rest of the guys. But she wanted someone who measured up to her standards, and the barber shop didn’t. Instead, she chose Leo, a nice Italian guy across the street who had his own shop. As I got into Leo’s chair, the first thing he asked me was, “Who’s been hacking on you?” My mother pleaded guilty, but she loved to tell that story over the years.

Leo was alright, but the name of his shop caused me great embarrassment. It was called The Merry Go Round, but it might as well have been called The Little Kids Haircut Shop. That’s how I felt going in there. I worried that my friends would see me. Luckily, they had a back entrance.

I wanted so badly to get my haircut at the barber shop almost directly across the street, yet Mom was unrelenting. She thought they would do a hack job, ahem, and I guess she wanted her yard, and my head, to be well trimmed.

The photo above was taken just about an hour after my very last buzz cut. When Fall arrived, however, the twelve-year-old me had enough pull to talk Mom into letting me get my hair cut at the barber shop, like the rest of the guys…at last.

Photo credit: Janice MacLean

The Saturday Morning Post© 2017

“It ain’t over till it’s over.”
Yogi Berra

Lost in the Woods

Mr. Black received the land, nearly eight hundred acres, as partial payment on a real estate deal he made in the thirties. I thought he must not have been too happy about it at the time, as it was just mountains and forest miles from anywhere, with no services whatsoever. Over time, this land would become my favorite place on earth.

It was breathtakingly beautiful, and Mr. Black hit upon a great idea to dam up the stream to make a lake he could fill with rainbow trout. He then went back East and sold shares to rich guys he knew, so they would have a private place to retreat to with their other rich guy pals. It must have worked, because Mr. Black built a clubhouse and decorated it with panel after panel of enlarged photos of parties of the big boys who stayed there over the years.

The clubhouse, caretaker’s cottage and boathouse were the only structures on the land for years, until another couple of cabins were built, one of which was bought by my uncle, who happened to be at the right place at the right time.

The photo above was taken fifteen years later in front of my uncle’s cabin. That’s my cousin Stephen, at about eight, in the white shirt leaning on the rear fender, and that’s me next to him at about seven in the tan shirt. Nearly everyone else is our brother, sister or cousin. And that’s how Stephen and I, now fourteen and thirteen respectively, happened to be driving up the mile-and-a-half dirt road from the lake to the highway late one summer afternoon in the Model A.

As we climbed through the Aspens speckled with pines, we were pretty far along when we saw a midnight blue Cadillac coming towards us. We and the other car slowed to a stop facing each other, our bumpers not twenty feet apart.

The driver of the Cadillac lowered his electric window and waved impatiently for us to back up. We couldn’t see his face through the afternoon glare on his windshield. But we knew it was Earl, the caretaker, and we also knew that he was driving Mr. Black. Everyone knew the rules of this one-lane dirt road, and every other road in America, for that matter.

When two cars meet on a single-lane road, the car going downhill is supposed to back up. But this was Mr. Black and Earl, on the road Mr. Black had built, so I knew we would be backing up.

Stephen rolled down his window, and I assumed he was going to look back and proceed to back up. Instead, he waved his hand for Earl to back up. Shocked, I said, “Let’s just back up,” as Earl waved again, more vehemently. But Stephen waived right back with equal energy.

I began to plead with him just to back up, as all six-foot-five of Earl got out of the Cadillac and came towards Stephen’s side of the Mode A.

Not one to waste words, Earl yelled at Stephen, “You back this damn thing up!” To which Stephen replied forcefully, “You back up!”

Earl snapped, “You back this truck up right now!” And Stephen, perhaps assuming Earl hadn’t heard him the first time, expanded his message, saying, “You back up, you’re the one going downhill!”

Earl glared as he pointed at the Cadillac, demanding, “Do you know who I have in that car?” Stephen replied that he did.

Once more, Earl insisted that Stephen back up–to which my fourteen-year-old cousin replied by reaching down, in full view of Earl, set the hand-operated emergency brake on the Model A and rolled up the window. Grimly, Earl trudged back to the Cadillac to give Mr. Black the news through the now open rear window.

The rear window rolled back up, and as Earl got back in the car, the rear door of the Cadillac opened, and Mr. Black got out and stomped in our direction. When he got to the side of the car, I was sure there was steam coming out of his ears, but maybe it was only the dust from the road.

Mr. Black rapped hard on the closed window with his ring. Stephen rolled it down, and Mr. Black lost no time in asking Stephen, “Do you know who I am?”

Personally, I thought we had covered this point thoroughly in our exchange with Earl, but Stephen confirmed once again that he did know who Mr. Black was.

Mr. Black said, “Then, you damn well back this truck up right now!”

Stephen replied, “You back up, we have the right-of-way.” Mr. Black fumbled in his coat pocket and pulled out the biggest gold and silver badge I had ever seen. Holding it up to Stephen’s face, he asked, “Do you see this badge?” Of course, Stephen could not deny that he did indeed see it. We were making a little progress.

Mr. Black said threateningly, “Then you back this truck up right now!” He left out the obviously implied, “Or else!” Stephen put his hand on the ignition key, and I breathed a sigh of relief that at last he was going to give in and we could get out of there.

Instead, Stephen looked Mr. Black square in the eye, pulled the key out of the ignition, opened his hand and let the key drop through the air to land with impressive clatter on the wooden floor boards.

Mr. Black stared at Stephen for a second with murder in his eyes, made some unintelligible sound, his bluff called, and trudged back to his midnight blue Cadillac, as Earl hopped out to open the rear door for him. They both got in, and, after a moment, they backed up.

Photo Credit: Janice MacLean

The Saturday Morning Post© 2017

“Good decisions come from experience
and experience comes from making bad decisions.”

Mark Twain

Staying out of Trouble

If the quotation above is not one of the great truisms, I don’t know what is. This is so in nearly every aspect of life and, particularly, in personal relationships and in the game of golf.

My deeper understanding of this truth began one afternoon as I was walking down the fairway with Bill Greene, a keen observer of life and a true gentleman from Virginia. Looking back, I’m inclined to think he had been observing me for a while as he began to tell me this story.

Bill played a round with an old friend and asked him what his best round was so far. His friend told him his score, which I have forgotten. Then Bill asked, “How would you like to beat that score by three strokes?” His friend replied that he sure would. Bill said, “In our next round, let me tell you which club to play and where to hit it, and you will.” They agreed on a date, and when his friend did what Bill asked, he had his new best round by three strokes.

I immediately told Bill I wanted to do the same thing with him, which I think was Bill’s intention all along. He asked me my best score, which I told him, though I needn’t mention it here. So we played another round, and I too had my best round, by more than three strokes.

So how did that happen?

Bill is a master of course management, which I wasn’t. He told me which club to hit and where to hit it. If I chose a six iron, he told me to hit a seven. If I was hoping to fly the bunker, Bill had me hit shorter and to the side to take the bunker completely out of play. And this went on in every shot on every hole, even in putting.

Bill anticipated the result before making the shot and simply avoided trouble, and with his expert guidance so did I. Now you might think that from that moment on, I played every round that way.

I didn’t.

So, why is this so simple to understand and yet so hard to do? I think it’s the same reason we get into silly arguments with others, even though we know better, not that that ever happens to me. Yet when I have patience and presence of mind, my golf game and my life go much better.

So for my next round, I plan to have fun, keep it in play, and stay out of trouble. Might as well try that in my conversations too.

Thanks, Bill, a little shared wisdom has gone a long way.

The Saturday Morning Post© 2017

“The jello’s jiggling.”
Chick Hearn

A Chick Hearn Moment

Over the last several years, I have watched a lot of volleyball. Both my daughters play in school and on club teams. The games are wonderful to watch, are great for them and for us as a family. We and our girls have made many new friends through this experience.

So, what does this have to do with basketball announcing legend, Chick Hearn? Just this, many times I have witnessed parents sweating it out on the sidelines when we are ahead by, say, 22-13. I guess in an effort to calm them, and perhaps myself as well, I say, “This is a Chick Hearn moment.”

Generally, they look at me blankly for a moment, and then I see the light go on when I recite Chick’s famous words, “This game’s in the refrigerator, the door’s closed, the light’s out, the eggs are cooling, the butter’s getting hard, and the jello’s jiggling.” Nobody could call a basketball game like Chick, and those of us privileged to have heard him still miss him.

Of course, if the volleyball game score is 13-22 instead, I yell just as loud any other parent, “You can do it girls!”