I have many things to be thankful for but two of the most important are the town I grew up in and the parents that raised me there. The town is the idyllic Nelson, BC – a great place to grow up. And my parents allowed me to take full advantage of it including the golf course and its much fabled 7th hole.
It was easily reachable for a potential birdie but the green was cruelly sloped outwards towards a deep sand trap. An approach shot with a high loft was required. My Dad favored more of a low line drive so this hole frustrated him. Off the tee we frequently watched his straight but low trajectory approach land in front of the green and then roll. And roll. And roll…into the sand trap. As a youngster tagging along I would ask “Why are you in the sand trap again?” “It just feels right” he’d reply sarcastically. After a swing or two in the trap I’d ask “Why are you still in the sand trap?” “Just enjoying the view” he’d say with a chuckle. One way or another the ball would find it’s way onto the green and a few putts later we’d be on our way to the next tee.
Once I started golfing I was very focused on learning to hit the ball really, really high so it would stop quickly when it landed near the green. Any green. The 7th green.
Over the years the scene would play out again and again – my ball would soar high, land near the putting green and stay away from the trap. My Dad’s would find the trap more often than not and the familiar conversation would follow. Never in anger. Always in fun.
My Dad passed away in September 2014. My Mom spent the last year and a half working slowly through the grieving process. She decided the holiday weekend this May was the time to say a final good-bye and spread his ashes in remembrance. We discussed many places around town that we associated with my Dad – the lake he enjoyed boating on, the church hall he was always fixing something at, the golf course, the park he enjoyed walking at and the power plant where he worked for 20 years. We settled on the dual theme of water and work and chose the river leading up to the power plant.
So on an overcast afternoon we gathered to say a few words, release his ashes into the river and take a shot of his favorite Rum. Afterwards my older brother mentioned his main memory of Dad was his focus on family and this focus had been passed onto us. This made me think of my daughter who has expressed some interest in trying golf. I can hear it now…
“Why are you in the sand trap again Dada?”
“Just enjoying the view…”
I miss you Dad.