By my usual atrocious standards, I actually played pretty well … but this isn’t a golf story.
Even though the course is less than 10 minutes from my house, I had never played there … but this isn’t a golf story.
Because we are who we are, one of us hit a shot off a tree that careened directly back into a sand trap … but this isn’t a golf story.
We laughed at the return of my 3-iron, which he had last seen when I bent it over my knee while we were playing in a tournament in Maine … but this isn’t a golf story.
One thing Suzi and I haven’t done much of since we moved to Massachusetts 16 years ago is make a ton of friends outside of work. In fact, while I was off golfing, she went to New Hampshire with one of them for an event for a former colleague.
I like the people in my exercise class and who I play pickleball with, but unless we run into each other in other circumstances, we basically show up, do our thing and then I see them the next time.
Suzi and I aren’t antisocial — OK, maybe I am a little — but after we’re done doing whatever it is we’re doing that day, we’re usually happy with each other’s company.
But when we moved to where we are now, we were lucky enough to have friends from previous lives living nearby.
There’s a former co-worker of Suzi’s from in New York who refers to us as her kids’ “Aunt Suzi” and “Uncle Bill.” Even though we’re not Jewish, we celebrate holiday dinners with them, and last week, we were at their younger child’s fourth birthday party.
And then there’s Mix.
He’s part of the “embers of ’93,” the group of friends largely formed my junior year of college, which was his freshman year. The tales we tell of that time, even though they’ve been repeated a million times, still crack everyone up.
He’s the guy second from left in the photo, the one getting married. I’m on the far right, with J.J. and Piv. He was a reader at my wedding.
When Utica College teams used to play road games in Massachusetts more often than they do now, a bunch of us used to get together to go. Mix rocked a sweet Quebec Nordiques jersey to a game we went to in Boston several years ago.
There’s a funny story about barbecued chicken that I won’t share here, which I wasn’t sure he was aware of, except he was.
Since I’ve moved to the area, we’ve gone to hockey games together, watched wrestling at each other’s houses. He invited Suzi and I to his mother’s surprise 75th birthday party. Suzi couldn’t go, but I went; him mom’s college roommate was a hoot.
His mom has always liked me, but I hope she realizes that someone had better invite Mix to any surprise 75th birthday party I have.
Mix had texted me several weeks ago to invite me to play golf, but our schedules originally didn’t work out, so at the start of this month, we found a day we were both free and I made the reservations.
I made sure we went early, and played nine holes. Because we are who we are, anything later or longer, and we might not have finished until after sundown.
But this isn’t a golf story.
So if this isn’t a golf story … what exactly is it?
It’s a story of two old friends, one (me) trying to sort out a difficult moment, and the other (him) who knows what that’s all about.
It’s about spending three hours on a Saturday morning hitting a golf ball around a course (and getting lost while doing it), but more importantly — because this isn’t a golf story — talking about life, cracking wise and trying to make ourselves and each other laugh … and getting myself out of my own damn head.
It’s about, after we were done, spending 20 minutes, maybe 30, in the parking lot talking about what comes next, and what I need to do.
In other words, it’s a story of a friend providing exactly what I needed, exactly when I needed it.