When I was a kid, we would often go to my grandparent’s home for Sunday dinner. Life was different back then. There were fewer distractions then there are now. No individual devices to peer into, no social media and only one channel in our country home.
A common distraction among many was the game of golf. Nobody in my blue-collar family played the game. My dad’s hobby was gardening, so he rarely left to do anything else. I grew up spending my summers enduring my dad’s mind-numbing hobby of weed-pulling. On rainy days, we stayed in to watch TV and often the only thing that was on were Golf tournaments. Equally mind-numbing.
So, one weekend day, while driving home from Grandma’s, we passed a golf course. I always looked at the golfers while we passed by, wondering about the game, and I asked a question.
Suddenly, my dad launched into professor mode and began explaining the game of golf in intricate detail. He covered the terms, “par” and “birdie” and pontificated about the scoring process, how the swing of the club was a “stroke” and to win you needed to play all the holes with the fewest strokes possible. As he launched into an explanation of the different kinds of clubs used, my mother interrupted. “George! Are you going to spend all day explaining this game to him?” She was clearly aggravated. “Well, he asked a question about the game, Martha. I was just explaining it to him.” “Yea, well you don’t have to go on and on about it.” Her aggravation was mounting. “I don’t see what’s the big deal,” my dad defended, “Why are you so offended that I’m answering the boy’s question?” “I’m just tired of hearing about it. Of all games to lecture on, why does it have to be GOLF?!” Her annoyance was reaching fever pitch. My dad knew when to quit and relented.
Clearly, my mom didn’t understand the game and didn’t want to. What I didn’t realize was that before my dad took up family-life with all the responsibilities and began gardening, he must have been a golfer. I knew better than to ask and he never brought it up again.