Today is one off those days when it just feels great to be alive. The sun is shining and they’re predicting a maximum of at least 7C. We have just come though one of those periods of dull days when the incessant rain just doesn’t stop (that was for Debbie B to pick up). Baby XX has not deigned to make her appearance yet but is due to arrive any day now. As a result, we are all in a sort of holding pattern, circling the attractions within twenty minutes drive of Surrey Memorial Hospital.
It’s Monday and I have just returned from my morning routine of driving David to the skytrain station, and ascend the stairs with the ritual offerings of Tim Hortons coffees. I think I detect a sudden pause in the conversation above, but can’t be quite sure.
“What are we doing today ladies?” “Well, we thought we might head to the Mall. You know. It’s a really great place to get some exercise for an hour or two. Or – we thought you might like to go play golf??” I pretend not to notice the sideways glances and winks that reflect back between mother and daughter. “Golf sounds great!” Some more poorly disguised nods but hey, it’s like being offered the choice between a bowl of ice-cream or a poke in the eye with a burnt stick! In next to no time I have deposited my charges at one of the entrances to the local mega-mall and it’s time to find the elusive entrance to that golf club I have so often driven past. With a sudden burst of inspiration, I decide to follow the little line of gents of a certain age who have also feigned reluctance to be parted with their womenfolk this morning. Sure enough, they all make a beeline for 168th Street and the hidden entrance to the Surrey Golf Club.
The fit young guy at the pro-shop looks me up and down and diplomatically suggests that I don’t play the main Course, but would enjoy the secondary (and cheaper) Willows nine-hole course. I’m amazed that he could guess that I only have time for nine holes, then I realise his practised eye will have spotted my gleaming new set of Walmart clubs and my new Walmart joggers and, well …
Undeterred, I load my clubs on a rented pull cart and trek down through the trees to the first tee. Here I encounter Vince and Sam patiently waiting their turn. They both live about fifteen minutes away, and have the look of retirees. In the manner of gentleman golfers they say Hi and ask “you any good?” “Nah.” “Fair enough. You can play along with us if you want eh?”
The sun is still shining, coloured trees dot the course, and there’s a general feeling of well being all round. After a few holes, one wheel falls off Sam’s cart and his clubs tumble everywhere. Sam just comments that “it does that” and looks for a small stick to make a running repair. I get the feeling that this has happened many times before and I’m instantly transported back to Toowoomba and a guy we’ll call “J”. Sam seals the deal with his next comment “I have another cart at home, but this one’s still OK.”
The round is a progression of good hits followed by bad ones, encouraging remarks interspersed with chuckles at dumb mistakes. All too soon, we’re rolling up the last fairway and the ninth hole is in sight. My shining new clubs are all covered in grime from hitting balls out of lush green grass overlaying sodden muddy ground. I’ve only lost one ball – not in one of the many creeks or gullies, but just lost in plain sight in the deep carpet of fallen leaves that blankets the sides of each fairway. Vince asks whether we might go around again. Sounds great, but I better check my watch. What? Where did all that time go?
I call Kirsty for more instructions. “We’ve just finished a late lunch and will be ready when you get here.” My new friends have been down this road before. We nod our goodbyes and then it’s back in the Dodge and off to the Mall. There’s a suspicious lack of parcels this time, so I still wonder what the real plan was. Most likely I’ll never know. “How was golf?” “Great!” “Did you play with anyone?” “Yeah, two local guys.” “Where do they live?” “Dunno, I didn’t ask.” “What were their names?” “Vince and Sam.” “Vince and Sam what?” Huh? How would I know? Gee women are funny creatures.