Category Archives: Out and About

Give. No Give.

I have always been intrigued by social dynamics and interactions and perhaps that is one of the reasons I enjoy golf. It is a new experience each and every time in observing social behavior and group dynamics, especially when you play outside your regular foursome. There are few settings where you meet 2-3 total strangers, shake hands, exchange first names and then expose them immediately to your short comings in coordination, athletic ability and the emotions that follow the errant tee shot off Number One. In four to five hours you share your history, family life, joys, frustrations, eating/drinking choices, humor, manners and emotional health. By the end of the round you are no longer strangers. You have shared an afternoon and learned a great deal about one another.

My husband and I shared a recent afternoon in Las Vegas at Rio Secco with a nice couple from Seoul South Korea. From the exchange of greetings on the first tee I knew it would be an interesting day of golf and social interactions. They spoke very little English but fluent golf. We found ourselves laughing with one another, cheering for our putts to drop, searching for frequent lost balls and politely remaining quiet after an errant shot. All with little common language that was shared.

A universal golf tradition in a friendly round is to concede your playing partner a putt that is close to the hole. You can often hear “that’s good” between playing partners when a putt is near the hole. There can be a bit of gamesmanship around this tradition when the players know one another well, as each player tries to gain an advantage over the other. And that was evident with our new Korean friends. She was a consistent, steady golfer with a nice smooth swing. Her mannerisms on the first green gave away her competitive nature as she fist pumped after her putt dropped. After two or three holes, her husband had a short 18″ putt, well within his ability to make. My husband jokingly asked, “aren’t you going to give that to him?” She quickly and curtly replied, “no give”. Later in the round when I had a much longer putt she quickly offered, “give”, as she looked at Russell with her sweet, yet demanding, smile. We laughed as she was generous to “give” putts to us but was consistent with her “no give” response to her 71 year old husband.

I was reflecting today on those phrases. Give. No give. I so much want others to give me a putt, a smile, a compliment, forgiveness, grace or the benefit of the doubt. But I am also very quick to ‘no give’ the same to others. How often we hold onto the very thing we so desperately want from others. Is it our competitive nature, our desire to be right, our pride, fear. What is it that keeps us from quickly saying ‘give’. Am I afraid that you will succeed and I won’t? Am I concerned that in you being right, then I must be wrong?

The scriptures say that if you give your life away you will find it. Give. No give. It’s a choice we make each day, multiple times a day. Give. No give. It seems if we give we will actually loose something. Perhaps the chance to beat someone at a game. To win the hole. But in choosing to give, we actually find much more. Joy, happiness, friendship, love, and life itself.

Playing golf again on Saturday. You’ll wish you were in my foursome. My response all day on the green will be … “Give”



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The Royal and Ancient Dream

Before I put my bags away in the basement and begin to make the transition to fall I want to highlight one more aspect of our trip to Scotland this summer.  One that can not be forgotten.  The golf.

If you are not a golfer you may not understand the significance of Scotland, St. Andrews and the Old Course.  It is where golf began, the birth place, the homeland.  And there is a certain reverence and respect you feel while you play. Maybe I feel that way because my husband loves the history and story of the game as much as he loves to play and all that has not been lost on me.  But I sensed it from the cashier at the starters building and the caddy to the fellow players and shop keepers in town.  Each round of golf was special and meant to be savored, shared through stories at the 19th hole and relived in the retelling the following days and weeks.

The Old Course at St. Andrews is “the home of golf” and has seen play for over 500 years.  It is ancient.  It is “sacred” in the golfing world. And yet played on every day.  Except Sunday and then it is open to everyone as a park to walk and enjoy.   Most ancient historical sites and venues are kept in view but untouchable to the masses.  The average person might get a view, a guided tour or limited access to a treasured historical site.  Not here.  You are welcomed and encouraged to participate and contribute to the rich history of The Old Course. That alone brings a certain magic to it.

Now add playing the same course where the Open has been held (the British open for most of us, but not so in Scotland.  It is THE Open Championship) multiple times, with memorable shots, historical finishes and each hole has a name, not just a number.  This brings a sense of personality to the course.  And not just The Old Course, all the courses we played had names for the holes.  A little like naming your children I suppose.  Golf is that personal in Scotland.

And then add the caddies.  My favorite part, playing golf with a caddy.  A Scotsman who was rolling his own cigarettes, sharing his sharp wit and humor and had my game sized up by the second hole.  Not only did he help me enjoy the round, he helped me keep perspective on the experience instead of my struggling swing that day.  Ok, my swing struggles most days, you’re right.  We were a team, together we were playing, enjoying and challenging the Old Course and it’s 112 bunkers, massive double greens with Himalayan like peaks and valleys, wind and gorse.  I could get used to playing with a caddy.

And lastly, watching my husband fulfill a life long dream.  He played golf as a boy, began to caddy at 12 years old, loves the history of the game and players and has made the game his profession.  His delight and enjoyment of the day was palpable.  There is a rich satisfaction in watching someone you love enjoying a long-awaited gift or experience.  Felt a little like Christmas morning, I was more excited for him to open the gift than for my own.  I think when you love someone you care more about their happiness than your own.  That’s what the day was like for me.  It really had nothing to do with golf.

A few pictures to remember the golfing holiday.

And a few more if you want to live vicariously through my photos :)  here.


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It’s all in how you say it

Who would have known that the traffic signs, window advertisements and street names would bring so much enjoyment on a vacation.

This sign followed us around the entire trip. Hmmmm….

Our daughter worked on this project in Michigan and it was posted in a storefront in Edinburgh??

Terrible photo because I was laughing.

Golf in Scotland is a walking sport.  Who would take a golf cart if they had to ask for a buggie?

A Husband Creche!  Of course I dropped him off.

I felt smarter just reading this.

Non Golfer is a dirty word in Scotland.  You have to park in the lower lot and pay.  Free parking at the door for golfers.

Need I say more?

True in older times as well.

My favorite.  Rocky’s in Fayetteville only has gum.

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Unexpected Scottish Beauty

There were many things I expected in Scotland: golf, haggis, rain, wind, castles.  But I was not expecting the abundant flowers and colors of the landscape.  The photos in the big coffee table books, I assumed, were taken in a few select places on an exceptional day.  But what I found was beauty around every corner, in the garden, field and landscape.  The small blossoms in the corner of a garden to the expansive fields of waving barley and oats were all around us.  Everyday.  Everywhere.  Cultivated or sown by the wind the entire country felt like one continuous garden.

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In the driver’s seat without a steering wheel

Riding along with our three teenagers as they were learning to drive is no match to the last two weeks in the passenger seat in Scotland. I’ve been sitting in the usual driver’s seat on the left side but without a steering wheel. My desire for control has never been stronger. And to add more anxiety, we’re in the left hand lane (most of the time). As the front seat passenger I have the constant feeling I am riding on the curb, in a pothole or better yet, in the ditch that is ever present 6 inches off the pavement. And that feeling has been a reality more times than I can count.

This has been a test of nerves, marital harmony and controlling the tongue. At home I am comfortable giving up control in the passenger seat on the right. I’ve learned over time how to live in that seat, relax and enjoy the ride. But here in Scotland, where the rules of the road have changed, I am sitting where I would assume I have control but all the rules have changed.

How often I assume that I have control of the circumstances in my life, only to find that the slightest change or unexpected difficulty can bring that assumption to it’s knees. The view from the left has given me a chance to reflect on control. My desire for it. The assumption that I have it. And the rest that can come when you trust the one who does have control.

Sitting in the driver’s seat without a steering wheel again today.

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The Unexpected Wedding Gift

The bridal registry. It’s a little like the letter to Santa with your Christmas wishes only much more public. Some brides to be enjoy the whole process of picking dishes, linens and fine china. I was a bit overwhelmed and uncomfortable with the whole process. Although once we began to receive gifts that were not on our registry I soon began to see why you would want to let people know your colors, style and tastes. The odd burnt orange vase i would have passed by at a garage sale, sculptures of various little animals or the endless supply of salad bowls began to pile up. But one unexpected gift not on my bridal registry has proven to be the best one even after 29 years of marriage. It has brought tears, joy, anger, conflict, laughter, long walks and talks over and over. A set of golf clubs.

My uncle Mike was and is, even at the age of 79, an avid golfer. He knew more than I how important it would be for me to learn to play, appreciate and love the game. You see I was engaged to a golf professional. The clubs came with this advice, “if you’re gonna’ marry him, you’re gonna’ need these”.

In 7th grade gym class my school was on the cutting edge of an experiment in wellness and lifetime fitness. In the spring semester we were given the choice to participate in running track or take golf lessons.. Being the non runner that i was it seemed like an obvious choice. I joined 7 other girls ready to try anything, as long as it did not include running, on the driving range. We learned enough in 6 weeks that we were allowed out on the golf course for our first nine-hole round. Somewhere between the 95 degree heat, 30mph wind, countless swings and a bought of poison ivy I lost my potential to love the game. I gave up my short try at golf. But 10 years later the game came packaged differently in my fiancé and I fell in love with both.

A set of clubs, bag and golf shoes were the perfect wedding gift. The original gift has been replaced over the years by newer models but they still bring us together after going our separate ways throughout the week with jobs, friends, commitments or interests. They have brought a shared experience, fun and pass time to our marriage. A couple I know married 40+ years sail together. Neither had ever been sailing when they met but they knew they wanted something that they could learn and enjoy for a lifetime. Each year they spend countless hours together sailing the gulf of Mexico. Early in our marriage we read the book, His Needs Her Needs, and it suggested finding a shared recreational outlet to continue to build friendship into our relationship. This has been a good piece of advice over our 29 years together. Sailing for some, cooking for others, golf for us.

And golf it will be. And in Scotland, no less. I’ll be reflecting from there the homeland of golf on the sites, the game, the food and anything else that comes along. Check back in a wee bit.

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Marco Island

Day 1 – Christmas Day – We flew early in the day unaware of the weather and security problems happening around the country’s airports.  We arrived in Miami and went about renting a car, ho-hum, everything routine.  Being Christmas Day we were very hungry with little options for food.  Courtney used her new iphone to research, call and map options near by.  But even those turned out to be closed.  Leah found a little pizza place tucked into the corner of a plaza that was delicious.

With our hunger pains relieved we headed towards Alligator Alley and Marco Island.  Less than 10 minutes out we heard a loud thumping.  Flat tire.  Russell unloaded the trunk, put on the little spare and off we went to the nearest exit and the old trusty “Fix a Flat” cure.  The hole in the tire was too big for that easy fix.

So back to the airport for us to get a new rental car.  Oh, and in the parking lot of the gas station Joe pulled out his skateboard only to lose a wheel bearing on his board.  He too was in need of repairs now.  After several u-turns (Cassie says it takes 3 to make it a “real” adventure.  ours is definitely real by now) around the Miami airport looking for the Rental Car Return we turned in our first rental car, unload and wait for Russell to return with another.

The rental counter lines are jammed with 100+ people looking for cars, since we already returned one we were in the short line.  We head up to the 2nd floor and locate another car on aisle D, pack the trunk, pile in and we’re ready to go.  Ooops.  We check the ticket and actually our car is the one parked right next to us, space D-1 not D-3.  Pile out, unload, reload, pile in.  Our reward – this car only has 3.8 miles on it!  Our first new car, even though it’s only for 1 week.  And now we’re off!  Good bye Miami.  Oh, and as a side note, Joe went back down to the counter area on the first floor to get a bottle of water while we loading and unloading the 3rd car.  When he returned he said the elevator was out-of-order, no stairs to be found and the only solution he saw was going down the “up side” of the escalator.  He said, “Man, I didn’t know how hard that was.  I’ve never had to do it before.”  Joe.

Day 2 – 7 – A few clouds, sun, breeze, ocean, sand, books, bikes, games, pool, hot tub, movies, jet skis, eating/cooking, sleeping in, sunsets.  Vacation.   No matter how it started, it was wonderful.

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