Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A Tradition Unlike Any Other

I believe I was around the age of 4 years old when I was first exposed to golf. This initial exposure more than likely took the form of my mother complaining about my dad's obsession and my grandmother (Nani Smith) trying to convince her to take up the game. Nani had an extra set of ladies clubs that she begged my mom to try. I remember them sitting in her garage on the right hand side - when they actually had extra room for storage in there. They were in a baby blue bag. I think when Nani died they were probably buried somewhere beneath mounds and mounds of Christmas and Halloween decorations and probably hadn't been used in 20 years. There was a brief time when my mom finally took custody of those clubs and kept them in our garage for awhile. But, she never used them. In her own words, she had too many chores to do!

As you all know, I never play sports. Honestly, I haven't played any kind of sport since I was 15, and I am a happier person for that reason. So, it should come as no surprise to you that I have never so much as swung a golf club or walked on a golf course outside of the Kappa Klassic and Fourth of July fireworks at Oak Tree. But, sometime over the years I did develop a love for watching, NOT playing, golf. I am a very devoted spectator. And, I owe this devotion in no small part to my Nani.

You see, my Nani loved two things in her life (you know, other than the important stuff): Golf and Wheel of Fortune. There was not a Sunday that was spent over at Nani and Papa's that did not involve iced tea, fried chicken, some talk about Arnold Palmer, Freddie Couples, and Jack Nicklaus (my dad's hero), with a tournament on in the background. I can't tell you how many times the kids would have to be excused to the other room to watch the Disney channel so that we wouldn't create interruptions in the game room. This is usually when we would start causing trouble with a game of Jenga or a puzzle...but that story is for another time...

In recent years I have been preoccupied on most Sundays with other events, but I always make time for golf on THIS weekend.

As most of you know, tomorrow marks the first day of the Masters. Right now I am giddy with anticipation. I love the tradition, the suspense, my lover Serge (please don't be a little biyatch this weekend), watching Tiger (which will clearly be different this year), and the best part, Sunday afternoon. BUT, most of all I love the memory of Nani in her chair, Papa in his, the back doors open, the Oklahoma breeze blowing through the kitchen, sipping iced tea and napping to polite claps. Those times when nothing mattered in the world except those itchy tights your mom made you wear to church that morning and your annoying little brother punching you in the arm because he was "practicing" tae kwon do (no you weren't Curtis, you were just being rude)...and when you knew you could go to Nani and Papa to ask for anything when your parents told you no - thank you Papa, I WILL have another gum ball! That is my own personal Masters tradition. That is why I love this weekend so much. And that is why, on Sunday, I will be able to spend just a few hours reliving those times, and will, for a moment, not have a care in the world. I hope all of you are just as excited as I am :)

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