Thursday, August 11, 2022

The Score in the Past

My brain is a funny thing. Out of nowhere can come the need to solve a mystery from the past. Unlike popular mystery movies, there's no real intriguing mystery, but rather something simple such as, "where did I place that pen?" or "where did I play golf that had the college dorm right off the course?" When one of these mysteries hits, the need to solve it is instantaneous.

I went to Google Maps to do a blanket search of golf courses and I looked at the names hoping to see a name that rekindled the place. No luck. I then went to my memory drawer where I have most every scorecard from every round of golf I've ever played. I wish my need to know when I want to know wasn't so great because the flood of memories was a tidal wave.

The scorecard on top was from May 27, 2000. It is one of my favorite days I've ever had as it was the day before the Indy 500, and a note on the scorecard shows what my dad almost achieved. He was on his cell phone as we approached a par 3, he put the phone down, and almost had a hole in one without even seeing the end result because he went back to the phone. Truly, it hit the pin and sat on the lip of the hole, and he didn't even know. It was fun to watch, and the Indy 500 was the next day! However, this wasn't the course I was searching for.

A couple scorecards below and I saw the name. It was the name of a former coworker who died five years ago. I noticed his handwriting on some of the scores and I stared at it, reminiscing about the round we had in Texas. The note on hole 17 says we ended due to darkness and like a scene from a movie I remember us searching for our golf balls in the last bit of light as an early fog and mist rolled in. Memories like this one are bittersweet because I didn't have many more with him after this.

I was now on the memory lane express, and I hit a series of course names I didn't instantly recognize. These were from small towns in Missouri that I played at while passing through, either headed to or headed from presentations. This made me miss the road and presenting to people and helping anyone that wanted to listen. Actually, I missed this a lot, and I broke down in tears. Why did having to find one golf course mean so much? And why did I have to stumble upon so many memories trying to find the answer?

Google Maps was consulted again because I didn't know what type of landmines awaited me in the scorecard pile, and I looked up college courses and I found it; it was just across the river in Edwardsville. I looked back at my scorecard pile and almost had the inclination to throw them away, but how could I do that? I keep many seemingly irrelevant tokens, trinkets, and scorecards, but even if I throw them away, I'll still know they existed, and the memories tied to them. Seeing the items, or scores on holes, makes the memory current. It truly feels as if it were today, and it's overwhelming to experience, but it would be doubly bad to try and remember and be unable to.

As I was putting the scorecards away, one fell out. It was from the Boulder City golf course in Nevada. It was from October 2003 and although it just had my score, I played with a local that day. He was retired, and we talked the whole round. This was, and is, extremely uncommon for me as I try to avoid interactions on the golf course, but that day was special. Seeing that card reminded me of how much impact a random person can have in a person's life. We didn't create world peace or solve any of life's mysteries, but that day, under the desert sun, I felt normal. I wasn't diagnosed yet, that would come in two months, but I wasn't quite the same as everyone else. However, on that round, I was. I wonder what happened to him. He was maybe 65 at the time and that was 19 years ago. Another mystery. This one unsolvable, but the motivation to be nice and have an impact remains... dang, I wish I would've had his name on the card. 

The cards went back into the drawer. They'll see the light of day again, maybe when I'm trying to remember what course I played at in Effingham, or the round I played with another friend who is no longer with us. Everyone has ways to remember people or places, and for me one way is in a stack of scorecards. The neat thing for me is, even though I try to avoid interactions, all the cards that mean something to me included someone else. 

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