The Greatest Golf Column Ever Written by Lewis Grizzard

(Blogger’s Note: The great Lewis Grizzard always has been, always will be, my favorite writer. Nobody tops Grizzard, long-time sports editor and columnist for the Atlanta-Journal Constitution. And this column, published Monday, Nov. 20, 1989, is my favorite all-time column. I’m re-printing it, word-for-word. It’s his work. Not mine. And I dedicate it to my best buddy and golfing pal and partner, Brady Cornish, a.k.a., “The Fonz,” when we’re on the links. He and I share many good times, and often quote Grizzard’s description of the tee shot so memorably written in this column. Thanks, Lewis, for all the reading joy you’ve given me over the years. You’re still the best.)

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Golfing Foursome

From left: Cody Smith, Danny Smith, me, Brady Cornish

By Lewis Grizzard

St. Simons Island, GA – I made a hole-in-one.

Honest, I did. This isn’t some sort of make-believe column like I often write. For instance, I recently wrote a make-believe column about Jim Bakker meeting his new cellmate, Mad Dog.

But this isn’t anything like that.

I mean that I hit the golf ball on a par 3 and it went in the hole for a “1.”

Do you know the thrill of writing a “1” on a golf scorecard next to your name?

lewis grizzard

Lewis Grizzard

I’ve had my thrills in sports before. Playing for dear old Newnan High School back in ’63, I hit a jump shot at the buzzer to defeat the top-seeded team in the regional tournament.

That got my name and picture in the paper. (I wanted a kiss from a certain red-headed cheerleader, but she remarked how she detested kissing anybody covered in sweat.)

I also pitched a no-hitter in Pony League, finished second in a tennis tournament, hit a hard-way six on a crap table in Vegas, made back-to-back net eagles playing with Greg Norman in a pro-am tournament in Hilton Head and once had dinner with the girl who used to say, “Take it off. Take it all off,” in the old shaving cream commercial.

(I realize having dinner with a girl who made a shaving cream commercial has nothing to do with sports, but she made the commercial with Joe Namath, so there.)

But none of that compares with my hole-in-one.

Get the picture:

I’m on the par- three 12th hole at the lovely Island Club here in coastal Georgia. I admit No. 12 isn’t that long a hole, but I didn’t design the course, so it’s not my fault.

The hole is 128 yards over a small pond.

It was Saturday morning, November 4. I was playing in a threesome, comprised of myself, Tim Jarvis and Mike Matthews, two players of lesser talent with whom I often hang out.

It was a lovely morning, having warmed to the low 70s as I approached the tee. I was wearing an orange golf shirt, pair of Duckhead khaki slacks and my black and white golf shoes, the ones my dogs have not chewed up yet.

I was first on the tee.

“What are you going to hit?” asked Matthews.

“None of your business,” I said.

We were playing for a lot of money.

O.K., so we weren’t playing for a lot of money, but you never tell your opponent what club you’re hitting.

“Tell us,” said Jarvis, “or we’ll tell everybody how you move the ball in the rough when nobody’s looking.”

“Nine-iron,” I said.

The green sloped to the right. I said to myself, “Keep the ball to the left of the hole.”

(Actually I said, “Please, God, let me get this thing over the water.”)

I hit a high, arching shot. The ball cut through the still morning air, a white missile against the azure sky. (That’s the way Dan Jenkins or Herbert Warren Wind would have described it.”

The ball hit eight feet left of the pin. It hopped once. It hopped again. It was rolling directly toward the hole.

An eternity passed.

It has a chance to go in, I thought. But that’s not going to happen, of course, because I’m terribly unlucky and I’ve done some lousy things in my life and I don’t deserve it to go into the hole.

It went into the hole.

A “1.”

It was a joyous moment when my first hole-in-one fell snugly into the hole. But the best moment came at the next tee, the par four, 13th.

For those non-golfers, the person with the lowest score on the previous hole gets to hit first on the next hole.

I strode to the tee with my driver, teed up my ball and then said to my opponents, “I think I’m up, but did anybody have a zero?”

Jarvis and Matthews were good friends. I shall miss them.

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Who is John Boozman? Veterans Need to Know.

FACT: In the United States, a veteran commits suicide every 80 minutes.

U.S. Sen. Fay Boozman votes against veterans.

Arkansas Sen. John Boozman

FACT: Today, one in four veterans is unemployed.

FACT: The total number of employable, but unemployed veterans now stands in excess of 700,000.

FACT: On Wednesday, Senate Republicans blocked the vote on the Veterans Jobs Corps bill that would have infused $1 billion over the next five years to help veterans find jobs in their communities.

FACT: Arkansas Republican Senator John Boozman was one of the leading authors of the Veterans bill.

FACT: Boozman serves on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.

FACT: Yesterday, Boozman voted against allowing that bill to come to a vote on the Senate floor. He did so along with three other Republican senators who authored the bill.

***

The question is why.

The answer is clear.

It’s called partisan politics and the Romney Effect.

senators who voted against veterans

These four Republican senators authored the Veterans Jobs Corps bill, yet voted against allowing it to come to a vote.

There were no downsides to the Veterans Jobs Corps bill. As a primary author of the legislation, Boozman and others knew that. So why in the world would they vote against a bill that would put veterans, whose 10.2 percent unemployment rate stands well above that of the general civilian population?

This generally bi-partisan bill was a cornerstone of President Obama’s 2012 budget and a highlight of his 2012 State of the Union  Address.

At this late stage in the game with Republican’s likelihood of capturing the White House diminishing daily, the GOP will have nothing to do with anything that might be deemed a presidential success.

It’s like sending our veterans to war all over again.

Veterans Jobs Corps billAnd there is no “Plan B.” This measure won’t come up again for at least another year.

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All potential good aside, Boozman joins dozens of other Republican candidates this week doing everything they can to be anything but Republicans.

The Romney Effect has Republican candidates scrambling to hide from their identity, at least for the next several weeks.

Republican candidates in key swing states such as Wisconsin, Massachussetts, Ohio, Virgina and Nevada now claim no association with Romney after he willingly acknowledged his dismissal of 47 percent of the American population.

“I think there is a broad and growing feeling now that this thing is slipping out of Romney’s hands.” ~ conservative columnist Peggy Noonan

***

That’s not the way I view the world. As someone who grew up in tough circumstances, I know that being on public assistance is not a spot anybody wants to be in.” ~ Massachussetts Sen. Scott Brown, who now trails his Democratic opponent Elizabeth Warren.

***

“I just don’t view the world the way he (Romney) does.” ~ Nevada Sen. Dean Heller.

Who is Sen. John Boozman? All veterans should remember.

He’s the politician who solicited your vote, then turned his back on you.

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Becoming My Father’s Son

duck hunting on the Mississippi flyway

Of all the memories of my dad, this one is perhaps the most vivid. This photo, taken some time around 1973, shows my dad at his finest, completely in control, at peace, living precisely in the moment in a duckblind on the St. Francis River.

At the end of an emotional week, last night I quietly cried myself to sleep.

It’s not the most masculine thing to acknowledge, but I quit wearing the mask of the facade some time ago.

Last week, life wasn’t particularly wonderful.

Work was a challenge, the writer in me drew a daily blank, it was the first harvest

PS Olt and Yazoo duck calls

The collection of duck calls my dad amassed over his 71 years.

season my dad never saw, and so I mostly went into my quiet place piling up all the emotional junk until it finally had to come out.

And as they have many times over the last eight months, my thoughts turned to my dad who died last January. The memories and mental images came rushing back and I dismissed the week’s frustration in exchange for the memories.

Oh, daddy, if we could just sit down and talk today.

It’s not so much that we had the perfect father-son relationship. Here on earth, I think we may have misunderstood one another as much as two men could. Dad wasn’t a visionary. He was never compelled to achievement or notoriety. The moment in which he lived suited him just fine. And I thought he had it all wrong. Why didn’t he strive for “more,” I often wondered.

And so now, months after he’s gone, I suddenly get it in a retrospective sort of way, and I’m learning by no particular choosing of my own, the value of becoming my father’s son.

I never made a concerted effort to be like my dad. Never particularly wanted to.

The characteristic I most remember about him is contentment. Doing whatever it was he was doing in the moment, he was perfectly content. Driving a tractor, hunting ducks, drinking beer, loafing with his buddies, he was content, and lived perfectly in the moment.

In the 46 years I knew him, I had no particular respect or admiration for his ability to live moment by moment, until now. And now, he’s gone.

Me? I had much bigger plans. The present moments mattered much less than the future ones, because the time in between would be an investment spent working, performing, planning, reaching for a vision that would ultimately be something. I didn’t really know what, but it would be something. That was for sure.

It’s funny how the tide has turned.

In all the time I spent performing … showing him who knew best, it’s a funny thing now who’s showing who what.

In the years of my performance, I checked off certain achievements awaiting his praise. I suppose I thought he’d walk in the door one day and say, “You were right son. You knew better than me.” In retrospect, it’s easy to see the obnoxiousness of it all.

In the process, I went broke trying to get rich. As I tried to manipulate my professional and personal circumstances, and keep it all together, things fell disastrously apart. I learned scrambled eggs don’t easily go back together, and in the process, I became my father’s son.

At this moment, I look down at the keyboard and I see my daddy’s hands. A quick glance in the mirror will show me his face. Maybe I’ll have a laugh later today, and I’ll surely hear his voice.

My achievements didn’t impress him. All he wanted was my time, shared moments and a good laugh or two.

duck call collections

This was his favorite duck call – a P.S. Olt made in Pekin, Illinois.

Fortunately, we did have some special moments on which I can now reflect.

From the time I was 5 years old, I was by my dad’s side in a duckblind on the St.  Francis River. There was never a place I saw my dad happier, more peaceful and more in control than in the duckblind. In the duckblind, daddy was the boss.

There’s an image I have of dad in the duckblind. It’s one of the fortunate images my mind has retained over the years. His face peering out the window, looking eastward, he’d spot the ducks and begin the long call. He could call ducks for hours.

If you’ve never duck hunted … there are good duck callers and bad duck callers. Daddy was good. Very good.

He’d call them in from a mile away, lure them into circling our pond, and as the ducks drew closer his style would change. He’d begin the chatter, the calling would be more strategic. He’d twist his neck north and south, knowing intuitively what the ducks were doing even when they were out of sight. His steely blue eyes actually twinkled as we’d hear them come around from the north side, the wind would whistle over their spread wings and he’d raise his hand in the signal we all knew was his call for complete silence.

“Let things happen naturally now. We’ve gottem’ boys,” he said, without saying a word.

I haven’t duck hunted in 25 years. As much as I enjoyed those times years ago, they became less important because I thought they were moments that really didn’t matter. Now, I know how much they did.

I’m going to hunt again. I’m going to capture some of those moments again. Daddy knew best. It was the moments that really matter.

I know that now.

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I Don’t Always Read Blogs, But When I Do…

Dos aquis man

“I don’t always read blogs, but when I do, I prefer the blogroll at http://www.stevenwwatkins.com” ~ Dos Aquis Man

The best bloggers I’ve come across know The Great Blogging Truth.

They know it takes more than good writing; and more than a good tech-savvy knowledge to get noticed.

The best bloggers know getting noticed requires a delicate blend of art and science. Good writing’s not enough. Techno-wisdom’s not enough. It requires a good bit of both.

I’ve always been a decent writer. But I’ve never been tech-savvy. Fortunately, WordPress is user-friendly enough, that over time, I’ve learned how to do things that better balance the blogging requirement of art and science.

Until recently, I thought a blog was the place where I went mudding in my 4-wheel drive.

Until recently, I thought a dashboard was the thing that collected dust in my truck.

Until recently, I thought a widget was one of those things the government made at $3,000 a pop.

And so it was just recently, I learned how to create a blogroll. It’s something I’ve wanted to add to my page from the beginning. There are so many great blogs out there, but a few always make me stop and take notice. The blogs on my blogroll are the ones that I’ll read beginning to end 100 percent of the time.

Thanks to these bloggers, and their good work for giving me pleasure, inspiration and knowledge I never had before – in no particular order:

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Bucket List Publications – A great site by Lesley Carter who challenges us to embracelesley carter bucket list adventure with no regrets. Periodically, she also has great advice about how to get better noticed in the blogging world. www.lesleycarter.wordpress.com

Catherine, Caffeinated – Catherine is an indie author with some of the best advice I’ve found to help weave your way through the world of self-publishing. Check out this post for her latest work affordably priced at $2.99. www.catherineryanhoward.com

Holly Michael’s Writing Straight – I got to know Holly after she nominated me for a undserved award, and immediately took notice of her work. She’s a published author, missionary, philanthropist and writes with a transparent style I really enjoy. Since our virtual introduction, Holly and I have even considered collaborating on some projects. www.writingstraight.com

Las Palmas Ecuador – Admittedly self-serving. I write periodically for this business blog. It’s aPuerto Cayo Ecuador developing beachside expatriate community in Puerto Cayo, Ecuador. Dana and I are now building a home near this community. Working with this blog is one of the ways we live out our own personal adventures. Las Palmas has a great and informative website here. www.laspalmasecuador.wordpress.com

Let’s Go Digital – A blogsite by David Gaughran with terrific advice on self-publishing. I first became aware of David’s work through a book review post from Cristian Mihai. After reading the review, I immediately bought the book and it’s quite good. www.davidgaughran.wordpress.com

Let’s Overthink This – The title itself captured me from day one. I’m guilty. A diverse blog that challenges us to know when to go with our gut, or think things through. www.letsoverthinkthis.com

Los Rodriguez Life – Freshly pressed on a number of occasions, Javier and Leslie have a special talent for drawing attention to the things they do every day. Great photography, and their blog is enhanced with bi-lingual text, both English and Spanish. Their blog makes me feel like a voyeur. www.losrodriguezlife.com

Moment Matters – A great site encouraging us to pause and take in life’s simplest, and most pleasurable moments. Life doesn’t necessarily have to be that complicated. www.momentmatters.wordpress.com

blogsite of dana watkins

My Window 2 The World – Yes, this is my wife’s blogsite. Dana’s always had a special flair for photography. The photos on this site that chronicle her 2005 mission trip through Greece and Morocco show her real talent. www.mywindow2theworld.wordpress.com

Project 40

Project 40 – Suave, cool, sophisticated and cosmopolitan. I really like this guy. www.project-40.com

Hilary Billings

The Nomad Grad – Hilary Billings travels the world as a professional adventurer. She’s currently in Australia. Hilary uses her blog how to demonstrate some creative ways to travel and explore on a shoestring budget. If I could go back in time, I’d model many of the thing’s she’s now doing. www.nomadgrad.com

Truth and Cake – This site is hosted by an American, now living in Canada who’s married to a guy from South Africa. It’s the cleanest, classiest blog I’ve come across. Well designed, good writing, always a pleasure to read. www.truthandcake.com

Vocus Blog – These guys may now be the world’s leaders in social media marketing. They’re very good. How do I know? Recently, I was scouring the internet for advice on how to create an electronic newsletter for a client. I came across their site, made a few clicks, and within 30 minutes, they called me. Yesterday, I did an online-demo with a Vocus sales rep. They’re expensive, but very good. www.vocus.com

Latitude One – Again, self-serving. This is where I strictly focus on the adventures Dana and I enjoy in Puerto Cayo, Ecuador. www.latitudeone.wordpress.com

Thanks to all the author-entrepreneurs of these sites who give me pleasure, encouragement and the inspiration to be more like them.

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The New Blog at Las Palmas

A new look for the blog at the Las Palmas Community in Puerto Cayo, Ecuador, thanks to developers Gary & April Scarborough.

Las Palmas Ecuador

Las Palmas EcuadorHola everyone!

Welcome to the blog for Las Palmas – your Paradise on the South Pacific in Puerto Cayo, Ecuador!!!

We have a new look, big plans and a genuine excitementfor all the things ahead.

Just a few of the all-new things you notice in the future are:

  • Feature stories on your neighbors and friends who are making Las Palmas their home.
  • A regularly-published electronic newsletter featuring the latest at Las Palmas.
  • News and current events from Ecuador and the Manabi Province.
  • A peak into the lifestyle of a few of our expatriate neighbors up and down the Ecuadorian coast.
  • And of course, visual documentaries of the construction progress at Las Palmas and the surrounding neighborhood.

Please share the new site with your friends, on your social media posts and to your peers who are looking for an adventure, and if you have additional information or suggestions about thing’s…

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