Sunday, October 11, 2009

Wondering about the game

In 1929, when I was four years old, carpet golf was as popular as the new talking picture shows and Lucky Strikes sold in flat-fifty cigarette tins.

My mom and dad took me to an indoor golf course, where the idea was to play a series of holes until reaching the most intriguing one, the final hole, which called for a sharp eye and determined swing. It was more interesting to a four-year-old than all the others combined, and that’s where I wanted to start.

This agitated my parents. Once a player popped a ball into the last hole it disappeared into a box. Game over, nickel spent, no refund. How interesting. I wondered what happened to the ball when it vanished, and remained more focused than my parents. While they were distracted with hole number one I managed to steer my ball into the last hole, where I heard it thump into invisibility.

I did not understand the despair of my mom and dad, because I had gone straight for the science of the game, the mystery of the vanishing ball.

The gift of life goes on for everybody until the gift of death arrives. I scarcely thought about it in a personal way until something reminded me of that disappearing golf ball, and I wondered about the next game.

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