We have a joke in my family: there are two annual holidays...Christmas and member/guest. Christmas is self-explanatory. Member/guest is a golf tournament held every August at our local course.
For the last 21 years, my sister and I have played in the ladies' member/guest at Mountain Top Golf Course. We've won twice, the last time so long ago that no one who now plays even remembers. Pat and I are happy that the tournament has blossomed, these days drawing many and excellent players. My sister and I have also blossomed to be better players, but we're older now. Our aging doesn't necessarily mean we're not good, but the challenge of this tournament has tripled, making it harder to win though more delightful if we do. Every year we think, "maybe this is our year." Since 1995, it hasn't been.
Setting aside the stress of possibilities, I've been enjoying August on the golf course, most particularly this week. Course workers have been busy clipping grass and watering greens, setting up fences and new tee signs, trimming overhanging trees and in general making the place crisp and ready for the ladies to do their best over the weekend. Tomorrow is our first day of the two-day match. Tonight, on Member/Guest Eve (as we call it), my sister and I visited a friend and co-member/guest entrant at whose home we had drinks and chatted about the weekend festivities. We also talked about two fellow golfers we lost this summer, women too young to die so soon. The tournament this year is exciting, though a bit melancholy. Twenty-two teams have signed up, less two friends. Every day of life, we realize, is a gift.
I can't write long tonight. It's late, and we have a breakfast date tomorrow at 9, followed by sign-in at the course at noon. There is a Christmas morning quality to this event. We watch the skies and hope for sun (just as on December 25 we hope for snow). When we arrive at Mountain Top, there is the trilling of women, all hopeful that their shots will be long and true. For two decades Pat and I have practiced and practiced (and practiced). Some days have been good. Some days have been great. In the end, though, all that counts is the weekend. Maybe this year will be ours. If not, at least we're still here. So indeed, even if we lose, we realize that every day is a gift, out there near ponds and bunkers and rolling grassy hills.
My sister and I will again look skyward tomorrow, hoping for sun, and that friends gone too soon are watching from wherever they might have gone. We hope that our shots will be long and true, and that next year -- win or lose -- we'll be back to try again.
Sue and Elaine, know that we will miss you.