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Holes to Heaven
The year is 1945; my grandpa, George, is looking in the direction of two mature oak trees, trying to calculate the distance to hole 9 at the Tartan Park Golf Course in Lake Elmo, Minnesota. A strong wind ruffles his white polo as he adjusts his brown, wool newsboy cap. He takes this into consideration as he reaches to his right and tugs a brand new driver out of his worn, black golf bag. He places his feet shoulder length apart and looks into the distance once more.
“Come on already!” his buddy, Frank, b****es.
George takes a well planned swing and sends the ball soaring toward the green. He smiles to himself and turns toward Frank, exclaiming, “That’s how it’s done!”
“What is your secret?” Frank demands, “I don’t think I’m ever going to get a hole in one, I don’t know how you do it!” Frank continues babbling as the two walk back to the clubhouse for a sandwich and an iced tea.
George looks up and Frank’s words immediately fade as George stumbles to a halt.
“What the…” Frank realizes what George is looking at, chuckles, and walks into the club house alone.
George stands fifteen meters from the doors with his eyes fixed on the most beautiful lady he has ever seen. Ten seconds later he slowly approaches Virginia. his hands tremble as he struggles with what he is going to say.
The year is 1947. George and Virginia are standing on the green of hole 18 at the Tartan Park Golf Course. Their game is over but they remain there, unable to get enough of each other. Virginia props herself on her toes, appearing to want a kiss, but as George leans in, Virginia snatches his cap and runs away while placing it on her head. George quickly catches up and tightly wraps his arms around her.
“I love this hat” Virginia flirts.
George spins her around so they are facing each other; he looks deep in her glimmering blue eyes and responds “I love you.”
Slowly, George lowers himself on one knee and reaches into the pocket of his khakis. Virginia throws her hand over her mouth in excitement.
“Will you marry me?” George anxiously asks as he places a brilliant ring on her finger.
“Yes! Yes!” she practically screams before she leans in for a long, passionate kiss.
The year is 1960. George and his children stand under the scorching sun, each clutching a golf club the first hole of the Tartan Park Golf Course. George is excited to teach his children how to golf. He tries to position his oldest, Jeff, in a proper stance but becomes discouraged when six-year old Georgia begins twirling around them and Tim runs over to the sidewalk and starts squishing ants with his club. George curses under his breath in frustration.
The lesson runs smoother at hole 2 as each child takes a decent swing. The kids smile at their accomplishments, and as their proud father glances at them, a beaming grin spreads across his face as well. He is full of pride.
The year is 2006. George and Frank stroll toward hole 12 at the Tartan Park Golf Course exchanging stories of their wives, children, and grandchildren. Once they arrive, Frank sets up his ball and tee- he is going to hit first.
My grandpa looks around and smiles in the crisp, fall air. All of his memories from this golf course swirl through his head: eleven holes in one, diving into the water hazard to collect miss-hit balls, watching Frank fall into a sand bunker, spending days perfecting his put, clearing his head in the serene setting, joking around with buddies, delicious BLT club sandwiches, talking politics in the sauna, meeting his lovely wife, teaching his crazy kids how to play golf, watching his kids grow as golfers and as wonderful, well rounded people. This is his favorite place in the world.
Frank is ready; he steps toward the tee, briefly situates himself and swings. The second the club strikes the ball, my grandpa collapses. He is experiencing a heart attack and dies within seconds. Frank frantically calls for help as his ball glides into hole #12- his first hole in one.