The shot that keeps you coming back

Golf is an addictive game, so i’m told, because on any given day even an average golfer can have a fantastic game, or just an amazing moment.  It’s called “the shot that keeps you coming back”.

I spent three hours in The Park this morning.   It may seem from my commentary to date that i’m just out here to make fun of them.  Well, ok.  There’s a little of that. With this much material?  How could i resist?  There’s been guilt, though.  I wasn’t sure whether my love for my family would come through.  Just yesterday i wondered if i’d ever find something uplifting to write about!

This morning?  I got it.  Double barrel blast of magic.  Almost had to stop for insulin on the drive home… it was that sweet.

My sister who also ‘got out’, T, lives about 1000 miles away.  She was unable to come home for Christmas, but called a couple weeks ago to tell me that she and her partner would be coming home this weekend – and asked if i could help with logistics for the surprise.

We had arranged to have T and her partner get to a restaurant for breakfast this morning, then i’d show up with Mom.  We also invited the rest of the clan to make it more fun – with just a teeny-tiny bit of trepidation that it would turn into a drama-filled, trash-talking, self-absorption marathon.

Walking into the restaurant, i could see the big table with T and her partner, and my brother, his wife and their 5 year old waiting.  Mom is about 4′ tall, and she couldn’t see the family over the partition – best i could tell, was still clueless that this was more than me taking her to breakfast. 

I told the hostess that we needed a table for 2.  As she walked us into the restaurant, she walked us toward the big table.  Walking behind Mom, i slowed down and just said “maybe we can sit with these people?”

Mom turned to look, saw T and literally fell backwards into my arms – damn good thing i was there!  It took her a minute to get herself composed – T and i were exchanging a look that said “holy fuck!  maybe we shouldn’t have surprised a 79 year old woman with heart trouble!”

Mom recovered and her first words were “What the hell are you doing here?” Really.  It’s part of her charm…

Shortly after we sat down, my oldest sister, S, her daughter DQ, along with DQ’s husband and daughter, DQ, Jr and their baby arrived – so it was the entire pack, except for S’s current husband and my children. 

Once the restaurant staff realized that we didn’t need to call the emergency squad, we settled down for breakfast!   Everyone yapping, catching up, telling stories – how a family gathering should be.  I talked with my brother about his newest guitar, my sister-in-law about her fundraising for the new school playground, and my sister’s partner about her upcoming marathon. 

At the other end of the table, Mom was beaming from the near heart attack surprise and feeling deeply loved.  It was the most positive thing i’ve experienced with this clan in years

Afterwards, we went to Mom’s house – which is cluttered, dark, and generally inhospitable.  But it was much less cluttered – several chairs were visible that had been buried for years!  DQ and DQ, Jr. had spent time last week helping Mom clean.  There were places on her dining room table that were visible!  There were places for us to sit!   My brother had brought tools, and spent some time working bugs out of Mom’s TV/DVD.  We discussed plans for continuing to work on the house… everyone pulling together.

There was still a nicotine fog once everyone lit up, and i had to take a shower when i got home to get the smoke smell out of my hair and pores… but it didn’t bother me at the time. 

This may not seem like much to those of you from more typical familes, but it blasted a dark cloud from my soul.  When i got home, my face hurt from smiling. 

In my heart, i know i will spend much time and energy cleaning up the consequences of “one bad damn decision after another” for many years to come.  I promised this to my Dad – who referred to me as “Number One Son” even though i’m the youngest of four.  And a girl…

But in my heart, i also know this – that it’s in me.  This is part of my DNA.  If faced with a situation where a member of this family is threatened?  I’ll be right there.  Providing legal, financial, medical or technical support – or with my back to the wall and a broken beer bottle in my hand, ready to rumble.

For three hours this morning, i learned what it feels like to hit a hole in one on a golf course.   I think i’ll keep playing…

7 thoughts on “The shot that keeps you coming back

  1. Yay! Great story! 🙂

    Last time my whole family got together (circa 1985) it was such a disaster that we vowed never to do it again. Works better when we see each other in smaller, more compatible sibling segments.

  2. I’m with azahar: great story!

    Your description of your mother’s place reminds me very much of what my mother’s place looked like the last time I was back in Ohio. To paraphrase one of my favorite animated characters, it looked like a flea market had thrown-up everywhere.

  3. nm – scary, but true. i was in an odd situation once where i was trying to decide if i could break a ketchup bottle to use as a weapon. deciding the glass was too thick to break on the edge of the table, i decided to use it as a club instead. fortunately, i didn’t have to do either… but my opponent might have laughed himself silly had i come at him with a broken Heinz bottle, dripping ketchup on the floor…

    az – in general, i’m resigned to keeping the group smaller. last summer there was a minor rift between my brother and my sister, T, who got out… i was a bit worried that my brother wouldn’t show up yesterday because of it. Bygones! They all let it go!

    Mark – “flea market had thrown-up”? Brilliant!!! Where is that from! It’s been a battle for decades. We’ll all pitch in, clean and organize the house, then within weeks it’s back to the clutter. But she wants to live at home, so we’re going to help her do that. My answer was a blow torch, but no one will let me do that…

  4. It’s from an Aqua Teen Hunger Force episode entitled “Escape from Leprechaupolis”. Individual episodes can be found on Adult Swim ( They change each week, so it might take awhile for you to find this particular episode. You can find clips from all of the episodes by entering aqua teen hunger force in the search bar. Personally, I think Dave Willis & Matt Maiellaro, the creators, are brilliant. Their material keeps me laughing.

  5. Well, the great thing about living about 4,000 miles away and not visiting often is that the couple of times I have ‘gone back’ everyone has been at their best behaviour. Well, except for my father, who remained a stubborn old fart until the bitter (and I mean BITTER) end, refusing to have our mother *in the same house as him* (both me and my dad were staying at my sister’s house) so we had to visit Mom separately. This was in October 1999.

    Four weeks after I got home Dad was admitted to hospital, two weeks later he was dead. It was also the last time I saw my mother, who died in 2006. For the record, Mom was quite fine about us all getting together, including Dad who she hadn’t seen for over 20 years. I think it’s a shame that didn’t happen, but oh well…

    “it looked like a flea market had thrown-up everywhere” is a wonderful description, Mark!

  6. Pingback: A day in The Park « Trailer Park Refugee

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