Hole-in-One . . . Not!

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Pete lines up his tee shot on the 172-yard, Par 3 hole.  He is playing for fun at Lake Hills Golf Club, and the 14th hole offers an opportunity to add a bit more practice to his round of golf.

Since the course is nearly empty, Pete decides to hit a dozen tee shots at the green.  He has brought along his three young sons (Glenn, James, and Gene) to shag balls and allow their mother a respite back home.  She will definitely appreciate a break from the high-energy boys.

As Pete hits each tee shot, his sons’ eyes follow each golf ball.  Each boy calls out different shots, and these will be his to locate in a few minutes.  After all, their father didn’t bring them out to the golf course just to fool around.

While most of the shots miss the green, a few have managed to find the putting surface.  The cup is somewhat hidden by a slight rise at the front of the green.

Eventually, Pete is finished with his extra practice.  He turns the boys loose to locate the wayward shots, with orders to bring back all of the golf balls not on the green.

The three brothers scamper down the short fairway to begin searching and locating the eight balls which never found their intended target.  The experience feels almost like an Easter egg hunt, except the June day offers a mild and sunny, early summer afternoon.

As the boys make their way back to the green, each has located his assigned golf balls.  Pete calls out to the boys, “There appears to be a missing ball.  Did anyone miss one of my bad shots?”

The brothers shake their heads in affirmation that all of the balls have been recovered.  Three golf balls lie on or close to the putting surface.  Gene wonders out loud, “Where is the fourth ball?”

James casually walks over to the cup and takes a peek.  He shouts out, “The ball is in the hole.”

Glenn jumps up and down with excitement, “Hey Dad, you made a hole-in-one!”

The three brothers are charged up and want to tell others about their father’s amazing shot.  He defuses their enthusiasm when he humbly explains, “The shot cannot count as an official hole-in-one.  Remember, I hit a dozen tee shots.”

While Pete’s three sons hold on to this special moment in secrecy, they will never forget when their father hit his “once-in-a-lifetime” shot.  Amazing!

 

Humbling Conversation

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The other day, grandpa had a conversation with his very confident (and all knowing) six-year old grandson.  Let’s drop in on the conversation for a moment or two.

Grandpa states, “Does your television wake up each morning at 6:00 with a color bar display on the screen?”

His grandson replies, “Nope.  Remember Grandpa, I am not as old as you.  Besides, didn’t you only watch shows on black and white TVs?”

Grandpa proudly recalls the American space program and tells his young protégé, “I was there in 1969 watching Neil Armstrong walk on the moon.”

His eager grandson answers back, “I really don’t think you were on the moon with Neil Armstrong because Buzz Aldrin was there instead.  You know, landing on the moon isn’t such a big deal.  I plan to visit Mars.”

Grandpa pauses for a moment, thinking to himself . . . This young fella has an answer for everything!

Grandpa wanders over to his desk and pulls out a miniature plastic card.  He holds up the 3.5-inch floppy disk and tells his grandson, “We used to save our computer data on disks such as this.  Pretty amazing, don’t you think?”

His grandson eagerly says, “Wow Grandpa!  Now we store information on a cloud.”

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His grandson pipes up and asks, “Grandpa, do you have anything else you want to share with me before I go?”

“Why sure!”  Grandpa says with a grin.  “I remember when the Ford Mustang came out in 1964.  It was the hottest and fastest ride.”

“Sounds amazing, but I am looking forward to owning and driving a Corvette when I am a whole lot older.  It leaves the Mustang in the dust.”  A smiling grandson adds with a cute, little smile (with two missing front teeth).

Grandpa scratches his head, and then he laments with a heavy heart, “I’ve been a Cleveland Browns football fan for all of my life.  You should have seen them play back in the 60s.”

His football prognosticator grandson quickly answers back, “Yup, and you’re still waiting for them to play in their first Super Bowl.  Go Steelers!”

“I have an old bicycle sitting in the garage.  Perhaps we can go for a bike ride this weekend.”  Grandpa sighs (he is nearly exhausted).

“Why sure Grandpa.  But, do you think your old three-speed bike can keep up with my brand new 15-speed?”  The first-grader replies, with a wink.

Later in the day, Grandpa is sitting in his reliable, comfortable rocking chair in the living room.  He ponders a thought . . . I don’t know what I am going to do when my grandson becomes a fifth grader.  I’ll never be as smart as a fifth grader!

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Highway Miscue . . . The Rest of the Story

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Here is the “Rest of the Story” with a few added spins and twists in this tale.  In case you missed the beginning, here is a link to Highway Miscue.

As the story ended, we were reading . . .

My road-weary eyes spotted a tow truck along the interstate highway, and then I could see another vehicle buried in the median’s deep snow.  Beginning to brake and slow down my speed, my curiosity was taking over.

The tow truck driver was digging around the car in an effort to create a clear path to pull it out to safety.  You ask, where was the driver of the buried car?

Standing off to the side and watching (more like supervising) was a highway patrol trooper.  His marooned patrol car was buried in the deep snow, unable to move out and needing a tow.  The look on the trooper’s face was one never to forget . . . not too happy and certainly feeling embarrassed!

As I drove the final couple of miles to Missoula, my mind was filled with all of the stories and teasing the trooper would likely have to endure about his thrilling drive along Interstate 90.

But wait . . .

As American radio commentator Paul Harvey used to say, here is the rest of the story!

Let’s back up the story just a bit.  Here is a significant, missing piece left out before I witnessed the highway patrol trooper stuck in the snow.

Upon reaching Interstate 90, less than an hour of driving time remained before reaching my final destination of Missoula.  The highway from Lincoln had been remarkably clear of snow so I was driving at about the speed limit.  I was feeling confident about the rest of the trip, and looking forward to reaching my destination safely.

A word of warning should have been lighting up inside of my brain.  Overconfidence when driving in the wintertime is never a sound approach to traveling on snow-covered or icy roads.  A surprise can lurk ahead on the road, hidden from view just over the next hill or around the approaching curve.  A driver must stay alert!

Driving up a hill, the highway surface began to gather more snow.  Obviously, the snowplow was missing in action on this stretch of road.

Traffic slowed and became a bit more crowded as I prepared to pass a slow-moving tractor-trailer truck, which was hauling a heavy load.  Even with my reduced speed, I felt comfortable in passing the lumbering truck despite the snow-covered road surface.

Oh, I didn’t mention the type of car I was driving . . . an older model Ford Crown Victoria with rear-wheel drive.  I usually drove a front-wheel car, but not this time around.  Front-wheel drive vehicles handle much better on winter road conditions than rear-wheel ones.

As I began to pass the truck, I carefully steered the car into the left lane.  My speed was comfortably under the speed limit.  Suddenly, the rear of the car began to move to the left.  I was losing control of the car at a critical moment.  The car continued to spin around until it ended up in the median filled with fresh snow.

Guess who was stuck in the snow now?

I have reflected back on this scenario more than a few times over the years.  God was certainly with me for this much too thrilling ride.  Perhaps one of His angels intervened to keep me safe from harm.

First, the large truck narrowly missed my car as I spun out of control.  Fortunately, the truck stayed in its lane, and my car managed to keep moving to the left towards the snow-filled median.

Secondly, my car completed its 360-degree spin and ended up in the median without a scratch and pointed in the proper direction.

Last of all, a Good Samaritan pulled over near the median.  He jumped out of his pick-up truck, hooked up a tow rope to my car, and pulled me out of the snow.

Each aspect of this near-miss accident could have turned into a tragedy with far different conclusions.  I sit here today, and I always feel so grateful for God’s help.

As this very true story concludes, I sincerely hope none of you, the readers, will ever experience something like this in your highway travels.  I am an experienced winter driver, but it only takes one time to give you a wake-up call.

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I am reminded of Scripture from Psalm 91:1-4:

“You who live in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty, will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust.’  For He will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from deadly pestilence; He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you fill find refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and buckler.”

Highway Miscue

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Enjoy a true story!

I was driving along some of Montana’s highways years ago, westbound for Missoula.  The winter trip had been a challenging one with snow-covered roads along the way, especially as I traversed the mountains between Great Falls and Seeley Lake.

Highway 200 became my route after leaving Great Falls.  Rogers Pass loomed ahead, and the road was covered with two or three inches of snow.  I was wondering where the snowplow might be as I continued on my way.

Following the tire tracks in front of me helped keep my car going straight and safe in its direction.  My driving speed was further slowed by a large tractor-trailer truck looming up ahead.  I was thinking to myself, “Let’s just keep all of us moving along slow and safe.”

Passing an historical marker set back off of the road didn’t help my thoughts to warm-up much.  The sign informed any and all about the Arctic temperature recorded in 1954 in the pass when the thermometer crash dived to -70F.  The record temperature remains the lowest ever recorded in the United States, outside of Alaska.

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After reaching Lincoln, the road conditions improved dramatically.  The snowplow had been busy in making the road surface much safer here.  Soon I would reach Interstate 90 and be heading into the Missoula area.

As I journeyed along the freeway, road conditions were becoming worse by the minute.  More snow-covered patches caused me to slow down and use more caution.

Finally, I was just a few miles away from my final destination.  The roadway was free of snow and just wet in places.  In the distance, I could see a set of flashing lights along the left shoulder of the road.

My road-weary eyes spotted a tow truck along the interstate highway, and then I could see another vehicle buried in the median’s deep snow.  Beginning to brake and slow down my speed, my curiosity was taking over.

The tow truck driver was digging around the car in an effort to create a clear path to pull it out to safety.  You ask, where was the driver of the buried car?

Standing off to the side and watching (more like supervising) was a highway patrol trooper.  His marooned patrol car was buried in the deep snow, unable to move out and needing a tow.  The look on the trooper’s face was one never to forget . . . not too happy and certainly feeling embarrassed!

As I drove the final couple of miles to Missoula, my mind was filled with all of the stories and teasing the trooper would likely have to endure about his thrilling drive along Interstate 90.

But wait . . .

As American radio commentator Paul Harvey used to say, here is the rest of the story!

Stay tuned for the finale to this true story!!

Highway Rescue

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Blanche drives home after work one late afternoon.  The freeway is slow with traffic due to a heavy rainstorm.

As she approaches her exit, traffic has spread out a bit.  However, the rain has picked up in intensity.  The car’s wipers are working overtime now so she can see the highway a bit more clearly.

As she glances across the median, she notices a man pulled off on to the right shoulder.  He deposits a small kitten along the road and quickly drives away.

Blanche can’t believe it.  She pulls over to the right shoulder on her side of the freeway, and turns on the car’s emergency flashers.

Upon leaving her car, she pulls her large purse up over her head, checks for traffic, and hurries across the median to the marooned kitten.  The rain is drenching her clothing, and she can barely see her way.

Upon reaching the terrified little feline, she picks her up and stuffs the soaking wet kitten into her large purse.  She carefully and quickly makes it back across the freeway to her waiting car.

Once inside, she pulls the frightened kitten out of her bag, pats her on the head, and allows her to snuggle on her lap.  She is just a few minutes away from home.

When a rain-soaked Blanche walks into the kitchen with the dry kitten cuddled in her arms, her husband looks up from the stove (he is making dinner).  In a calm voice, he comments, “Well . . . at least one of you is dry.”

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This story is inspired by my sister-in-law’s actual rescue of a cat along a highway where she lives.  The cat now has a new home with her mother.  The picture above is actually one of my daughter’s cats.  She and her husband provide a home for three cats (two females and one male) rescued from shelters.

Start Bailin’

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Milt and I push his small rowboat into the lake’s calm waters on a sunny, early morning.  Fishin’ is absolutely on our minds.

Milt’s boat has stood the test of time, and she definitely looks it.  There are patches here and there, scrapped and worn paint, and even some mismatched planking on the floor.

Rowing the boat far from shore, we arrive at the very best place to fish the lake.  The deep water covers the territory with the biggest fish around.

We both become quite involved with our fishin’ as we cast again and again, hoping to catch the big one.  We fail to notice the threatening skies above.  A mother-of-all thunderstorms appears heading for the lake, and we sit directly in the crosshairs of its vicious aim.

Before we can even think about rowing back to the safety of the shore, Milt and I feel the tiny craft being engulfed by the torrents of rain and the white caps of the charging waves.

Our clothes and fishin’ tackle become soaking wet in a few short minutes, and then the boat begins to list to the starboard side.  She’s taking on water much too quickly.

Looking more anxious by the second, Milt shouts out, “Start bailin’ now!”

Watching my tackle box floating away, I yell back, “With what?”

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Flying Trash Can, Final Chapter

If you have arrived for the first time, you may want to check out the previous chapters of the story.

What lies ahead at Aaron Burr High School?  Will Pete crumble and fold up his teaching career on the very first day?  

Each of the four classrooms is separated by office-like partitions.  The walls, looking more temporary than permanent, rise about seven feet.  There is ample space between each wall and the ceiling.  Pete doesn’t appreciate the room layout much, but there is little that he can do about it.  He will have to make the best of it for now.

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The school’s mascot is the Ravens.  For Pete’s sake, it is very unfortunate that this blackbird cannot serve as  a lookout for him.  His adventures have only just begun!

Pete again surveys the room, and he feels a bit more comfortable.  Clyde still seems to be enjoying a pre-winter nap.  Traci is applying another color of polish to her perfectly manicured nails, and she wants to be finished before lunch.  The rest of the class is working quietly—at least it seems—on an assignment.

The classroom is only half full on this inaugural day of school at Aaron Burr.  It seems that many students are still on summer vacation—probably until after Labor Day.

Hmm . . . where is Reggie?

Reggie, who is as nutty as a fruit cake, has disappeared from Pete’s sight.  Pete checks out each corner of the half-empty room, but Reggie is nowhere to be seen.

Pete now begins to feel a band of cold sweat dripping down his back, but he truly has no idea what is in store for him.  Past memories take him back to the day that he was stuck in a gigantic snow drift while driving along an abandoned highway last winter.  As he was sweating it out under his heavy, winter parka, he figured that he would never be found.  Fortunately, a helpful truck driver (Pete’s guardian angel) came along and pulled his car back onto the road.

A few minutes pass.

Pete wishes that the clock would move more swiftly so that the bell will ring to end class.  He has a planning period next, and he is seriously thinking of going home.

This teaching stuff just doesn’t sit well with him.  He wonders for a minute or two why he ever changed his major from Accounting to Business Education.  Another of life’s decisions is about ready to provide Pete with another notable experience to write about in his already overflowing journal.

The clock is slowly approaching the time to wrap up the first class of his teaching career.  Pete begins thinking that perhaps the remainder of his day will turn out better.  He is feeling a bit more relaxed and confident.  Didn’t the Titanic’s captain feel confident as the huge iceberg loomed ahead?

The room grows unusually quiet.

Then . . . Suddenly!

Bam!!

A large, heavy, cast-iron trash can hurdles the wall and lands at Pete’s feet.  The airborne projectile narrowly misses Pete’s head by a couple of inches.  The flying trash can strikes terror in Pete’s inner soul, and he feels his heartbeat racing while a torrent of sweat runs free over his entire body.  He pivots around and suddenly realizes that this day really is not going to be an outstanding experience.

Pete, standing all alone in the middle of the room, is visibly shaken and greatly disturbed.  His face has turned a ghastly white color, and his blonde hair is all amiss.  He turns to face the class, and the students are all snickering.  Many are falling out of their seats and roaring with more and more laughter.  Even Clyde wakes up and joins in with the impromptu celebration.  Traci excitedly claps her hands and smudges her still-wet nail polish.

Twisting around, Pete runs quickly out of the room, down a vacant hallway, and out the front door of the school.

Reggie slyly creeps back around the wall to rejoin the class.  His thumbs-up gesture arouses even more of a deafening thunder of applause and shouts for his exploits.  Somehow, the epic sounds have not reached the central office . . . yet!

Clyde joins Reggie at the front of the room, and they both announce their marching orders for the rest of the day—“TAKE OVER THE SCHOOL!”

Without a teacher in the room, the unruly mob leaves the computer lab and launches into a riotous journey down the hallway into the rest of Aaron Burr’s no longer quiet hallways.  Another opening day has turned into a disaster of nearly Biblical proportions.  What happens next will be anyone’s guess; just be on the lookout for Reggie, the new kingpin of the school!

An hour later, the police arrive to take charge of the disorderly student body, which resembles an unruly and disorganized mob.  Meanwhile, the administration has been hiding in their offices, and the teaching staff finds refuge down in the school’s boiler room in the basement.

The bell rings to dismiss school for the day, but Pete is missing permanently.  Thoroughly shaken, he never returns to Aaron Burr.

As the curtain closes on Aaron Burr High School (this will be its final, unforgettable school year), the wrecking ball will finally arrive to turn the property into a parking lot and city park.  Many citizens around the community curiously wonder whatever happened to Pete, the novice teacher who dashed away.

Rumor has it that he is now the Principal at Alexander Hamilton High School in a distant city.  According to an inside source, all classrooms have permanent walls and include lightweight, plastic trash cans.

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Aaron Burr High School bites the dust!