Monday, October 23, 2006

Return to Lake Winds

This past weekend, on a trip to North Carolina, I had the chance to play (for the first time in a bunch of years) a little golf course called Lake Winds. The point of this story is not the golf course itself. Although it is located along the edge of some pretty foothills, Lake Winds is nothing spectacular. It is a home grown track where it is not always easy to tell where the fairway ends and the rough begins...every golfer knows what I'm talking about!

What is special about Lake Winds, for Desi and me, is the memories it holds. It was in Durham that we got our start together as a couple, in that little yellow house on Lawndale Avenue. During those years, one of our favorite regular activities was what we called "Happy Friday"--nine holes of golf at Lake Winds after work, followed by dinner at a restaurant of the winner's choosing.

Here are some of the cool and funny things that happened along the way...

On the tee of the 6th hole (as you can see, a picturesque spot), Desi looks down the hill and sees some four-legged creature walking up the fairway toward us. (Like many days at Lake Winds, we were out there "in the wild" all on our own). The best she can do is utter to me (as usual, oblivious to everything but the shot I am about to hit): "There's something coming at us!" Well, we watch for a few minutes, until the "predator" decides we don't look all that tasty, and heads back into the woods. Was it a wolf? A bear? (A family pet?) It is forever left up to our imaginations!

This next one also happened on the tee at number six, and it is also classic Desi. Here's the setting--a summertime evening, the wind is picking up, the dark clouds are gathering. You know the scene...it was right out of "Caddyshack" ("I don't think the heavy stuff's coming down for a while yet.") Well, we have just both busted drives right down the middle of the fairway (a rarity!), when it becomes all too obvious that we need to get out of there immediately and hoof it back to the clubhouse...fast! Desi yells at me over the impending storm: "Leave the balls!" What's in her mind is that she doesn't want that good drive to be wasted. As soon as the storm passes, she reasons, we'll head back out there and pick up where we left off. Only one problem...after at least a half an hour of sitting in the car, the rain is coming down harder than ever and showing no signs of slowing down any time soon. Eventually, we give up and head to Golden Corral. And to this day, we are both convinced that those golf balls are still sitting pretty right where we left them!

Now, Desi could play some golf in those days (and her swing is coming back, based on some recent efforts I've seen). One example should suffice:

On the 4th hole, Desi smacked a nice drive up the fairway, and then hit an equally nice iron right at the flag. Thinking that she would have a nice look at birdie, we were both surprised when we reached the green and her ball was nowhere to be found. (You may see where the story is going, but neither of us did in real time.) We spent a couple of minutes poking around in the rough behind the green, thinking the ball was struck so well that it must have carried past the pin. Eventually, and running out of options, I sauntered over to the flag and peered into the hole...Bingo! There it is! For years, the ball Desi used to record her one and only eagle stayed in her purse.

Funny thing is, that ball was really scuffed and beaten up, just like the golf course itself. It just goes to show you...It's places like Lake Winds where many of our fondest memories are forged. Here's to hoping that each of you encounters a Lake Winds or two (or twenty) in your lifetime!

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