The Day I Died

Another story involving Cliff Patterson—my best pal Barry’s dad—happened on the golf course. Mr. Patterson was a pretty good golfer, and played with our next door neighbor, Mr. Cuevas and a couple of their other buddies. One day, Barry and I wound up playing the same course they were on, and as you might expect, things did not go well.

We did our best to avoid the fearsome foursome, and were successful for most of the day. Until, that is, we arrived at this one tee box on the back nine. Too the horror of both Barry and myself, we stepped up to the tee box and saw his dad’s group walking onto the next green, which was about fifty yards to our right and about that far forward. They were looking over their putts, and thankfully didn’t appear to have noticed us. Yet.

Barry hit his drive—a decent one—then it was my turn. Let me remind you, I was not a good golfer; in fact, I had no business on a public course. Add that to the extreme anxiety caused by Barry’s dad, and his friends, being where they could see me in action, and I was a nervous wreck. It was about to get worse.

I pulled back and took a mighty swing at the ball, and watched in dazed amazement as it went straight up then began a slow arching curve to the right. I thought about just throwing my club down and making a run for it, but my feet seemed to have been cemented to the ground. I almost screamed when the ball landed.

Mr. Patterson was standing over his balled taking aim and preparing to putt, when my ball plopped right next to his. He jumped back and looked all around to see who the jerk was that almost hit him, and when his eyes landed on me, he knew he’d found the culprit.

Barry—being the sensitive type—busted out laughing, and literally fell to the ground. I was still frozen in place, staring with glazed, nearly unseeing, eyes at my ball laying at the feet of the one man in the world I would rather not face at that moment. My anxiety increased ten-fold when Mr. Patterson crooked a finger at me, beckoning me to come. When Barry saw me walk off the tee box, he stopped laughing, got up and followed me. No doubt, he was thinking he wouldn’t miss this for the world.

As I approached the green, the Patterson foursome was a gallery of the most evil grins I have before or since witnessed. It was like the Joker from Batman had been cloned, and four of him were waiting for me to enter his lair. My face was so hot I thought it would surely ignite if I didn’t soon get out of the sunlight. I know you’ll find this hard to believe, but things were about to get worse.

I was sixteen, embarrassed beyond reason, and exposing myself to a man who took great delight in tormenting me. Now, I had served myself up to him on the proverbial silver platter. I still had my driver in my hand, and not knowing what else to do—seeing as how my brain had ceased to function a few minutes earlier—I walked over to my ball and set up to hit it. Oh, yes. Yes I did.

Silence—like someone had hit the mute button on the whole world—engulfed me, as the four men and my “best pal” watched me draw back my club. I guess it finally dawned on them I was actually going to hit the ball off the green, because the silence was suddenly shattered by five voices screaming, “NO!” Mr. Patterson jumped in and grabbed my club just before I started my downswing.

Like a hypnotist had snapped his fingers, I came instantly out of my trance-like, horror-induced state, my face burst into flames, and I died a horrible death right there on the green.

Well…. it sure felt like it.


  1. Sherry Mashburn said

    At least there was no duck

  2. gary said

    Thats not all he called you!

    • You got that right. He used to give me hell! But he did like me, didn’t he Gary?? Didn’t he?

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