As a kid, I grew up in a subdivision about seven miles from the nearest town. When I was 9 years old, my family moved from Pasadena some 40 miles away. We felt like we were moving to the country. And we were plenty excited. Everyone’s house in our neighborhood sat on two acres, so there weren’t so many houses as there was plenty of room between ‘em.
I guess I was about 12 when the “golf bug” hit me and my buddies. We all went to Gibson’s Discount and bought one golf club — a five- or a seven-iron — and a sleeve of three Arnold Palmer golf balls.
We made up a three-hole golf course which, incidentally, didn’t have any holes. We’d start from the Follis’ mail box and hit to the Sullivan’s (next door) pine tree. You had to hit the trunk of the tree below the lowest limb. From there we’d hit way down and across the road to a post in our yard and then work on the longest hole from my yard all the way back to the Follis’ mail box. We had a lot of fun and spent many summer hours on the “course.”
One day Frankie Sullivan’s grandpa gave him a full set of golf clubs. We’d never seen a set in person. Frankie and I were playing around, and he had already hit his ball from the pine tree in his yard towards the post in mine. He was out on the road when I teed my ball up.
“What’s a nine-iron do?” I hollered.
“You just hit the ball as hard as you always do, but it goes higher, so it won’t go so far,” he responded.
I decided that was the iron I needed.
I hit that ball hard and sliced it. I saw it veer to the right, but lost track of it. A few seconds later I heard a loud THUMP. I knew from Frankie’s vantage point that he was able to see the ball. I hollered again and asked him what the ball hit.
He answered with a long Southern drawl, “Mister Knox.”
“Nuh-uh,” I said. “It hit something metal.”
“Hit him first,” Frankie countered.
It was a common event for folks to go to Anahuac and get fresh shrimp right off the boats. Then there was the job of “headin’ ” the shrimp, which actually means de-headin’ ‘em. Mr. and Mrs. Knox, our neighbors across the street, were sittin’ in their lawn chairs, workin’ on an ice chest full of shrimp.
My golf ball had come down and hit Mr. Knox upside the head and then bounced over and hit his truck. We hurried over to check on him. With a cold rag to his head and me on the brink of tears, Mr. Knox assured me that he was alright.
Mrs. Knox said that when the ball hit him, Mr. Knox AND his chair just fell smooth over, like Arte Johnson and his tricycle on the old “Laugh-In” show of the 70s.
I still try to play golf occasionally. And I still can’t hit a nine-iron.
Life’s an adventure. I’m livin’ it up!
Randy McLelland, a.k.a. Randy Mac, is senior pastor of Cornerstone Christian Fellowship Church on FM 202. He plays the role of "Grandpa" in The Promise and, through his “Livin' It Up” ministries, is a motivational speaker and Christian entertainer.