There are good days…and then there are good days.
This morning, after a wonderful anniversary dinner last night, i played golf. A little muggy with a high of 77. So i won’t whine or brag about weather in the Southwest corner. We had the usual great views of the Hotel Del Coronado, the majestic Point Loma, the Fort Rosecrans Military Cemetery, the beach, and oh yes, the Pacific. My golf was better, something i could call passable after a bunch of rounds that weren’t.
However, this round was special.
Al Pavich, who has had just about every malady known to man, a very rough childhood who then became a hero on swift boats in Vietnam, went from seaman recruit to commander and after retirement became the driving force behind creating the best program in the United States for bringing homeless, often drug and alcohol addicted veterans back to a good normal life, played with us for the first time in more than a year and sparingly before that going back to the 90’s.
i know Al well. We were not only officers together on the Amphibious Squadron Five staff from 1980 to 1982. We share a stateroom for most of a nine-month WESTPAC deployment. We played about 782,456 games of cribbage, we worked together, we played together, and yes, we golfed together. He is one of the best golfers with whom i’ve ever played, maybe the best when bets were involved.
Our foursome today was Al, Rod Stark, Pete Toennies, and me. We played in about three-and-a-half hours. My kind of golf. We sat on the patio of the Sea ‘n Air club and drank some beer, a ritual we have been observing for twenty-seven years almost every Friday.
Seemed just right.
But we missed Marty Linville on a cross-country drive with his wife Linda.
Driving home, i got to thinking about golf. i have often said i have played golf for about fifty-five years. In all of that time, i have only played with about five people who took away the fun. Of course, i have never understood how so many assholes have played either in front of or behind our groups.
There have been some special people with whom i’ve played. Henry Harding, Charles “Fox” Dedman, Jimmy Nokes when we all picked up the game in 1968 at that cow pasture turned golf course. Dave O’Neal, the best man at our wedding and my fellow conspirator as Air Boss and Operations on the USS Okinawa. Jim Hileman, Mike Kelly, and all of the telephone guys. Frank Kerrigan, the guy with whom i formed a lasting friendship on USS Yosemite and golf courses. JD Waits, my roommate when we were both single on Coronado, and my co-conspirator in many plots. My father-in-law Ray Boggs. And of course, Maureen and Nancy Toennies, who with Pete and me, have shared many great rounds.
i’m sure i’ve left out a grunch.
Marty, Rod and i forged a golf partnership while at the Naval Amphibious School, Coronado, the last tour of active duty for ae ll three of us. That golfing friendship has continued and we have extended it to a bunch of folks. Every Friday morning. Early.
But having Al back with us is something special. He, not golf, not the views, not my other friends, made my day.