Think where man’s glory most begins and ends,
And say that my glory was that I had such friends.
William Butler Yeats
Before I set off for Sligo to find the countryside that so inspired Yeats, I have one more stop.
The Fall Classic.
For 28 years, on the first weekend in October, eight old farts traipse into Truckee to play golf. We spend three days chasing the ball, telling and re-telling and re-telling again stories of our youth which, by now, we all know by heart.
We are, like old worn golf gloves, growing stiff with age. Our hair has grown gray ; we can’t read a score card without glasses. We don’t play poker late into the night like we once did, but one by one fall asleep on the couch, in the Lazy Boy, or stretched out on the 1970s shag carpet of the Ergos’ cabin as the familiar sound of autumn baseball drifts from the television.
Each year, we comment on the crisp air, the smell of the pines, the sound of the wind in the Ponderosas as if it were our first autumn in the mountains. Each year we descend on the same coffee shop, our waitress Eve will, as we open the creaking screen door, greet us saying, « Has it been a year already, boyz ? » Each year Ian will have egg whites only and wheat toast dry ; Rob will have scrambled eggs and bacon and a large glass of grapefruit juice ; Each year Dan will give Eve a good natured hug.
Seldom do we call each other by our given names, but will instead go by Andy Boy or The Skipper, Bow, Ergs. Murph. Fitz. Danno, Ass-Dot-Com, and Sparky. Ian will always sleep in the Murphy bed. Murph and Bow will sleep in the bunks. Danno on the couch. The Skipper in the Cave. Me on the deck, though the nights seem colder each year.
For these old friends, the Fall Classic marks the passage of time. It is the end and beginning of the year. We anticipate it like giddy children do Christmas eve. We leave a bit melancholy.
We are, like the aspen surrounding the 14th green at Coyote Moon, golden in our glory and foolishly defiant in the face of winter.