My grandparents live on a golf course.
That's right you read it correctly, you open their back garden fence and walk right onto the grassy, well mowed lawn of a respectable 18 hole golf course. A very handy happen stance if it's your hobby, and it was, or is rather. With two metal knees, a bad hip and extremely well permed hair my nanny still manages to do her 9 holes or so every weekend with the girls (that is ladies of her between 60 and 75 age group). What's more she's still extremely good at it. I still remember the time she attempted to take me out for the afternoon and after almost continuous swings and misses decided the golfing gene had definitely skipped a generation. A fact she was happy to tell me in a statement that went something like - "Well your rubbish aren't you" shattering any delusion I had of it simply being a bad day.
My golfing dreams aside, it's not all "rubbish" when it comes to my skills in activities on the green. For example I can walk around the course whilst dodging golf balls quite successfully (I haven't been hit yet), I am rather skilled at spotting balls in the long grass when shots go astray… careful to avoid deadly brown snakes that may be living in the vicinity and after a few years of driving experience I am a relatively accomplished golf bugger driver. Ok so I wouldn't say this was always the case - no I haven't been hit with a ball or bitten by a snake, but I have had a run in with some plants. A black boy to be exact - back when it wasn't politically incorrect to call them such, I think they're now referred to as Grass trees.
It was christmas night, we were celebrating at our grandparents, when all the kids (that is all 6 of us) decided we would take the golf buggy out for a spin. There's something about driving any sort of moving vehicle that is incredibly thrilling when you don't yet have a license and are still too short to reach the pedals. Well after years of pleading with my oldest cousin Paul we agreed that having grown an inch or so over the holidays, I was finally ready to have a go. I took my seat in the drivers side and slide to the edge in order to get my toe on the pedal, noticing quickly that I could barely see over the steering wheel.
Call it the christmas spirit but my cousin either didn't or pretended not to notice and continued his brief instructions. right is go left is stop - turn the steering wheel slowly in the direction you want to go and take it easy on the pedals. I nodded, feeling excitement well up inside of me… I lightly put my foot on the accelerator and got a laugh from the passengers behind me "you have to press harder than that Lesley" So I did, I think it was the joy of going fast for the first time in my life combined with the fact that I had a steering wheel in the way and bad night vision but within a minute of feeling the wind on my face we felt the car slam into something and I went flying out. Cue "I believe I can fly" as you imagine a skinny little 8 year old flying through the air onto the freshly mowed grass. I lifted my face from the dirt, spiting grass clippings out, and marveled at the fact I had no serious injury. Everyone came running over to see if I was ok, some genuinely concerned, others attempting unsuccessfully to hide their laughter.
In fact Paul was the most concerned… that was until he saw the damage I had done to the buggy. For those that have never known someone with a short temper let me explain it. imagine a very fast car that can go from naught to 200 in 30 seconds… that's what it's like for a person quick to anger - you could see the emotion well in him, like a red tidal wave advancing from the bottom of his neck to his forehead. I remained on the ground hoping that if I still looked helpless and disabled he may direct his eminent torrent of abuse on something or someone else. I sat waiting… and waiting, but nothing happened. "Get in the back" is all he said. So piling back into the buggy we headed back to the house, scared and wary of Paul's eventual outrage but even more so of what Granddad would do.
This is when the story takes a surprising turn, something to this day I am still baffled by. We were right about one thing, Granddad was not happy - we waited in another room the next day while he sat with Paul furiously explaining his disappointment. I could hear yelling and table fist slamming, waiting with dread for my name to be called to join the barrage of reprimand. After about 15 minutes Paul walked in, steely faced and tight lipped. "Does he want to see me now" I gulped, worried that I may actually wet my pants. Paul just looked at me, a sort of sadness in his eyes and just shook his head "Come on" he answered "Let's go to the garden and play". So we did, I don't know if it was the shock or the fact I was easily distracted but I forgot about it after that. I found out later that Paul had taken the wrap for me, something he neither owed me or was better off doing. If anything, as a bit of a goody goody, I probably would have got off quite lightly compared. I never told my granddad it was me, and when he died it's the one thing I regretted (however mum is sure he knew), maybe he did, maybe he thought I would punish myself enough (which I did). I don't know, all I know for sure is that, people will surprise you, and that when others say you are still too short to drive, they really mean it.
MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE,
Drive safe this holidays ^_^