Wednesday 28 Sep 2016

A Game of Golf
AJ Robinson

It's strange the things you remember from childhood. For some people, they really relish a special birthday or trip; maybe their first vacation that took them to Disney World. There was one spot on Martha's Vineyard, which was always special for me. That special place, of mine, is Duffer's Delight Miniature Golf Course.

As a child, I had no concept of what golfing was - real golfing; to me it was all the same. Each summer I wanted to go to Duffer's and go golfing. As with so much in life, there was never enough time. Usually, we were limited to a single visit each summer. I never understood why; it wasn't as if was far; nothing on the island was far, and it didn't cost much. Yet, this was just one of those "grown up" things that I just didn't understand.

Anyway, at some point would come the visit, and often we would bring one of my friends. In later years, we brought Nick and Heidi, my niece and nephew. Nick and I always played a game within the game. I would go first, but after the first hole, Nick would "try" to cut ahead of me. He'd place his ball on the "tee," a plastic mat with three little holes in it, take aim and then swing back as if he was going to royally clobber the ball. I'd slip in and snatch it away - grab it, tap it with my club, or whatever. He'd swing, and then make a big show of looking for where his ball had gone. Then I'd tee up and we'd continue playing.

The place was quite simple; the windmill didn't even have a motor in it. Yet, we never minded - it was another of the joys of summer. There was also the church hole, the cannon, which was particularly cool - we hit the ball as hard as we wanted, on that one, and the pinball machine hole.

Then we came to the last one - the clown face. It was a one shot hole. If you got your ball into the nose, of the clown, you won a free game. Of course, I never managed to do that, but it didn't matter - just getting to play that simple game was always a hoot.

Then came the time when we drove passed the place. I saw it was gone! My heart crushed; the sadness profound. There was no Duffer's Delight. What was next? Would someone tear down the Campground cottages? Then I got some good news, the property had sold to the local market. The market had decided to preserve the miniature golf course. It was moved it across the street.

I was happy to see that not every aspect of my youth had gone the way of the Doo-Doo bird. This summer, I'm hoping to be able to take my daughter there; maybe we can share more than a single game.

Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.

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