John Strege is a friend and a talented author and writer for Golf Digest. He recently penned a moving story about a son’s last round of golf with his dying father at Pebble Beach.
It began as a dream, a boy, 16, and his father, descending the steps behind The Lodge at Pebble Beach and gazing wistfully at Eden. Some day, the boy vowed on behalf of both of them, before life intervened, as inevitably it will. Maybe next year. There would always be a next year.
As John goes on to explain, it was the boy’s desire to one day play a round of golf with his dad on the famed California coastal course. But the boy and his father grew busy and the years piled up one after another. A decade removed from that gentle time on those storied steps, Tim Galloway was diagnosed with cancer. His son, Winn, vowed to make good on his dream and make a memory with his father. He made the arrangements even as his dear dad grew weaker by the day.
Tim was worried, though, concerned that he wouldn’t have the stamina to make it through the round. Again, from John’s article:
Tim’s wife (and Winn’s mother), Kim, convinced him that the quality of his golf was immaterial. “You taught him how to do something you’ve shared your whole life,” she said to him. “So change your focus from golf to hanging out with your son at a place that’s once in a lifetime. Make golf secondary.”
Kim’s words proved prescient. Tim and Winn played their hearts out and like something straight out of a Hollywood screen play, the round was punctuated by Tim’s hole-in-one on the scenic par-3 seventh hole.
Six months later Winn’s father was gone, but the memories of those hours together, playing a sport they both loved, have helped to soften the blow.
Winn is a now a young man with no regrets. He is a man at peace even amidst his sad loss. Not everybody enjoys the luxury of such a storybook ending, however painful. My own father’s passing still saddens me and I so wish that alcoholism hadn’t stolen him away from me. I wish I could lean on what Winn now does.
When it comes to planning activities with our kids, we’re all busy and we all tend to put things off to another day. But there are times when that day never comes – at least for one of us.
Don’t take a chance. Don’t risk putting off for tomorrow what you might do with your children today. Maybe it’s time for you to live with a spirit and sense of urgency. Father’s Day is coming next week and warm sentiments will be expressed in cards, email and over the telephone. But this year, maybe it’s time to take it to the next level.
Don’t just talk. Don’t just write. If at all possible, take the effort to make a memory. I guarantee that you won’t regret it.
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