Taking a half-vacation day Friday, the drive to the Tewksbury Country Club was leisurely and traffic-free. It was in the low sixties with a 10 to 15 mph wind when we teed off around 2:00. The inaugural drive of the 2005 season was high, straight and true. A real anomaly. In past seasons I’d be combing the right side woods looking for my wayward slice and maybe scoring another errant ball or two. It felt weird and wonderful walking straight down the fairway on #1. Now for me, the first outing of the season is no more inconsistent than one, say, in July, but this one started well.

After building a commanding lead early, my younger brother, Corey began to chip away. On the 9th and final hole, a water protected, short par 3, I dropped two in the drink and as the second splashed down a foot from dry land, he quipped with a wink, “you can probably play that one.” I began the long walk toward the point where #2 landed. On foot by the water’s edge, I spotted a 2-foot turtle swimming. We marveled at its size and grace. A couple minutes later while looking for my lost orb, I heard, “Hey, that turtle is right behind you.” Well, I jumped and quickly looked behind me to nothing but hearty laughter. This from someone who claims to play a “gentleman’s game.” In the end, the scorecard had me prevailing by one stroke, although Corey insists the match is “under review” with the “tournament committee.”

The 19th hole included a continued discussion of rules and etiquette, a couple cold beverages, lunch and a “blue moon” moment. As baby bro reminded me of the two “man made hazards” he pointed out for me, a lovely woman sat at the bar a couple seats down. Corey kept talking, but my focus had shifted. I heard her say she was there for a wedding and did not have a date. The female bartender suggested, “Maybe you’ll meet someone at the wedding.” I then abruptly added, “or maybe you’ll meet someone right here.” In my past 30 or so “dating years,” I never would have done that for fear of rejection. Actually, it’s amazing I ever had any dates given my timidity at such moments. We chatted for a few minutes and I got her phone number before having to leave to see a rocking Green Day show with my brother, the gentleman. Yep. A good day.