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Archive for April, 2010

The Green Mile

This morning I finished the book, The Green Mile, by Stephen King.  The movie by the same name is one of my favorites.   I’ve watched it twice in the past three months.   Recognizing that a book almost always contains more information than the movie, I recently picked up the book at my favorite used bookstore.  This morning, before I did anything else, I sat down to finish it — with a tissue.  The ending is a real tear-jerker.  Again — one of the advantages of retirement — time to do something like that.  And it wasn’t even Saturday.

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The Augusta National Golf Club is green from the grass to the buildings to the sewer covers and sandwich packages.  The golf shop is stuffed with everything that one could imagine would have a Masters logo.  Actually even the concessions had the logo on their potato chips and bottled water.

We have been applying for 5 years for practice round tickets.  To no avail.  The actual tournament tickets from Thursday through Sunday, have such a long waiting list that, even with natural attrition, they aren’t taking any more names in the foreseeable future.    So we were delighted last fall when we received a letter in response to our annual application that said we could have 2 tickets for Monday of the practice round, April 5th, Bruce’s birthday.  Yeah!

Since we live only about 4 miles from the National, we headed up there soon after the course opened at 8AM.  We even were there early enough to park in the back lot at the course, not across the street where you have to walk several blocks just to get to the gate.  (Side bar:  several years ago in response to patrons’ complaints about the lack of parking, the National came up with a unique solution.  They bought up about half of the neighborhood across the street, razed the houses and turned the ground into parking areas.  Parking is now absolutely free with tickets!  Since they paid much more than the fair market value it was an advantageous offer for the homeowners and almost everyone took the offers. Those who remained live in a “parking lot” for one week a year.  The rest of the year?  It’s pretty quiet.  We drive by there each week to visit our favorite grocery store and thus keep tabs on the neighborhood activity.)

The course is even more beautiful than you see on TV.  In person we could smell the new mown grass and the flowers.  Sitting on the grass is like sitting on green velvet.  If our grass was like that the dogs would have to go potty down the street.  The staff goes out of their way to be polite and helpful.  I watched a security guard tell a patron he couldn’t lay down on the grass to sleep but then knelt down and chatted amicably with him for several minutes. Even the crowd of 125,000 wasn’t bad — not when everyone is so friendly.  Bruce conducted an informal survey and discovered that men outnumbered women 11 to 1.  Not surprising.  Who plays more golf? My informal survey noted that the testosterone-laden male stories increased exponentially with the number of beers consumed.

What a great day!  We even got to see Tiger.  The Augusta crowd was very cordial to him.  That’s why he decided to return to his schedule here, I’m sure.   Southern hospitality can’t be found just anywhere.

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