"I always look at the magazine, but I never see your byline."
"Do they no longer allow you to write funny, is that the problem?"
"Do you have a business card? I may need Super Bowl tickets."
SUNDAY: We are playing against another father-son duo, Don and Bruce Smith. My play is scraping a new low when, on the 3rd tee, Bruce, a chipper sort, says, "Is this the perfect golf day or what?"
While I harbor murderous thoughts about Bruce, Rex—who is not exactly on a pace to break the course record himself—pounds the wheel of the cart and replies, "I was just thinking that."
They're both right. Seven Oaks, one of the top college courses in the country, has never been more lush. For the first time in Colgate's 179-year history, I am fairly certain, the school has had three consecutive sunny days. While I have made the occasional show of reaching for my wallet, I haven't paid for squat. What, other than my game, is not to like?
I make an effort to improve my attitude, since, apparently, nothing I do will improve my play. The Smiths trounce and amuse us. Bruce confides that his father prefers to play golf without his hearing aid. Unable to hear opponents concede him putts, his son tells us, Don has spent the weekend knocking gimmes past the hole.
The golf, mercifully, at an end, Rex and I flee Seven Oaks and stop at a convenience store for premade sandwiches. On this Sunday afternoon in the prime of Rex's retirement, we are four minutes behind schedule, which fills him with a sullen anger that is compounded when we get stuck for three quarters of a mile behind a hay truck on the outskirts of Hamilton, N.Y.
Thirty or so miles into the trip, Rex asks me, "Were those sandwiches cut in half? Could you check? I want to give half of mine to your mother."
Such inspiring gallantly! Mom is meeting us in Springfield, Mass., at a Quality Inn just off the highway. She will rescue me, and Rex will proceed north, to Ogontz, N.H., for a four-day choral camp. (You wouldn't think that a guy who once followed a drunken driver to his home and punched out the poor souse in his own front yard would sing in a chorus, but there it is.) It warms me to learn that the weekend's Catastrophe Quotient will be diminished, however slightly, by the sight of my mother's joy upon receiving this token of her husband's thoughtfulness: Sorry I've been away golfing all weekend. As an expression of my undying love, please accept this waterlogged half sandwich of sodden turkey matter and month-old lettuce.