On our way out Dewey and Patti said something. A minute later we were in Dewey's Nissan. Dewey was behind the wheel, I was in the passenger seat, and Patti was behind me. Within seconds of sitting down Patti said, "What does it look like?" She had found my single silver Subaru key, stuck in an open seam of the passenger seat. Call it the power of prayer, the power of communal effort, whatever. She found it. One of the best birthday presents I had ever received. We returned to their home and had cake. By the end of this 18-hour day, I felt a closeness to Dewey I can hardly explain.
The next morning I paid my taxes, went to the range at TPC Sawgrass, and began my drive home, to Philadelphia. The following morning I stopped to hit balls at an old Donald Ross course that is trying to hang on, off I-95 in rural North Carolina. I tried to follow Dewey's instruction, inside and open. I hit some beauties and some duffs. But almost nothing pull-hooky. It was a different kind of swing. I called Dewey to tell him about my progress. I asked him what I could do to get the swing to repeat. I have never been able to make any swing I have tried repeat consistently.
"Repeat is a word that shows up regularly in your speech," Dewey said. "There's a certain arrogance in the suggestion that your swing should repeat at this point. Hogan was the ultimate warrior-worker. He spent hours on the range. Years. And he said, 'I have a chance of hitting a reasonably reliable shot.'" I hadn't put in the time, not even close. The next day I got a text from Dewey: Your waggle repeats.
A day after that I received a gift from Dewey, two of his old Ping-Pong paddles, with the rich padding and the leather grips, one for me, the other for my father. My wife saw the box, and I told her all about my day with Dewey. If I had to boil it down to a single thing, I'd say there's something noble about trying to get better. Trying, truly trying? There's a whole world in that.