Walking Down the 14th Fairway

January17/ 2000

…. This has nothing to do with Winged Foot and The US Open, nothing whatsoever… I’m trying to get this column up before Father’s Day so the book I’m going to tell you about might find it’s way under “the Father’s Day tree” in your house.  The book has nothing to do with golf.  I’m actually at a loss for words (say it ain’t so BobLee!) to explain what it’s all about. … It is NOT about politics, Duke lacrosse, The Stanley Cup, or college sports … what it is about IS

 … LIFE and “growing up” and never “growing up” 

and dying and friendship …  and stuff like that.

    OK, that successfully ran off the howler monkeys and constipated Dilberts that really should not visit this website anyway.  That’s the trouble with a free, public website … we can’t post a No Shirt, No Shoes, No Common Sense – No Business Being Here sign at the Home page.

Kid Swagger gave her Dad a book for an early Father’s Day present.  That’s not unusual as a love for reading is perhaps the strongest bond that she and I share (along with the ability to communicate telepathically with Annabelle The Family Cat.  Mizzus likes Annabelle just fine, but not quite on the level that Kid and I do).  She gave me the book on Monday when we arrived at our cottage rental on the Outer Banks.

I had read a promotional blurb on the book a week or so earlier but had not said anything to anyone.  I devoured the 325 pages in three days.  I could have done it in a single sitting but, like a gourmet meal, I had to savour each course before moving on.  You’ll understand when you get it and several 100s of you will … I know that for a fact.

I kept Kid updated on how much I was enjoying the book and she seemed to like that.  Telling people how much you appreciate something they did for you has a strong positive effect on them … Who Knew?  When I had finished the book and come to grip with my emotions over it, I asked Mizzus how Kid had made that particular selection.  I kinda knew what her answer would be … Mizzus Swagger had suggested it as “the kinda book that Dad will really like”.  There is something to be said for 22 years of sharing pillow talk with someone.

Some of you are wandering down the wrong road already.  I know you too well.  Some of you think I’m talking about Ann Coulter’s latest book about “The Religion of Liberalism”.  I AM NOT.  No offense to Ms Coulter but I have too much respect for those of you who don’t share my political bent to ever be so insulting to you.  There actually ARE aspects of “Life” that transcend the rancid cesspool known as “political discourse”.

There is no better example of the non-partisan aspect to all this than that I have already purchased a copy for, and shipped it off to, my lifelong pal and lifelong Democrat … P. Coleman Buck of The Dilworth Bucks.  By the same token I do not believe my good Conservative friend of 25 years (aka “the expensive wine guy”) would “get” this book.  No offense, but “you will know” who should read it and who probably shouldn’t bother.

Th following list is by no means complete but for starters … the following BobLee Buddies ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO GET THIS BOOK IMMEDIATELY and consume it.  This is not a suggestion like Matthew Reilly was … this is AN ORDER 

Leo, Little Ricky, Bill in Ponte Vedra, Harley, Prince Albert, “his brother David”, Dr Ed, Dr. Tim, MacInDerm, Steed, Truitt, The Expatriate, Lou, Sterling @ Mizzou, Page, Bomar, Blair, CRyan, JDan, Ersky, HokieJim, Clota, Pastor Leon, Larry, T.P., Paul The Bootlegger, #23 from Garden City, THarvey, Butch, Bo, the Forbes’ Ted and Vance, Buck, Swampy, General Bill, BTaylor, Cousin Lewis, Gearino, Dennis, Titus, Chapman (father not son), Willie, EdMc, Burly John, Ol’ Roy, Renedo The Bear, Curt in Tampa, … I know I’m leaving out a bunch.

Some of you are getting pissed.  “Hey, BobLee, I’m a sensitive feely sorta guy. How come my name isn’t on that list?”.  Because you are not quite “walking down the 14th fairway”.

CokeDaddy, Big Bobby, Rick, Mr. Pace, Jerry in KC, Phineus T, Byrd in Toledo, MarkE, BeoWolf, Derf, Jon The Bear … you guys are “making the turn” or, in some cases, “putting out on #12” but you’re not in the crosshairs of all this … YET!  But you will be … for sure, you will be.  Go ahead and buy the book and read it but make a note to read it again in ten years.  It will be a different book then because you will be at a different point in your life and you will read it through a slightly “more seasoned soul”.

 The book is

And You Know You Should Be Glad 

… by Bob Greene

A True Story of Lifelong Friendship

    Knowing me, it won’t surprise you that … I’ve already had an e-conversation with the author.  We discussed “chasing the fog truck” on summer evenings.  I’m not getting commissions on these sales.  I’ll settle for your thanks when you’ve read it.

Some of you in that first list are “teeing it up on 18” and the impact will be different than it is for us mainstream baby boomers, but if you “get” BobLee, you’ll “get” Bob Greene. 

The book is a true story about five guys, and two guys, and one guy, and growing up in the 50s-60s, and small towns (like Kinston, Goldsboro, Morganton, Clinton, and Bexley, Ohio) and “growing up” but “never growing up” and about coming to grips with one’s mortality, and about legacies, and memories, and bumps and bruises and tears and grins … and “the killer instinct” and “men too gentle to live among wolves” … and chemo and cell phones and and cheeseburgers.  Yes, you will probably get weepy (actually not “probably”, you WILL get weepy!) but it’s not a sad book at all.  For every tear you sense welling up, you will feel a silly grin across your mug.  Absolutely, this book is a Celebration, not a eulogy.

   Each of you have helped me to understand that I “have a gift” that I am duty bound to share with you and have over the past six years, and many years to come hopefully.  Bob Greene certainly has a gift.

Crawling way out on the limb of hyperbole … Bob Greene is

 “Norman Rockwell with a word processor”.  He’s “that good”.  I’ve read several of his earlier books.  This one ain’t a fluke.

Oh … is this just a “guy book”? … No … was Steel Magnolias just “a chick flick”?  Any of BobLee’s Gal Pals who drop by here regularly will “get it”.  Boots and Mary Lynn and Beth and Beth and Beth and Lydia and Ann The Librarian and Mrs LRP and Donna and Parky.

I realize I have left out reference to 1,000s of SwaggerSays readers but that’s because you are “the silent army” who get these columns via subscription but haven’t “woven the cord” to BobLee … but you have not unsubscribed either despite BobLee’s in-your-face politics, college allegiance, use of secret nicknames, or current obsession with “the Derm Mess”.  Your tolerance will be rewarded by reading “And You Know You Should Be Glad” by Bob Greene.


Swagger’s Stumper

 How was “Crabby Appleton” always described?


 CROATAN” was carved on the tree by “The Lost Colony”.

    If you take Swagger’s suggestion on the book, it will help your getting thru the Stanley Cup emotional roller coaster.  For anyone having “Dr. Jimmy The Gas Passer” in the O.R on Thursday morning … God help you … that man was in no emotional condition to anesthesize anyone after Game #5.  Boots had to hit him w/ a tanquilizer dart to get him home from the RBC.

   Hurricane Alberto kyboshed BobLee and Kid’s kayaking adventure down the Alligator River but that’s OK.  It was a spur of the moment thing, not a longstanding “look forward to”.  By the way … there is no “short cut” to The Outer Banks.  Reaching the headwaters of the Nile takes less time.  The Swaggers will stick to “Morehead” as “our beach”.

  “Prince Tassel Loafer” (aka “The Dickster”) got a contract extension and that’s fine.  Ain’t it amazing how many lives were affected when T.A.’s knee touched the ground in Kenan in October 2004?

   My new sports hero is Charles E. Kupchella – President of the University of North Dakota.  Yo, Ersky, put this guy’s name on your short list when Meezie goes away.  More on Charles in a future column.  He rocks!

Want to e-mail BobLee?  

[email protected]

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