I know, I’ve been gone a long time. It’s not that I haven’t been writing. In fact I’m making significant progress on the sequel to my first novel. A friend of mine (to whom I text an occasional daily word count) told me I had written over 25,000 words in a week and that’s in addition to the 300,000 that were already on the digital page.
But, that’s not the point of this post.
I’m not sure why this is so much more appealing than a bucket list but it is. The devil’s in the details…
If you knew you would die peacefully in your sleep fifty days from now what would you do with the fifty days?
Sure, it’s an old idea but still worth thinking about. One of the first questions is how much of your time would be spent with a focus on other people like family and significant others. It’s not likely you’d be able to force the sense of special into the next fifty days just because you knew on the fifty-first day it would be lights out for you. You would get just as tired of other folks (and they of you) as ever. I’m thinking I might save the hanging with loved ones deal for the last five days, or maybe seven. That seems like plenty when I think about it.
Still, what to do with the rest of the time?
I am a tad disappointed with what I’ve come up with, but here’s what I have. I think I might rent a really nice car and drive to Arizona and play golf at some good golf courses, the type of course I’d ordinarily scratch off the list because of their cost. I’d stay at good hotels, probably nothing overly pricey but places with decent spas and well-stocked bars, that’s for sure. I’m thinking those last fifty days should each end with a damn good massage followed by equally damn good cocktails.
After Arizona, I’d spend a couple days driving to the California coast. I’m not sure I’d play Pebble. It’s never seemed like the kind of golf-course experience I would enjoy though the location is something I would love to see again, especially this time of year. No, I think I’d drive north from there and look for out of the way courses that I’ve never heard of. The weather would determine how far north I’d go. Remember, this is fifty days from now so I’m confining myself to warm weather fun and that means golf.
I’ve got a bud in Bend, Oregon and another one in Portland. I’m not thinking I’d tell them about the fifty days but I would try to make the time fun and to say some things that are true and to soak in everything that’s made them both so special to me for so many years. At some point I would probably work my way east, maybe to Coeur d’Alene. I’ve spent a quite a bit of time on the west coast but not so much time in the slightly east of the west coast. The last time I spent time with my buddy in Bend I was happily surprised by how right that region felt to me. It’s another kind of high desert, one with forests and rivers. Anyway, I understand there are some damn good golf courses there and I’d like to see if it’s true.
Then, it’s back to the west and a few days in Reno and a few more in Sacramento with another good friend. By the way, there are some fine golf courses in Sacramento and I would br looking to play some of the tracks I didn’t want to spend the cash on before the fifty days thing came along. I’m thinking especially of Del Paso CC. Hey if it was good enough for the 1957 U.S. Women’s Amateur it should be good enough for me, right? I guess I should start looking for a member who will invite me. From there it would be east to Truckee and Tahoe and there I’d be thinking of Lake Tahoe Golf Course, Northstar and then back to reality at the delightful looking Carson Valley Golf Course. From, there it would be down US 395 to Mammoth where I’d hit Snowcreek and Sierra Star, two courses I’ve played dozens of times and always enjoyed.
Driving south on 395 might be difficult, especially at that stage of the trip. There would be so many memories flitting about and the lingering realization that all trips, especially this one, come to an end. But, that ending would be something special and I think it would feel special, too. There is something otherworldly about the Eastern Sierra, something suggestive of something, many things really, beyond what is seen or known. It would be the road that would take me home for that last time.
If there was any time left and I rather think there would be, I’d roll back to Palm Springs and Palm Desert for some early morning and late afternoon golf. I’d need more than fifty days just to get started on all of the desert’s good golf courses but I know where I’d play.
And that makes me wonder, how would you think about they way you play, if you knew you’re playing the last rounds of your life?
Would you care about how you played? Would you be happy with whatever game you got from the gods of golf or might the experience end up leaving you with with the banal wish that you’d played better? Perhaps knowing with certainty how genuinely finite the number of your days on a golf course truly are might bring to sharp focus the answer to the question of why you play.
What is it you enjoy?
My last thing is this. I did a rough tally of how much those fifty days would cost me (money wise), and it’s a lot, but not so much that it would break me. I could do it and not have to resort to a mac & cheese diet after my last round. And that, of course, makes me wonder why I don’t just do it? Why save those fifty days for when I’m older, less fit, less able to walk a golf course carrying my own bag? Why wait until very likely never?
Because there will never be a better fifty days than the next, no matter how long you’re lucky enough to be swinging the club.