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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A Father & Son Bond: Golf and Varsity Hot Dogs

Recently, I took a business trip out of town and as usual the flight from Orlando to Atlanta was full, thank God for early seat assignment, because nobody takes pleasure in being the man in the middle seat, it is like a dentist drilling in your mouth without Novocain. As I joined two gentlemen who were already settled for take-off, my intent was to get situated and sleep. After numerous attempts of uncomfortable adjustments in my confined yet plush seating arrangements on Delta’s 757, I was finally sitting shoulder to shoulder, when the man in the middle seat commented, “it must be hard traveling [based on your size],” my reply was yes.

It is not unusual or uncommon for passengers to strike up conversation prior to take off however, once airborne pleasantries typically fade into cabin silence and jet engine noise. This flight took on a slightly different quest; I met Henry and John, father and son. There was something special about these men besides their gentle spirit, and southern drawl it was their kindred friendship more commonly found in life long childhood friends, yet this bond was between father and son. Every man who has a son long for such fellowship, it was a wonderful sight to see a father and son sitting side by side talking and enjoying each other’s company.

At first glance I assumed both were traveling on business until John enlightened me of their two day adventure hitting the prestigious links of ARNOLD PALMER’S BAY HILL CLUB & LODGE in Florida, which by the way is home of Palmer’s annual Golf Invitational where such greats as KJ Choi, Sergio Garcia, Phil Mickelson, and Tiger Woods have fared well. I could hear their excitement as each man tagged teamed discussing their adventure of playing Bay Hill, all while capturing a photo of Golf Legend Arnold Palmer and not to leave out a snapshot of his custom made golf cart. Through the duration of our flight, I heard passion from a son who loved spending time with his father and in between quick glances out the window and short moments of child amazement; father also expressed the joy of spending time with son.

As we flew over the imaginary state line of Florida and Georgia, our channel of communication was filled with more sport adventures from Georgia and Texas football, to baseball back to golf. The more in-depth our conversation became, my spirit was sensing a deeper connection greater than three men talking sports. It’s funny how God’s plan differs from your own when you allow Him to take charge. At one moment I allowed self to get in the way by not wanting to ask the not so popular question about God yet I could feel His presence; when three or more come together in my name I am there… Like Tiger sizing up a forty foot putt, I finally asked, “What do you attribute to your close relationship?” John replied family, church, honoring your mother and father, as well as God. After another quick glance out the window of God’s sky-blue, father, Henry interjected mostly God; He has been the center of our life.

What is the status of your family relationship? So many families have been destroyed due to a house divided, filled with anger, bitterness and strife. The Father Son and Holy Spirit have been locked out causing love not to live there anymore. Ego and pride has caused families to slide off course of Christ’s green fairways of life because three difficult words: I love you, sorry and help me. Jesus word clearly states do not let the sun go down on anger Eph. 4:26. Life is too short for families to harbor disagreements which give place for the devil.

The take away from this encounter, God don’t make mistakes there was a reason for our conversation, in which I appreciate God allowing our connection, secondly, I witnessed a strong presence of love, which is the key to a happy life. Just through our brief interaction, love is very relevant to their relationship. I saw a son who enjoyed his father and a father, who is now retired, cherishing his son. So often we speak of our love for others yet we never implement the action which is required with Love such as this duo. John stated he told his wife he does it for his father while Henry echoed his wife believes he is doing it for the son. But I know otherwise they do it for each other. Their long talks of sports, leisure times playing golf or just enjoying each other’s company is priceless.

Atlanta's The Varsity - V
As the pilot announced “please prepare for our approach landing” I asked John where did he see himself five years from now, with a slight smile on his face he was content as to where he is now and if he could spend more time like this with his father ,” I would not change a thing”. Which lead to asking what was the next planned destination, as of now nothing, just a stop by the world famous Varsity before heading home. It’s something about the big red ‘V’ for Varsity in Midtown Atlanta, its nostalgia has an alluring effect on natives and adults in their golden years just like Henry who was excited to make a pit stop for a chili dog and a P.C. (that’s Varsity lingo for Plain chocolate milk served with ice). Well on second thought John took a mulligan, a do over this time it will be dogs and water.

As we reached the dog leg of our conversation, we shook hands and parted by saying we will be praying for each other. While watching my row mates go their separate ways I could not help but to reminisce of the times my dad and I shared together. Now older and wiser I think of the words he left for me a month before giving up the ghost; take hold of my words with all your heart, keep my commands and you will live. Get Wisdom and understanding. I also miss the times we spent talking and eating some of his mystery dishes. One thing for sure my new friends in Christ had a great time playing a round golf and experiencing the everlasting chorus; "What'll ya have? What'll ya have? What'll ya have? Have your order in your mind and your money in your hand!" Make sure to take another trip for two Father Henry and Son John continue enjoying life, sports and a pair dogs all the way!

Tigner James

1 comment:

  1. Blogging is the new poetry. I find it wonderful and amazing in many ways.



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