Jim O'Leary

Waverly Star

By Jim O'Leary

An e-mail newsletter for and about Waverly people, used with permission in the HLW Herald and on this web site.

 Sept. 2, 2002

I am not able to play golf. I discovered that in 1954, when I hacked away at the golf course in Buffalo.

The many golf balls I lost that day are most likely still there somewhere. I played my one and only time that day with Bob Simons, who was running the Waverly Recreation Program that summer.

Bob was good at everything, including playing golf, as a raw beginner. In his retirement now, Bob is still playing golf in Denver, and I am sure with great skill.

But, even though I couldn't hit a golf ball if my life depended on it, I have always admired the game and the people who play it either as amateurs or professionals.

I watched every minute of the recent PGA tournament at Hazeltine in Chaska. I was very proud of Minnesota.

All those millionaires on the tour said it was the best ambience they had ever seen, with the best galleries, the best refreshment tents, and the friendliest people, besides being the best run tournament they had ever seen. And hurrah for Beem, winner, who came in one stroke under Tiger Woods. Beem is from Texas!

Tiger Woods doesn't run to superlatives, but he also praised Minnesota to the skies. I doubt he has anything good to say about Texas.

At Hazeltine, they even had planted flower beds in the refreshment tents, complete with fresh daisies and daffodils and plenty of good Minnesota Lutheran potato salad.

City people may wonder why a column on golf should turn up in The Waverly Star, but rural Minnesota knows that for recreation among farmers, golf is number one, far ahead of bowling or Whist. It is a very small town in Minnesota indeed which doesn't sport its own golf course.

In Texas' small towns, it is the rodeo chutes you see, and even the tiniest of towns in Texas have arenas for the rodeos.

There is another difference between golf and rodeoing - to get into a chute and drop down on a Brahma bull or an unbroken bronco, you need to be drunk; but in golf, the more sober you are, the better.

Which brings me, finally, to the business at hand - a column on golf.

As you regular readers know, I have been in contact with Waverly's own Dan Herbst. His wife, Karen, whom Dan says is bound for sainthood, told me when I called about his deadline that Dan was incommunicado and unable to keep the promise he had made to write something for "The Waverly Star."

He was at the PGA! He finally sent a message via e-mail and I hope to run in place of the column he promised me. That'll show him.

Here is his message below:

"James, the PGA was a great experience.

"I worked there four days as a volunteer and really enjoyed it. Some of the moments warmed my heart.

"I was working a gated path from the 18th green to the clubhouse the last day of the practice round on Wednesday, when last year's winner, David Toms, came down the entire line across from me and signed autographs for over a half hour.

"A young girl on my side of the chute said 'Mr. Toms, would you please come to our side. All the other players have been going down that side.'

"He turned around and came to her and signed autographs on my side within inches of me, and walked the ropes for the kids for over another half hour.

"Just when he was leaving to go to the clubhouse, three little gals said 'Mr. Toms, please sign our visors under the fence.'

"He got down on his hands and knees and signed all three, then winked at me, and went into the clubhouse. I rooted for him after that, but he was having a bad time and did not make the cut.

"On Saturday evening, when the golf was through and Texan Justin Leonard was leading the pack, he went into the club house for something quick to eat, and then went to the practice round before dark.

"He walked the chute to the practice tee and a lady asked me if it was okay to ask for his autograph, since they are permitted only during the practice rounds, and not when the tournament is in process.

"I told her to go for it. She held out her hat and Justin stopped and signed the hat, which belonged to her son. She broke down in tears, because her son could not be there, and she took his hat on a whim. She told me in tears that Justin Leonard is her son's golf idol.

"The players and the crowd were first class. For example, while working, I ran into a father and son combination from Washington, DC.

"He had taken his son on a car trip to Minnesota. He had no friends or family in Minnesota, but they took off anyway. He was able to get tickets for the practice round on Wednesday, see the Twins win at the Metrodome in the evening, and see the tournament round on Thursday.

"He said it was the thrill of their lives for himself and his 12-year-old son.

"On Friday, the two were getting back in his car and driving back to Washington, DC, to go back to work on Monday.

"Only in America.

"I could tell you 10 more of these stories, but I have already bored you. But in case you are wondering why I did not take the time for the column I promised you, this is my excuse.

(Editorial note: I had asked Dan to write me up his recollection of Waverly's Main Street in the '50s.)

"I guess I better do that pretty darn quick. Since I had no notes from my talk at the St. Mary's reunion on the businessmen of Waverly, I will have to get into one of my frequent BS modes and get it done while my memory is fresh.

"Good Night and I'll talk with you soon."

Dan Herbst

Gulp

I saw this in a doctor's office here in Corpus Christi:

There was a miniature cremation urn on the desk where you pay as you go out after the office visit. A sign was on the urn saying, "Contains the ashes of patients who complain."

Upon taking the top off, there on the bottom was a mirror, and I saw my own face looking back. I decided then and there no longer to be a curmudgeon when I went to see the doctor and pay my bill.

I will no longer chide the gum chewing receptionist or quarrel with the nurse, and I will be very nice to the doctor.

Facts from Great Britain

Perhaps my patient readers will not believe me when I tell them that the following gems of knowledge were not taken from the Internet, but gleaned from a Penguin Book published at Leeds in England in 1988, with illustrations by Judy Brown.

The book is called "The Do It Yourself Genius Kit," meaning, I suppose, that if you can master these facts, you are a genius.

These are the facts as presented by Penguin Books:

· the two largest cities in The Netherlands - Amsterdam and Rotterdam, are both below sea level. (No wonder drugs are legal there!)

· sailors traditionally wore gold earrings to pay for their burial in case they died away from home. (This reminds me of a burial at sea I read about in which the chaplain presiding said, "He has gone to a wetter place, but doesn't explain the millionaire baseball player who slid into second base and caused a game delay while everyone went to search for the $1,000 pearl earring he had lost while sliding in to second.)

· in the 1400s, the Black Death killed approximately 40 million people in Europe.

· more Italians live in New York than in Rome.

· Los Angeles contains more cars than people. (This is an easy one to believe if you have ever driven in LA)

· a French music teacher in the 19th century named his seven children Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, and Ti. (Whether they had perfect pitch or not has been lost to history.)

· there is a town in Sweden called A.

· there is a town in Norway called Hell.

· there is a town in France called Y. (This reminds me of the town in Montana where they voted to change the name of the town to Joe. I think I already told you that one.)

· there are more than 28 million cats in the USA (all of them on welfare. Which reminds me: Cats sleep 60 percent of the time. Why is it, then, we call a short snooze a cat nap?)

· the Jeep got its name from the original initials of the army vehicle, GP, which stood for "general purpose vehicle."

· no animals have been domesticated in the last 4,000 years (I think this includes cats, which just sort of moved in.)

· the evangelist Billy Graham used to preach that heaven was exactly 1,600 miles above the earth.

· horses can sleep standing up (and often do, especially when I am on the back of one of them.)

Toodle loo.


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