Thursday, April 18, 2013
In this season of arts, culture and sports celebrations, my nearest and dearest have imbibed in all three. The most heartening to us was our coinciding family reunion.
My brother Dan enters the Masters lottery each year for tickets to the coveted practice rounds at Augusta Georgia’s yearly summit of golf tournaments. He’s been pretty successful and always shares his good fortune with family members. This year the four winning tickets were shared by Dan, and our brother Mike, who flew in from Texas along with Mike’s wife Jeannette. The Augusta-bound quartet was completed by my son and son-in-law, David and Todd respectively.
Both brothers are avid golfers, Dave is a sometimes player who keeps trying to get on the course more often. Todd doesn’t play golf and has no desire to. However, he was excited to take part in something he says he’s read about and watched on television for years.
The Texas contingent arrived in time for the Flowertown Festival and as our daughter Cathy lives close to Azalea Park, we headquartered there for our festival participation. Our youngest, Mary Clare and her family, came down from Lexington to join the good times.
The female members of the family plied the festival paths most frequently and among the things the women – and a man or two – helped the local economy with included a sushi platter and plates, a butterfly feeder shaped like a giant bronze tulip, a bottle tree and what my mother would have called a “do-flicky.” It’s a wind sculpture boasting a tennis-ball size crystal and a smaller colored orb which wind their way down a metal spiral, powered by the wind and/or the accompanying battery-powered motor. The balls catch the sun and throw off delightful rainbows of light.
We shared dinners at our local homes and eateries. The fare included barbecue, grilled turkey tenderloins, shrimp and grits, gumbo and as a bon voyage party entrée, she crab soup. (This, I strongly suspect, is one of the major reasons Mike comes to South Carolina!) It was an event-filled week, but the most meaningful aspect was time we spent together, no matter where. We shared family updates, looked at pictures of grandchildren and heard impressions of the Augusta trip.
David had been there several times, more than 20 years ago. He says it’s both the same and different. “There are more comforts, including expanded on-site parking, convenience stops every four holes, free long distance calling (as cell phones are prohibited) an enormous gift shop and more security check points. But discounting all that modernization -- the design, beauty and incredibly manicured landscape haven’t changed at all.”
Todd called the experience “a stunner,” saying that while TV coverage gives you good close-ups of the players and the settings, there is no substitute for actually being there at least once to really take in the whole panorama.
My husband Jim was born and raised in Augusta, played on his high school golf team, worked at the Augusta National helping in the press tent and in crowd control. He even got to play the course a few times as his team sponsor was a club member Jim says that course has always been impeccable. “You can’t find a weed in the rough.”
Know what? That pretty much describes our reunion as well.