After a two-year pandemic pause, we finally rekindled our annual golf pilgrimage to Florida in early April. Yes, we made it. And I promised, or at least threatened, to report back upon our return.
I had a speaking gig in Quebec City the evening before our trip, so it was a very early morning as I flew back to Toronto the next morning on the 5:14 a.m. flight to catch my connection to Orlando. I met my brother, Tim, at Pearson, and thankfully, our Florida flight departed on time. I should point out that Tim had enough Aeroplan points to fly twice around the world in the comfort of first class, so he was in the fancy section up front with the champagne flutes and eggs benedict. Meanwhile, I was back in steerage trying to shoehorn first, my carry-on bag into the overhead compartment, and then myself into what passed for a passenger’s seat. Eventually, we were given a tiny little package of pretzels, which barely constituted a mouthful. But they were good.
Some of you may be wondering why Tim didn’t use some of his extra points to upgrade his dear twin brother’s ticket so we could both enjoy the luxuries of Business Class service. I’m still wondering, too. I don’t want to be unfair to Tim; when we landed, he did wait for me in the terminal and even let me pull his carry-on bag as well as mine, so I was balanced with one in each hand. So considerate.
Our brother-in-law picked us up in Orlando’s humidity, and we headed straight for the golf course. It was great to be golfing again, even at our level. We both played pretty well considering it had been months since we’d last held a club in our hands. Thankfully, all the hours of practice as kids, hitting nine irons around Talbot Park, entrenched our swings at an early age and kept them relatively intact all these years later.
Of course, as mentioned in a previous column, we brilliantly time our golf trip to coincide with the Masters at Augusta. So, our days are planned out with split second precision. We’re on the course at 7:15 every morning. We play our 18 holes in record time (if not record scores), and hightail it back to my brother-in-law’s home just in time to fire up the 56-inch high-definition 4K TV for the start of the Masters coverage at 11:00. During lulls in the Augusta action, we jump into the overheated whirlpool, and sometimes even into the regular pool. I tend to favour the whirlpool as the water temperature in the main pool is only about 88°F. As you can imagine, that’s a little chilly in comparison. We were too lazy to move the big flat screen TV out to the pool deck so we could watch golf, after playing golf, while lounging in the whirlpool. So, we were in and out of the pool and back in front of the TV, multiple times each day.
We also ate very healthy and nutritious food from the day we arrived till our departure nearly a week later. I got my fibre from four different flavours of Doritos. We had to eat four or five different brands of potato chips in unspeakable quantities to meet our daily vegetable quota, but it was a sacrifice we were willing to make. If you don’t have your health, you have nothing. There may also have been some ice cream to balance out the potato intake. And we cooked up some great meals to complement the round-the-clock snacking. Oh, yes, and we slept, often in front of the TV in the middle of the afternoon with the Masters airing in the background. Sleep is important. When the Masters coverage ended for the day, we’d switch to the Leafs or the Blue Jays, and sometimes both. Heaven.
As for my golf, I was as inconsistent as I consistently am. One game I was 41 on the front nine and 51 on the back nine. Story of my life. But it was a welcome and memorable week away from Omicron. I already have next year’s trip etched in my calendar. I may want to buy shares in Doritos shortly before.
A two-time winner of the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour, Terry Fallis grew up in Leaside and is the award-winning writer of eight national bestsellers. His most recent, Operation Angus, is now in bookstores. You can also subscribe to his newsletter: https://terryfallis.substack.com.