By the time you read this humble offering, I’ll be out of the country for the first time in, well, in a long, long time. My destination is not too exotic, though compared to where I’ve travelled since the lockdown kicked in now more than two years ago, it’s a different planet.
Yes, I’ll be in Florida (though many Canadians who have visited there already think it’s a different planet) with my twin brother and my brother-in-law restarting our annual golf pilgrimage that was suspended, like everything else, back in the spring of 2020. So traumatized have I been by the pandemic, I’d completely forgotten until just now that I even wrote my April 2020 column about our annual golf trip to Florida.
I see by the email trail that I innocently submitted the piece to my intrepid editor around March 12. And then, the next day, the NBA suspended the rest of their season tipping that first Covid domino that would lead to a complete shutdown. Needless to say, we never made that trip to Florida, and haven’t since, at least until now. (I say that in optimistic hope that nothing thwarts this year’s adventure. But who knows, I may well have jinxed the whole thing by writing about it, just like I did two years ago.) But surely, we’ll make it this year (he says with fingers, and every other appendage, crossed).
I can report that I am definitely ready to get out of the house and swing a golf club in the warm Florida sun. I doubt the two-year layoff has affected my game much, but I’ll just keep that idea to myself in case I’m struggling in the early games and need a convenient and convincing excuse. As is our tradition, we’ll play one round of golf every morning for the five days that we’re there, finishing up around 10:30 or 11:00. Then we’ll zip back to my brother-in-law’s home just in time to plant ourselves on his couch to watch hours on end of the Masters golf tournament. (It’s no coincidence that our trip is timed to coincide with the Masters.) We’ll make brief but numerous trips out to the pool and hot tub all afternoon, but watching golf, right after playing golf, is really how we spend the lion’s share of our time when in Florida. Oh yes, there is also the chronic and deleterious indulging in a vast variety of snack foods.
One of the few outstanding questions about the trip is whether we’ll feel comfortable going out to dinner while we’re down there. The jury is still out on that one, but our brother-in-law is a doctor (which might explain why he’s such a good golfer) so we’ll take his advice. It may be that we’ll be cooking for ourselves most nights, but after afternoons of stuffing our gullets with chips, cheezies, pretzels, and barbecued, honey-roasted peanuts, I don’t imagine we’ll need much for dinner. Given the time of year, it won’t be all golf, all the time. After all, we fully expect the Maple Leafs to be in the playoffs, so we’ll likely spend some of our evenings streaming the games and cheering on our beloved Leafs, hopefully to a first-round victory. (There I’ve gone and jinxed it again!)
I can assure you, we are more ready than you can imagine for this trip. I’ve purchased new golf shoes, had my clubs regripped, washed the dozen or so pairs of low-cut socks that I found moldering in my golf bag, acquired two dozen golf balls (that should almost last me through my first round), and stocked up on SPF 70 sunscreen to ensure I’ll return to Canada paler than when I left – none of which is likely to improve my score, but we are ready. We are so ready.
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, all published by McClelland & Stewart. His most recent, Operation Angus, is now in bookstores.