SOUR GRAPES: A biking golfing get-away

By Jim Magdefrau

Should it be called a best-shot golf tournament, or the least bad shot tournament?

As you know, my get-away from the fast lane life of Benton County is to travel to the relaxed life of Page and Fremont Counties.

With a few college buddies, we golfed in Bellevue, NE, then traveled to Malvern, Imogene and Shenandoah for a bike ride, raising funds for the Wabash Trace Trail.

It was our first official get-together since we lost our friend Jeff. Each conversation came round to something Jeff might have said. We were his audience as he gave post-graduate level lectures on sports, politics, religion and food. With each pause in our conversations, the silence was where Jeff would have said something.

From his home, his brother and fellow college friend prepared gift bags for us. Golf tees, mugs, and golf balls with carefully painted strips on them, which was part of Jeff’s therapy.

That powered us through the four-man best ball tournament. No trees. A lot of prairie grass. And houses, which provided target practice for our errant drives.

When all was done, I somehow ended up with a gift certificate for a restaurant north of Omaha. It was for closest to the pin on the third shot of a Par 5. I was as close as one could be, because it went in. It was that one moment of competence that keeps me coming back for more moments. Sometimes we spend hours of effort just for that one moment.

The bike ride was also fun. On the ride was another crew remembering a lost friend, with shirts and koozies highlighting Warren Zevon’s quote on life, “Enjoy every sandwich.” They gave us free koozies in remembrance of their friend.

The course took half the time. I think it might be that we quit halfway. I’m still working out the math on that.

Two of the stops along the way had live music, which is the highlight for me. I was lucky enough to fill in and play on the third stop, Morrison Bridge, biking with a guitar on my back. It makes me glad I don’t play tuba.

I grin as I see the signs for the trail, Malvern, Shenandoah and Essex. I can remember the friends we’ve made in over 10 years of biking there. Each trip brings new friends and conversation.

It’s also nice to get back to Benton County and relax after a few days of the hectic lifestyle of Southwestern Iowa. We have some good friends here too.

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