A Black Crow Taunted Me
A true story about a black crow that cruelly taunted me on a golf course.
NOTE: Chosen for further distribution by Medium.
In my younger days, I played golf quite a bit. As I’ve gotten older, my trips to a golf course have become infrequent. The last time I played was a year ago. I probably would have played since that time, but, of course, the coronavirus put a stop to that.
So right now, I’m left with my golf memories, and I have a lot of those from playing over the years. I’ve played at various golf courses, mostly military-operated facilities since I am a veteran, and the fees for playing are much cheaper than at private golf clubs.
At one point, I used to be a pretty good golfer with a decent handicap. But as the years wore on, my body started to wear out, and I would often wind up with some kind of injury or another. My lower back, in particular, started giving me fits. It’s not much fun trying to play a good round of golf when you’re hurting. But I often gave it a go anyway, although I rarely had a decent score.
I’ve certainly had many adventures on the golf course. If there’s a sand trap anywhere around, I’ll usually find a way to land in it. If there’s heavy rough on the sides of a wide-open fairway, my ball has a knack for getting in it and forcing me to hack my way out.
And if there’s a stand of trees along the side of the course, you can bet good money that I won’t miss getting in the middle of them. One time, I confidently decided to hit a shot through a bunch of trees to get back on the fairway — big mistake. My ball hit a tree several feet in front of me and then rocketed straight back toward me and struck me hard in the chest. Man, did that hurt. So much for my confidence.
And don’t get me started about water hazards. If there’s a body of water anywhere near, then my ball would inevitably get wet. It was a rare day on the course when I could avoid getting penalty strokes for being somewhere I shouldn’t be. But that’s the life of amateur golfers, the so-called “weekend warriors” of golf.
However, there’s one day on a golf course that stands out above all others. I was playing eighteen holes on a tough course at Sewell’s Point in Norfolk, Virginia. As was often the case, I started okay and then ran into some trouble on the front nine. So I was a little frustrated going into the turn before playing the 10th hole.
As was my custom after finishing nine holes, I stopped at the club’s little snack bar to quickly grab some food before heading out to the tee on the 10th hole to start the back nine. This time I bought a hotdog, which was already ready for me to get it and go. You don’t have much time at the turn because if you’re too slow, you’ll get other golfers backed up behind you, which is a definite no-no.
So I took my hotdog, placed it in the little tray area inside my golf cart, and then hit my ball toward the 10th hole. So far, so good. I think I got a bogey on that hole, which was my norm. After playing the 10th hole, I drove my cart a short distance to reach the 11th hole. Because the pace of play was fast with these first two holes on the back 9, I hadn’t had a chance to even take one bite out of my hotdog yet.
I got out of my cart on the 11th hole and went to the tee box to get ready to hit the ball with my driver. As always, I intended to hit my ball as straight and as far as possible on that lengthy hole. As I stood there taking a few practice swings, that’s when a bizarre thing happened.
A black crow had gone into my golf cart and grabbed my precious hotdog. He then flew right in front of me, not more than a few feet away, with the hotdog in his mouth. To make matters worse, he turned sideways and looked at me when he flew by.
And that, my friends, is the true story of how a black crow stole my hotdog and taunted me with it as he flew right in front of my face. My golfing buddies had a great laugh that day at my hotdog misfortune.
I can laugh about it now, but when it happened long ago, I was pretty mad. Those darn crows are not only smart but pretty mean, as well.
I’ve since forgiven that bird. But the moral of my golf story is to always put your food inside the golf bag pocket and zip it up. If a crow is smart enough to unzip something, then it’s earned that food.
“It is not enough to say the crow flies purposefully, or heavily, or rowingly, or whatever. There are no words to capture the infinite depth of crowiness in the crow’s flight. All we can do is use a word as an indicator, or a whole bunch of words as a general directive. But the ominous thing in the crow’s flight, the bare-faced, bandit thing, the tattered beggarly gipsy thing, the caressing and shaping yet slightly clumsy gesture of the down-stroke, as if the wings were both too heavy and too powerful, and the headlong sort of merriment, the macabre pantomime ghoulishness and the undertaker sleekness — you could go on for a very long time with phrases of that sort and still have completely missed your instant, glimpse knowledge of the world of the crow’s wingbeat. And a bookload of such descriptions is immediately rubbish when you look up and see the crow flying.”
― Ted Hughes, Poetry in the Making: An Anthology
Thanks for reading. (Copyright Terry Mansfield. All rights reserved.)
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