Saturday, February 7, 2009


A good friend of mine, a recovering alcoholic, recently asked me to write a letter to a lady who is celebrating one year of sobriety. She attends AA meetings prison. I have never met her. But she is one of "us"...and that is all I need to know. I will write the letter, as will many others in recovery.

As my friend put it: " It is a gift of hope and encouragement to someone who needs it and appreciates it. Each time they call her name at mail call she just is THE highlight of her day". And that brings back a wonderful memory for me.

In the early 1950s I was working in New York City in the Broadcasting business. I was six months into my first job, and my career was starting to take off. I had just been promoted from "mail boy" to "office boy" in the sales department. I was basking in my early success... then I got "the letter". Greetings, it said, you are on your way to war...the Korean war for you children out there.

Three months later I found myself on a troop train in the middle of this god-forsaken country at the end of the world. I was on my way to the front, lonely and very scared. Then I heard this voice yell "mail call"... on a moving train of all places. And he had a letter for me.

It was a chain letter that unfolded to about six feet long . It contained messages from over fifty of my former fellow workers. I can't begin to tell you what that meant to me. Like my friend above I was beaming and it certainly was the highlight of my day. I will always cherish that letter and memory.

It is very fragile after all of these years...but I laid it out on my dining room table for the picture you see above.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

It's not how old you are.......

Can you believe this? It has been less than a week and here I am posting again.... the "spirit" has moved me. At my age I am grateful for anything that will move me. How about another decade?

Today is my 79 birthday. No way I would live this long. But here I am and I intend to make the most of it. My favorite quote is "It's not how old you's HOW you are old."

Most days I can't wait to get up in the morning...would you believe 4am? I just spent two hours on the internet catching up on the news, checking out my favorite bloggers, and a bunch of other things. Now I will start the morning exercise routine, have breakfast, and get ready for a few hours of fresh air on the golf course.

Golf is still my passion. I will play 18 holes with two friends in an hour or so. Back to the house for lunch, and run some errands before my nap...never ever miss the nap. " The untroubled sleep of the pure of heart" that somewhere.

Then some reading, dinner and an AA meeting, where perhaps I can share my experience, strength, and hope with another alcoholic. Whatever the day brings, I always seem to have something or someone to be enthusiastic about....that is the secret to happiness for me.

Of course I've had my share of loss and dissapointment over the years, including some serious health issues. But as we say in AA , I do not regret the past nor do I wish to shut the door on it.

All I have is today...and today I choose to be happy.

I wish the same for all you.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Just kidding of course. This is my first post in a long time...too long! . No excuses really. I just got tired of trying to meet my self imposed weekly schedule. That part was not fun anymore. But I loved the writing part....when I had something to write about.

Well, I have a new schedule. I will post "whenever the spirit moves me". So here I am....having fun once again. Why did it take so long for me to figure this out ? I know... don't say it!!....Senior moment??. Not anymore. I'm getting so old its' now called "Senior Months".

And then there was the relentless pressure from my three blogging pals. Naomi recently wrote: "How wonderful that you have been too busy to blog....And this from a man who is supposedly retired---Well, GOOD for you! " That did it!! I see Ginny regulary and she picks on me all of the time....and Judy nailed me at our recent luncheon. I'm so glad that they cared enough.

Not much has changed in my life since my last post...Clearly, I am getting older...and now that I think about it I will have plenty to say about that. So stay tuned and be patient with me. I will give it my best shot.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

My Tim Russert story

After taking early retirement from NBC News in 1990 , I took a job representing the interests of
technical employees in broadcasting.

At the time many of the NBC camera crews were complaining regularly to me about the long hours they were working with little relief. They insisted that I do something about it.

So I went over to NBC to meet with the newly hired Bureau Chief, Tim Russert. I walked into his office with a kind of sheepish grin on my face to make my complaint. He and I both knew that normally the guys love the overtime because of the extra money they earn.

So Tim's response was to chuckle at my predicament. But he did want to know all about me and my family and everything else including baseball. And as I left he said. " I have a meeting with the news staff tomorrow and I will take care of your problem

In the course of the meeting the next day with about 100 employees gathered in the newsroom Tim said the following: "Bud Pettway was in my office yesterday raising hell with me about the work load. We have to be more sensitive to this problem."

Of course they were not, but the camera crews all heard it and knew I had done my job. Tim, the consummate politician, made sure of that.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Siege of Port Hudson

(Note: this will be my last entry for a while. Thanks for your interest)

For 48 days in 1863, Confederate troops defended a fort that stood on top of a bluff above the Mississippi River; for all of those 48 days, Federal soldiers pummeled the Southerners with cannon shot and rifle fire.

Finally, just five days after the Confederates were defeated at Vicksburg, Port Hudson surrendered to the Union. With these two victories, the North could finally claim undisputed control of the Mississippi River.

Here is a letter from Sgt. Maxson after that battle:

Camp Parapet
July 10th 1863

Dear Father,

Port Hudson is ours! General Gardner surrendered to his old school mate General Banks on the morning of the 8th of July, and on the morning of the 9th we made our triumphal march into the rebel stronghold, and took possession of the fortifications, prisoners and everything therein. I can't tell exactly the number of prisoners or the number of guns, as General Banks has not issued the orders to us yet, but as near as we can judge there is about 3500 fighting men and citizens and all included, and about 60 pieces of artillery and 10 siege guns, a greater part of which are disabled.
The enlisted men are to be paroled, but the officers are to be sent north and held as prisoners of war.

They surrendered just in time to save us another desperate charge as there would have been another assault made on the 9th led by the volunteer storming columns. We should have taken it without doubt but there would have been a very heavy loss.

But you better believe me we're satisfied to have the privilege of marching in uncontested. They might have held out 10 days longer if we had left them alone, but their rations were gone.

Vicksburg surrendered on the evening of the 4th of July. The Great Father of Waters is free. One mighty stride toward crushing the rebellion has been taken, and now I can go home satisfied, feeling my time has come."

Note: Sgt. Maxson, was promoted to Lieutenant after that battle, returned home, and died on
March 16, 1864 " age 22, of a disease contracted in that memorable siege.

Monday, April 28, 2008

21st Birthday Letter to His Son

Mystic River,
January 23, 1863
Friday evening

Dear Son,

I commence a letter tonight as a birthday present to you, it being the day on which you become lawfully a man entitled to the all the rights and privilege of action of an American Citizen, also responsible for all of your actions and doings whether good or bad, morally and legally, and unless you should by some unforeseen Providence become dependent, you are bound to sustain yourself and do your part to sustain the varied responsibilities and charities that belong to an American Citizen.

I am proud that you have been so prompt and willing to sustain the Government and its Principles as you have, and I hope that you will always be as prompt in every good work and cause which calls upon you for aid and support.

With some failings, you have some noble traits of character, and my desire and advice is and has been that you would overcome the former and cultivate the latter. A wise man said that a good name was better than precious ointment, and it is more durable than riches.

One of the most prominent virtues that you want to cultivate is Patience, which is very necessary in your present position as well as all other respect to your seniors and superiors, and kindness and forbearance to all will win for you favor and friends.

But, above all, and first of all, and absolutely to be desired, is the favor of God and his approval which every thing that is great and good and prepared us for all the varied responsibilities, duties and obligation that rest upon us.

An experience of near 40 years has proved to me the importance of beginning young to cultivate the moral and religious attributes of your character which comprise all that is necessary to make us good and useful in our day and generations, and for happiness in the world to come.

I have a good deal of confidence in you and understand the many temptations and provocations of Camp life to lead to bad habits and the cultivation of undesirable traits of character so that you need not take my advice constant advice on this point in my letters as an indication that I have great fears that you will debase yourself, for I think you have too much pride and self respect for that.

But I am anxious that you should improve even Camp life to gain the respect and confidence of all with whom you associate, and if kind Providence should spare you to return in safety, that you will be better prepared for the active duties of life and business which awaits you.

We have news that Burnside is across, or crossing the Rappahanock and we are in expectation of hearing news and hope it may be favorable for Union and Freedom, but we hardly hope for the Army of Bull Run. As it is late I am done for tonight.

Yours affectionately,

W.E. Maxson

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Civil War Letters

On one of my trips to visit my mother back in the early 1950s I noticed a beautiful old desk that she had recently inherited from her father.

Stuffed into one of the pigeon holes were 35 letters that were written by my great grandfather to his son during the Civil War. They were all in the original envelopes stamped and dated from 1863 to 1865. They are now in my possession and will eventually be donated to the Mystic Seaport Museum.

The letters are a treasure trove of family life during the war, and describe in great detail his ship building activity during that period. Here is what he wrote to his son on "Sunday evening, January 4, 1863."

"We raised our new flag on the Ship house on New Years for the first time, and the next day on receipt of the Proclamation of President Lincoln freeing over 3 millions of slaves. We hope we are commencing a new Era. At any rate the Government has taken the stand and if they are properly backed up by the People it must succeed sooner or later. We are progressing and I think that we shall not go back"

more to come.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

My Civil War Heritage

I grew up listening to a lot of arguing over the Civil War. I'm still not sure who won. My parents were direct descendants of soldiers on both sides. My mother, the Yankee, was born in Mystic Connecticut. My Rebel dad was raised in Richmond Virginia.

The gentleman on the the left is my Great Grandfather, Major Thomas Brander. Major Brander served with the Virginia Volunteers. He took part in nearly all of the battles of the Army of Northern Virginia. He was Commander of the Letcher Artillery Battery during Pickets Charge at Gettysburg.

He died at age 60 in 1900 and held the honorary rank of Major-General, commanding the Virginia Division, United Confederate Veterans.

The soldier on the right is Sgt. Herbert Maxson, the son of my Great Grandfather on my mothers side. He was a member of Company K, 26th Regiment of the Connecticut volunteers. He survived the war but died at the age of 22 of a disease he contracted during the siege of Port Hudson.

His father, William Ellery Maxson owned a shipyard in Mystic. He built Clipper ships and also the second Ironclad, a ship called the Galena.

I have much memorabilia that I will share in future entries.

( Nothing symbolic about position of pictures--can't line them up)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Back Home Again

My childhood friend and golfing buddy Nancy Stone died yesterday of brain cancer. She told me of her diagnosis on a visit to my house, quite coincidentally on the day that I posted the following story, November 2, 2007. She was a very special lady who is now free of pain and at peace. I will miss her a lot.

I grew up in a beautiful little seaport town in Massachusetts with a biblical name-- Padanarum. The population then was about seven hundred.

When I was six years old my parents bought a home there. And on moving day, my new next door neighbor, a little girl named Nancy, came to visit.

It was love at first sight. Not Nancy--the pony she was riding. She and I and the pony quickly became best friends.

Nancy and I walked to elementary school together every day for the next three years. And she and her seven brothers and sisters were my early playmates and friends well into our teens.

Fast forward sixty years. Now retired and living in Pinehurst, I returned to Padanarum to visit my brother. I ran into one of Nancy's brothers. And when I asked about her he said: "Nancy and her husband Fred retired to Pinehurst three years ago".

When I returned home Nancy had already called and left a message. She and her husband had a house three holes from mine , walking distance, on the same golf course. There are only about forty golf courses in this area. How's that for small world!

We have played many rounds of golf together since that day. And we reminisce a lot. We even remember our secret hiding places.

And the games we played--Kick the Can, Ringalevio, Red Light, Simon Says.

Remember that old saying: "you can't go home again". Not true for Nancy and me. We do it every time we get together.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

More Willard

Long before his Today show fame Williard was a very popular disc jockey and weatherman for the NBC station in Washington DC. He loved to tell us stories about his farm in Western Virginia.

I remember that at least once a week he would come to work with dozens of eggs that he would sell to employees. And if he didn't sell them all he was known to stop at a local shopping center on the way home and peddle them to his adoring fans. He really did that.

Williard also presided at our annual employee service awards luncheon. I will never forget the day that he shared the following story.

He told us that he had just purchased a $50,000 prized bull for the purpose of expanding his herd. But he said the problem was that this bull lay around in the fields every day munching grass. No interest in the cows at all.

So Williard brought in a veterinarian who prescribed a medicine guaranteed to work. And did it ever!!

"That bull was crazy in love the next day. No cow was safe"

And then Williard said: " I don't know what that medicine was"...

"It tasted a little like peppermint."

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I bought it on EBAY!

If you have been following my blog you know that I've mentioned Ebay more than a few times. I have bought and sold more than two hundred items in the past five years.

Everything from Pinehurst memorabilia to golf equipment to reading glasses. Except for the memorabilia, most of what I buy is new, and almost always significantly lower in price than anything available locally.

There are a lot of scare stories out there about Ebay. Most have to do with bidding scams, stolen goods and the like. Highly unlikely I think if you pay attention to the "feedback" numbers.

Ebay has a rating system for buyers and sellers. You get to rate the seller and he gets to rate you. And the comments are there for you to read along with the percentage of those ratings that are favorable. It represents your permanent reputation as a Ebay member.

In my case, I currently have 204 ratings which are 100 % positive. And that rating is so important to me that whenever I sell anything, I guarantee that the buyer can return the item and I will pay the shipping. I have never had to do that.

So my rule is that I will only deal with Ebay members who have a positive rating of at least 99% for a minimum of 50 transactions. This tells me that the seller is honest and will go out of his or her way to make sure that I am satisfied with my purchase. There are many many dealers on Ebay who have 100% positive ratings that run into the thousands.

As for price there is no contest. For example, I have bought many golf clubs on Ebay. A typical driver today sells for $300 to $400 at your local golf shop. The same club on Ebay will be at least $100 cheaper...and brand new.

And many of the sellers are store front golf shops. There is a tremendous mark-up on golf clubs. So they pay the overhead from store bought sales and quietly add to the profit with their Ebay site. Of course they don't advertise that fact. There are thousands of Ebay sellers who do the same.

Then there are the reading glasses. I lose them all of the time. I just bought 12 pair for $25 including shipping. Yes I know you can find them at Dollar General for a buck. Not like these... and in any size you need. Check me out. Go to Ebay and type in "reading glasses".

Now, about the golf cart. You may recall that mine drowned one day when the brakes accidentally released while I was putting on a nearby green and it rolled into a lake . The cart was fifteen years old and never ran the same after that dunking.

So I got on Ebay and found one just like it. The seller had over 350 positive ratings and the golf cart looked like it was brand new. The owner had never had it on the golf course. He used it as a neighborhood vehicle. And when it arrived it was spotless. Even had that new cart smell.

A new golf cart today costs somewhere. between seven and ten thousand dollars. Mine cost $3000. I have had the cart for a year now and it still looks brand new. And the brakes work.

I gave the guy a positive rating.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Guest Blogger

Michael Gartner is a former president of NBC News and Pulitzer prize winning editorial writer. He writes beautifully and this is one of my favorites:

My father never drove a car. Well, that's not quite right. I should say I never saw him drive a car.

He quit driving in 1927, when he was 25 years old, and the last car he drove was a 1926 Whippet.

"In those days," he told me when he was in his 90s, "to drive a car you had to do things with your hands, and do things with your feet, and look every which way, and I decided you could walk through life and enjoy it or drive through life and miss it."

At which point my mother, a sometimes salty Irishwoman, chimed in: "Oh, bull----!" she said. "He hit a horse." "Well," my father said, "there was that, too."

So my brother and I grew up in a household without a car. The neighbors all had cars -- the Kollingses next door had a green 1941 Dodge, the VanLaninghams across the street a gray 1936 Plymouth, the Hopsons two doors down a black 1941 Ford -- but we had none.

My father, a newspaperman in Des Moines , would take the streetcar to work and, often as not, walk the 3 miles home. If he took the streetcar home, my mother and brother and I would walk the three blocks to the streetcar stop, meet him and walk home together.

My brother, David, was born in 1935, and I was born in 1938, and sometimes, at dinner, we'd ask how come all the neighbors had cars but we had none. "No one in the family drives," my mother would explain, and that was that.

But, sometimes, my father would say, "But as soon as one of you boys turns 16, we'll get one." It was as if he wasn't sure which one of us would turn 16 first.

But, sure enough , my brother turned 16 before I did, so in 1951 my parents bought a used 1950 Chevrolet from a friend who ran the parts department at a Chevy dealership downtown.

It was a four-door, white model, stick shift, fender skirts, loaded with everything, and, since my parents didn't drive, it more or less became my brother's car.

Having a car but not being able to drive didn't bother my father, but it didn't make sense to my mother. So in 1952, when she was 43 years old, she asked a friend to teach her to drive. She learned in a nearby cemetery, the place where I learned to drive the following year and where, a generation later, I took my two sons to practice driving. The cemetery probably was my father's idea. "Who can your mother hurt in the cemetery?" I remember him saying more than once.

For the next 45 years or so, until she was 90, my mother was the driver in the family. Neither she nor my father had any sense of direction, but he loaded up on maps -- though they seldom left the city limits -- and appointed himself navigator. It seemed to work.

Still, they both continued to walk a lot. My mother was a devout Catholic, and my father an equally devout agnostic, an arrangement that didn't seem to bother either of them through their 75 years of marriage. (Yes, 75 years, and they were deeply in love the entire time.)

He retired when he was 70, and nearly every morning for the next 20 years or so, he would walk with her the mile to St. Augustin's Church. She would walk down and sit in the front pew, and he would wait in the back until he saw which of the parish's two priests was on duty that morning. If it was the pastor, my father then would go out and take a 2-mile walk, meeting my mother at the end of the service and walking her home.

If it was the assistant pastor, he'd take just a 1-mile walk and then head back to the church. He called the priests "Father Fast" and "Father Slow."

After he retired, my father almost always accompanied my mother whenever she drove anywhere, even if he had no reason to go along. If she were going to the beauty parlor, he'd sit in the car and read, or go take a stroll or, if it was summer, have her keep the engine running so he could listen to the Cubs game on the radio. In the evening, then, when I'd stop by, he'd explain: "The Cubs lost again. The millionaire on second base made a bad throw to the millionaire on first base, so the multimillionaire on third base scored."

If she were going to the grocery store, he would go along to carry the bags out -- and to make sure she loaded up on ice cream. As I said, he was always the navigator, and once, when he was 95 and she was 88 and still driving, he said to me, "Do you want to know the secret of a long life?"

"I guess so," I said, knowing it probably would be something bizarre "No left turns," he said.
"What?" I asked. "No left turns," he repeated. "Several years ago, your mother and I read an article that said most accidents that old people are in happen when they turn left in front of oncoming traffic.

As you get older, your eyesight worsens, and you can lose your depth perception, it said. So your mother and I decided never again to make a left turn." "What?" I said again. "No left turns," he said. "Think about it. Three rights are the same as a left, and that's a lot safer. So we always make three rights."

"You're kidding!" I said, and I turned to my mother for support "No," she said, "your father is right. We make three rights. It works." But then she added: "Except when your father loses count." I was driving at the time, and I almost drove off the road as I started laughing. "Loses count?" I asked. "Yes," my father admitted, "that sometimes happens. But it's not a problem. You just make seven rights, and you're okay again." I couldn't resist. "Do you ever go for 11?" I asked.

"No," he said " If we miss it at seven, we just come home and call it a bad day. Besides, nothing in life is so important it can't be put off another day or another week." My mother was never in an accident, but one evening she handed me her car keys and said she had decided to quit driving. That was in 1999, when she was 90.

She lived four more years, until 2003. My father died the next year, at 102. They both died in the bungalow they had moved into in 1937 and bought a few years later for $3,000. (Sixty years later, my brother and I paid $8,000 to have a shower put in the tiny bathroom -- the house had never had one. My father would have died then and there if he knew the shower cost nearly three times what he paid for the house.)

He continued to walk daily -- he had me get him a treadmill when he was 101 because he was afraid he'd fall on the icy sidewalks but wanted to keep exercising -- and he was of sound mind and sound body until the moment he died.

One September afternoon in 2004, he and my son went with me when I had to give a talk in a neighboring town, and it was clear to all three of us that he was wearing out, though we had the usual wide-ranging conversation about politics and newspapers and things in the news.

A few weeks earlier, he had told my son, "You know, Mike, the first hundred years are a lot easier than the second hundred." At one point in our drive that Saturday, he said, "You know, I'm probably not going to live much longer." "You're probably right," I said. "Why would you say that?" He countered, somewhat irritated "Because you're 102 years old," I said. "Yes," he said, "you're right." He stayed in bed all the next day.

That night, I suggested to my son and daughter that we sit up with him through the night.

He appreciated it, he said, though at one point, apparently seeing us look gloomy, he said:

"I would like to make an announcement. No one in this room is dead yet"

An hour or so later, he spoke his last words:

"I want you to know," he said, clearly and lucidly, "that I am in no pain. I am very comfortable. And I have had as happy a life as anyone on this earth could ever have."

A short time later, he died.

I miss him a lot, and I think about him a lot. I've wondered now and then how it was that my family and I were so lucky that he lived so long.

I can't figure out if it was because he walked through life, Or because he quit taking left turns. "

Life is too short to wake up with regrets. So love the people who treat you right. Forget about those who don't. Believe everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it. Nobody said life would be easy, they just promised it would most likely be worth it."

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Time for a laugh

Most of you will remember Williard Scott. He was a regular on the Today show for about fifteen years and is now retired. He continues to substitute for Al Roker from time to time.

For many years before that he was a disc jockey and very popular weather guy for the local station owned by NBC in Washington.

Those of us who worked with him back then loved him to death. He was an extremely funny man on camera, and even more so off. Here is my favorite Williard story.

We had a disc jockey at the station who billed himself as "The Magnificent Greek". "It's the end of the week with the Magnificent Greek" he announced every Friday.

Magnificent loved to cruise around town in his Cadillac convertible and wave to his adoring fans...none of whom were his fellow workers.

So one day he drove into work and parked his showboat in the back parking lot... with the top down. Not a cloud in the sky. And then he headed to his windowless studio deep in the bowels of the building.

And hour later Williard arrived in his pickup truck. He spots the Greeks new Cadillac with the top down... and his day is made.

Williard calmly walked into the building, went to his locker, put on his yellow rain slicker and matching hat, grabbed his umbrella and headed for the shower.

Five minutes later, sloshing down the hall, Williard walks into the Greeks studio while he is on the air. Shaking his umbrella he says " boy I sure didn't see that one coming!!"

Magnificent looked up at Williard, hit the commercial button, went over his desk, sprinted down the hall... and out into the sun drenched parking lot.

He never spoke to Williard again after that day.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The Journey

It's been about six months since I started all of this nonsense. And it's taken that long for me to understand and appreciate what "the journey" is all about. And why it's all that matters.

I wrote about my friend Nancy who grew up with me in New England, and who became my neighbor in Pinehurst sixty years later. She has seven brothers and sisters.

And because that story was circulated among her family and their friends, I am now back in touch with about a dozen childhood friends from my home town.

When I finished "The Legends" I sent it to the local paper. I wanted the golf writer to tell the world about this 82 year old guy who scores ten shots under his age every time that he plays. He wrote that story.

He also wrote one about me and this blog-- complete with pictures of my beloved golf cart. I met a bunch of new friends among the members with that one. And more grief than I need from my golfing buddies. But I give and well as I get--and we had a lot of laughs over it.

And wonderful people from the blogging world. Especially the three who never fail to give me encouragement. I've written before about my special pal Ginny and her wonderful blog entitled "Goldendaze".

She printed up my story about the Christmas marathon and handed it out at AA meetings. And a lot of sober people told me how important it was for them to be reminded that they are not alone.

Judy is a gifted floral designer who most recently did the Christmas decorations at the Governor's mansion in Raleigh. She has a blog called "Imagine" and writes from the heart about whatever is going on in her life almost daily.

And "The Old Old Lady of The Hills". The very talented Naomi Caryl who happened to be working a block from me when Kennedy was assassinated. She wrote the music for a play called "Spoon River Anthology" then playing at the Booth Theatre. She is also an accomplished actress, singer, musician, artist and photographer--believe me-- she is all of that and then some.

Naomi is somewhat housebound today because of a health issue. But she continues to entertain from a beautiful theatre she has created. And the stage is her blog. Take a minute and see what I mean. It's listed to the right with the others. Just click on it. And when you get there be sure to read "100 things about me" under her picture.

So that's been the journey for me so far. Except for a few people close to me I have no idea who reads this blog or if they like it. I hope that they do. But if they don't it will not matter.

Because I took on a new challenge, I love it, and a lot of neat things have happened along the way. And that matters.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

My Gratitude List for 2007

1. Having admitted that I am powerless over alcohol, I chose not to drink. Without this blessing there would be no list.

2. Good health has been restored and I am at peace--just for today.

3. Living my life one day at a time, enjoying my new found freedom. Being aware that freedom is not free.

4. Continuing to grow-- thanks to the fellowship and the many friends who are there for me.

5. The new challenges and possibilities. Knowing it's the journey that matters, not the results.

6. All of the love in my life, and the ability to love back.

7. The friends I have made--on the golf course, the meetings, right here . I live alone--but I am not alone.

8. My kids and their kids . And the thought that someday their children and grandchildren will get to know me right here in cyberspace and perhaps learn from my experience.

9. To be able to laugh at myself, and sometimes make others laugh.

10. Understanding that my attitude of gratitude is the primary tool for my recovery -- and the pure joy of living.

"You can't think your way into right living.. but you can live your way into right thinking."

Happy New Year My Friends

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Tis the Season to be Sober

For some people that is. Sadly only a small percentage of us recover from the nightmare of alcoholism. It's been a long time for me and I am very grateful.

But I will never forget the pain and the guilt and the despair from those days . I don't want to . It's a memory that I keep green. Because it's a reminder of what would happen if I picked up a drink , and how blessed I am today.

And I remember the fear and worry that consumed me as my very first sober Christmas approached. I could not imagine getting through Christmas without a drink-and New Years-we used to call that amateur night.

I did make it- and the reason was that my AA friends were there for me. A constant reminder of something we tell each other all the time. "You are not alone". And so it is today.

We have a wonderful tradition for the holidays. It's called the Holiday Marathon. And it takes place in our AA clubhouse in Aberdeen.

During the next ten days our clubhouse will be open from noon to midnight. And many of us volunteer to be there for any member who needs help, or just wants to talk. Especially the new people, many of whom are young and alone , living in half way houses, and separated from there families and loved ones.

And on Christmas day there is the turkey and all of the trimmings for anyone who cares to join us.

So if you ask how AA works, the answer is simple. " Just fine thank you".

Merry Christmas everyone.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Merry Christmas Mr. President

I have many wonderful memories from my working days in Washington. One of them is the annual White House Christmas party for the press. Now this is a party!

And it's not just for the superstars. Back then, if you worked in the news business, and you had a White House pass, you were in.

And we all did- motorcycle couriers, camera crews, editors, correspondents-those of us who had to visit the press briefing room with any regularity.

It begins with the invitation that you see above. My wife knew it was coming and she was standing at the door when the mailman arrived-made sure he didn't lose it.

I never did get used to passing through the White House gate without the goose bumps. But to do it at Christmas, with a loved one on your arm--wow!!

First there is the receiving line to greet the President and First Lady. Ellen never forgot what Jimmy Carter said to her that night. "You are very pretty" .

We were free to wander through all of the public rooms-no velvet rope. You could touch and feel and walk right up to the magnificent Christmas tree that stretched to the ceiling of the Blue Room.

You would not believe the food. Tables ladened with smoked trout and salmon, crab claws, roast beef, fruitcake, a chocolate yule log, eggnog, champagne and a Christmas punch.

And then the dancing in the East Room with the Marine Chamber Orchestra. At President Fords first party in office he appeared on the dance floor. And in seconds a mile long line of ladies, my wife up front, waiting to cut in--just for a few steps--but bragging rights forever.

With all of that the highlight for me was the view from the White House. Looking out at the mall and the Washington Monument and the National Christmas tree. I know I'm not the only one who thought "I can't believe that I'm standing here".

Finally the witching hour. Doors start to close. Velvet ropes appear as ushers hustle people along until you are back on the curb-in the cold.

A night to remember--for sure.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Are you lost again Bud?

Every time I post a new entry on this blog my kids start to bug me. "when are you going to do a story about getting lost".

Well, I might as well get it over with. It's really no big deal.

I am directionally challanged. There are millions of us. Somewhere along the way I lost a gene or DNA, or something. My kids and most of my friends find it amusing.

The truth is that I am not bothered by this disorder at all. I have turned it into a positive experience--mostly.

For example, one night I went to the movies with Ellen. It was at one of those mega movie places. I left for popcorn. And I returned to the wrong movie. It was a tad distracting as I wandered up and down the aisle looking for her. But a much better movie- and the popcorn was all mine.

Then there was the business trip by car from Washington DC to Princeton New Jersey. Somehow I ended up in Delaware--had to cross a river on a ferry to get back on I-95. Delaware is quite a beautiful state, and I will return some day. Perhaps on my way to Florida this winter.

You would love Erin Hills, a community of townhomes somewhere in Pinehurst. I have a few friends who live near there I think, because every time I visit them, coming and going, I end up at Erin Hills. I have been lost there so often the residents wave to me. Wonderfully warm people who go out of their way to point me in the right direction

And I just love those guys who will describe a place to me as being on the "northwest corner". You have got to be kidding! Tell you what--you drive me to the the Southeast corner and, if there is a visible setting sun, I will go right to it--almost every time.

And then there was the morning that I drove over to my friend Willies house to pick him up for our Friday golf group. I knocked on the door, no answer--figured he had left on his own, so I left. Turned out to be the wrong house, I didn't see Willie waving frantically from his house way up on a nearby hill.

He had to awaken his wife Sandy to drive him to the golf course--at 6am. This story has no happy ending. Sandy did not speak to me for months. Willie, to this day, gives me a kind of perfunctory nod.

But, on the whole, what might be a liability for some of you has been a series of wonderful serendipities for me. I have traveled to some facinating places and met some terrific people.

I invite you to meet them and see some of these places. Just meet me at----------------never mind.

(aside to my kids: " I did it--OK!!! Now go to your room!!!)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

November 22, 1963

" A moment that will be emblazoned in your memory and you will never forget long as you live." Frank McGee, NBC News, New York.

I was having lunch at the Astor Hotel with four friends from NBC News. . We left our food and the bill and literally ran the two blocks back to the office.

The scene outside of the newsroom was chaotic. Employees came from everywhere in the building to observe. We had to push our way through the crowd and the security people to get in the door.

What we saw was a reflection of what we all felt- shock, disbelief, confusion and grief. Veteran correspondents and reporters wiping away tears as they tried to make sense of what was to become the most moving and historic passage in broadcasting history.

Back then I was the Administrator of news writers. One of them was assigned to obituaries.

All major TV news organizations have on file pre-produced obituaries of notable individuals who are still alive; allowing detailed obituaries to appear very quickly after these people die.

And this writer was also suppose to be available as back-up in the newsroom when needed. But he rarely was . " I'm still working on the JFK obit" he would tell me . "Let him finish it" my boss would say.

He hadn't even started. And on the day of the assasination, NBC had no obituary on file of the President of the United States.

That writer was dismissed the same day . Five of our top news producers worked through the night to get it on the air.

I can remember that story because I was a part of it. But the rest, after forty four years, is just a blur.

I do remember that four days and 70 hours of coverage later, some of us got to go home. After a wrenching marathon that would conclude only after the president's burial at Arlington National Cemetery.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

One for the Ageless

Meet the Legends. Every year Pinehurst honors those stalwart band of Octogenarians who play the game of golf with skill, cunning, and most of all great enthusiasm.

This year there were fifty eight players, ranging in age from 80 to 90. And every one of them finished the 18 hole tournament, and then joined in the celebration event to crown the champion.

This years champion is 82 year old Mike Asztalos. He was also last years champion. And the year before that. Mike is a legend among the Legends.

And check his winning scores over three years: 70, 72, 71. Who do you know that can shoot a score that is eight to eleven shots under his age-just about every time he plays? His handicap is 2. Unbelievable!!

But these fun loving guys are all winners. Eighty plus years old and still out there playing the game they love, and enjoying every minute of it--no matter the score.

If the Legends ever need a slogan I have one in mind:

"It's not how old you are. It's HOW you are old".

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Time for a few laughs

Four old guys, all in their eighties, were playing golf at Pinehurst. After hitting their drives on one hole, they drove out to the fairway for their second shot. They could only find three balls.

After a long search for the missing ball, one of the players said rather sheepishly: "You know what - I forgot to hit"

This one is on me. I was playing one day with three of my good friends. On one hole I hit my drive into some impossible rough. So I drove my cart as close as I could to this jungle, spent forever looking for the ball, and finally gave up.

When I returned to the cart my clubs were missing. So now I've lost the ball and all my clubs. I make a mental note not to share this story with anyone. I can hear it now. Bud is back on the sauce.

We all lose a ball once in a while. But a whole bag of get the drift. Well, what I didn't know is that my wise-ass golfing buddies saw the clubs fall off my cart, picked them up, and hid in the trees.

Meanwhile, I'm wandering around with no ball, no clubs, and wondering why my foursome has suddenly become a onesome. As I reflect on this painful experience, I have now concluded that this story is not funny at all!

But this one is. A Pinehurst employee with playing privlidges came out on his day off for a relaxing day of golf. But it was hardly that. He was playing badly. His drives were all over the place, he was shanking balls and missing three inch putts. And it got worse.

On the last hole he hit his drive into the woods, punched out to the fairway and hit the next ball over the green into the lake. So he calmly drove his cart to the waters edge, picked up his bag of clubs, and flung it into the water. And then he stormed off to the parking lot--didn't even wave goodbye.

Five minutes later he is back. He sloshes into water up to his hips, drags the bag to shore, retrieves his wallet and car keys -- and flings the bag back into the lake.

They say that there is still the lingering odor of burnt rubber in the parking lot.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Back Home Again

I grew up in a beautiful little seaport town in Massachusetts with a biblical name-- Padanaram. The population then was about seven hundred.

When I was six years old my parents bought a home there. And on moving day, my new next door neighbor, a little girl named Nancy, came to visit.

It was love at first sight. Not Nancy--the pony she was riding. She and I and the pony quickly became best friends.

Nancy and I walked to elementary school together every day for the next three years. And she and her seven brothers and sisters were my early playmates and friends well into our teens.

Fast forward sixty years. Now retired and living in Pinehurst, I returned to Padanarum to visit my brother. I ran into one of Nancy's brothers. And when I asked about her he said: "Nancy and her husband Fred retired to Pinehurst three years ago".

When I returned home Nancy had already called and left a message. She and her husband had a house three holes from mine , walking distance, on the same golf course. There are only about forty golf courses in this area. How's that for small world!

We have played many rounds of golf together since that day. And we reminisce a lot. We even remember our secret hiding places.

And the games we played--Kick the Can, Ringalevio, Red Light, Simon Says.

Remember that old saying: "you can't go home again". Not true for Nancy and me. We do it every time we get together.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Do you remember?

Does the gentleman on the right look familiar? You may remember the Timex commercials. He was their spokeman for twenty years. That's him, John Cameron Swayze.

But before all of that he was the very first network news anchor for NBC News. His show was called "The Camel News Caravan". I remember, because I was his mail boy.

My very first job at NBC in New York City was in the mail room. They called us mail boys back then and there were about twenty five of us. The dress code was jacket and tie at all times. And every hour on the hour we delivered the mail to the NBC offices throughout the RCA building in Rockefeller Center.

Swayze's office was on my route, which was the fifth floor. And on my final run of the day I had strict instructions not to enter his office, but to slide the mail under the door. He was busy memorizing his script.

Precisely fifteen minutes before air time , he would head down to Hurley's bar on the ground floor, where a very dry martini awaited him. He would take his reserved seat at the end of the bar, down the drink, and then return to the studio for the news.

Swayze is best remembered for his breezy catch-phrases. On the news set it was "lets go hopscotching around the world". And the famous Timex line "It takes a liking and keeps on ticking".

John Cameron Swayze is the first person shown in the montage of former anchors that currently begins the NBC Nightly News. He died in 1995.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Do you have a minute?

Whenever I discover something new and interesting like blogging , it's usually a year or so after everyone else has.

And then there is this compulsion to share my enthusiasm with anyone who will listen. Nobody does. It must be an age thing. I'm starting to repeat myself.

The good news is that I can now write about it. And, in the likely event that I will repeat myself here, my next entry will be coming from "The Pinehurst Rest Home For Old Bloggers". If they don't have a golf team I'm not going.

Anyway, I'm having fun . My friend Ginny talked me into all of this. She writes a wonderful blog called "Goldendaze" and I highly recommend it. I've created a link on the right that will take you there. Not yet, I'm just warming up.

A blog can be anything you want it to be. It can be a commentary on news or a particular subject, wierd random thoughts like mine, or a more personal diary. You can make it as private as you wish. There are controls that will limit access to anyone--family, friends, or just you. And it will be out there in internet land forever. Your grandchildrens' grandchildren will get to know you.

I've never done any writing other than business letters and the personal notes. But I try to write like I talk and to keep it brief. That's the result of a painful lesson I learned a long time ago .

I wrote my first big deal memorandum early in my career to a company Vice President. It was three pages long and it took two days to write. I thought it was brilliant.

So the VPs assistant, a guy named Tom, appeared at my desk a few days later with my memo in hand. He asked me all kinds of questions and I was certain my career was about to take off. When he took a break to answer a phone call I had a chance to read the scribbling across the top of my memo. It said "Tom, what did he say?".

Now you can click on "Ginny's blog". Tell her that Bud said "Hi"

Saturday, October 6, 2007


Forget that line about a picture being worth a thousand words. This is truly a sad story.

That dry golf cart you see above was a prized possesion. Not a scratch in over 5000 miles. So unique that fellow golfers could spot me from 200 yards. I just loved the attention. They stopped making this baby in 1990, and like the Edsel, it was way ahead of its time. Notice the sleek lines. The front panel lifts up to reveal a trunk. And it's the only cart in Pinehurst with Rack and Pinion Steering and McPherson Struts--whatever that means.

Over the years I have added some personal touches. Like the bucket seats--found those on Ebay. And the symbolic Pinehurst black Fox Squirrel on the roof. Is that class or what! The Saint Christopher medal no longer hangs from the rear view mirror. That went the day I ran the cart into a tree while in a spiritual trance.

So I parked this beauty on a hill one day while I was putting on a nearby green. I heard the brakes release on the cart. And I watched in horror as it rolled about fifty yards down the hill into the lake. I still break out in a cold sweat when I think about it.

Anyway, with complete disregard for my own life, I charged down the hill and leaped into the lake to retrieve my clubs. I went back a second time for the squirrel. A Pinehurst ranger drove me home, snickering all the way.

The next morning they pulled the cart out with a tractor and towed it back to the house. It was an unbelievable mess. Mud everywhere, the brakes were gone, rear bumper destroyed..

Now, this is the sad part. It just floors me how some people will respond to anothers grief. It started when a complete stranger said to me "is that Aqua Cart?". Most of my ex friends thought it was hysterical. I got tons of email. The final blow came when a ranger and five of his buddies, with great ceremony, presented me with a block of wood--to place behind the tire when on a hill. Isn't that sick?

That cart died a few weeks later and now rests in a corner of my garage. Fortunately, I found another one just like it--on Ebay of all places. And, at the suggestion of fifty seven of my dearest friends, there are no bucket seats and no squirrel. "Tacky" was a word I heard a lot.

So I think I've found closure and life goes on. There are still a few jerks out there who love to remind me of that painful experience. I know it's coming as they approach my new cart. Same stupid question every time. So I put a little sign on the hood. "No, it is NOT waterproof!!"

Saturday, September 29, 2007

My Handicap! Are you kidding?

Sammy Davis Jr. loved the game of golf. He was once asked what his handicap was and he said: "handicap? are you kidding? I'm a short, ugly, one-eyed, black Jew!"

Let me tell you about the handicaps of some very special people that I know.

Bic Long has been a member of Pinehurst for more than twenty years. He lost his right leg in an automobile accident years ago and he wears a prothesis. He has won the National Amputee Championship eight times, and the Pinehurst Club Championship four times. The latter being the one for golfers with two arms and two legs. He is a show off. Wears shorts all of the time so that we can see his wooden leg. So would I.

Then there is my friend Jim, a part time member who lives up in the mountains. He has one arm and a club foot. The last time we played he beat me by five shots.

One day I played behind one of our members who was recovering from a stroke. Apparently he still had a balance problem. Because his equipment included a long pole with a cross piece at the top--like a very tall T. And he braced that T against his chest as he swung at the ball. It was slow going that day. Nobody cared.

We have a blind member. The one time that I played with him he had a caddy who did the seeing. He would line him up, give him the yardage, and tell him to swing away. He practices a lot. The other day I saw him on the practice putting green. He would lay his cane on the green, pace it off, hit the ball and listen for the sound.

We all know the golf nuts with respiratory problems. They unhook the air line, hit the ball, hook up again, and drive on to the next shot. Ask them about it--the answers always the same. "it beats sittin at home"

Now, about Harry Wilson. Harry was a much loved member of AA. He founded the Wilson Group, a motley bunch of recovering drunks who knew the true meaning of fellowship. We played a different course in the area every Friday. And did we have fun.

Harry was our leader. He made up the schedule, reserved the courses, did it all. And then came the cancer. . He continued to play until he had to call it quits.

His handicap - he was dying. And one day he asked his wife Lucy to take him out to the golf course one last time. She called five of his friends to help and out they went. He played two holes. And it took two hours. We lost this very special man two weeks later.

Lucy, also a recovering alcoholic, passed away last year. She was not a golfer. But if you would ask her about that, she would smile and say "Harry and I played our last round together."

Friday, September 21, 2007

My Friend John

I would like you to meet my good friend John Oliver. We have known each other for fifteen years, played hundreds of rounds of golf together...and we laugh a lot...mostly at each other.

He came to Pinehurst from Fairfield Connecticut where he owned a plant and tree nursery. The New York Times once called it "the Tiffany of Nurserys."

We have much in common. In another life we were big time boozers. He now has 33 years of sobriety and I have 30. We each lost a wife to lung cancer. And we have this friendly competition going on about everything. Here are just a few examples.

One day John took a golf lesson. So he shows up to play with me and he hits the ball 20 yards past mine--every time. He could never do that. Worse, he gloats. As the ball sails over mine he will turn and give me this stupid smile that just radiates arrogance and superiority. He finally tells me his secret. The Teaching pro closed his stance. I close my stance-NOT. So I do what I do best. I make his life as uncomfortble as possible. It didn't take long. He finally looked at me and said. " if it's gonna mean our friendship, I'll open up my stance." He really said that.

We compete over some of the dumbest things imaginable. I mean who cares who has been married the most? And it can get out of hand. We got into this thing about who gets up the most often at night to go to the bathroom. It's a guy thing. But John had to share this with his lovely wife Marilyn, who can raise an eyebrow higher than anyone. Anyway, at the end of the second week I was well ahead. The turning point came the night he managed to make it all the way through-well until four in the morning. So he gets back in bed and beaming with pride, he shares this record setting feat with Marilyn. And she says: "why don't you call Bud".

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

My Significant Other

We have been together for ten years. He feeds me, plays with me, holds me tight. I have the run of the house. The living room is a mess, dishes are piled high in the kitchen. But it's home, and it's mine, and I love it.

And then one day it all came crashing down. SHE moved in. With no warning at all, I found myself on the losing end of a menage a trois. The living room was tidied up. The dirty dishes dissapeared, it was awful. And worse, he had one of those cute lovey dovey names for her. I think it was Wacky.

Wacky did not like me at all. She would stare at me a lot and try to sweet talk me into moving out of my favorite spots. She had this Southern drawl that made Trent Lott sound like a Yankee. And a huge hangup about cat hair. She could spot one, and I mean one, from fifty yards--a white one. So I did my best to accommodate her. I left them everywhere, the living room couch, her favorite chair. I know it was passive aggressive, but I am a cat, I've been declawed--all I've got is passive aggressive.

Guess what. I was banned from the living room and the kitchen. My wandering days were over. And Wimpy, this man who was the love of my life, went along with it. Can you believe that!! And he has the nerve to call ME a pussycat!!

I don't recall how long this went on, it seemed like forever. And then one morning
SHE was gone. I don't know if it was a " me or the cat" situation . All I know is that the house is mine again, we are back together, and I am at peace.

One parting shot that I could not resist. Ten minutes after she left, I sent her an email. And it highlighted the picture you see above of me in repose on the living room couch.

This is what I wrote . " Dear Wacky, I can't tell you how much I miss you"

Yes, I know I'm a catty cat. But don't you just love happy endings?

Thanks for listening.


Thursday, August 30, 2007

In Loving Memory

Eight years ago today, August 30, 1999, I lost my beautiful wife Ellen to cancer. She was my best friend, soul mate, and golfing buddy. I want to tell you about her.

Ellen was born in Washington DC. She attended school there, and later went on to Marymount College. She and her husband John were happily married for twenty five years until his death in 1977. They are the parents of five children, now adults with children of their own.

We first met at a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous. I was new, she had eleven years of sobriety. We were good friends at first, then it became more than that, and four years later, in 1981, we were married.

Ellen was a tennis player at the time and had no interest in golf. She often said she could not understand why grown men got their kicks hitting a little white ball into a hole with a stick. Then one day she picked up a golf instruction book of mine, thumbed through it and said "I can play this game" And in no time at all the tennis lady became a complete and hopeless golf nut. We vacationed in Pinehurst many times after that, and in 1992 we both retired and bought a home in this beautiful place.

Yes, we played a lot of golf together, but there was so much more. We were both huge sports fans and News junkies. Redskins football, Georgetown basketball, Golf, Meet the Press, you name it. We taped everything so that it did not interfere with our favorite pastime. Sunday was always a big day for some event, and the kids would call in the evening, and the first thing they would always hear was "don't tell us the score, we are still watching".

Alcoholics Anonymous was her number one priority . She knew that the program saved her life, and made all of the other good things possible. She shared frequently at meetings, and when she did, everyone listened. She talked often about the people who reached out to her early in her sobriety, people like Pam and Florence, and Betty. She was very spiritual. Ellen kept a God Box on a shelf in her closet. And when something troubled her, over which she had no control, she would write it down and place it in the God Box. Her way of turning it over to the care of God. She truly lived her life one day at a time. And we all remember her saying "it's not the Lions and the Tigers that get you, it's the nats. Ellen had thirty three years of sobriety, and she walked like she talked.

And then there was this little Irish lady with a bit of a temper. We never argued. Not that I didn't try. She had a more effective way of handling our differences.. She simply stopped talking to me for a few days--drove me nuts. Three days was the worst. So I forgot to tape the Redskins Cowboys game. Big Deal!! Then, while I was in purgatory, she would make reminder notes of whatever was topical so that we could talk about it when my time was up.

Now about the "driving thing". I am not the best driver and everyone knows I get lost a lot. So Ellen insisted that she drive everywhere we went. The whole town knew It. It's so hard trying to look like a macho, in charge husband, slouched down in the passenger seat. We had a big white Lincoln at the time, and I suggested that we install a reading lamp in the rear and I would sit back there. I have no recollection of an audible response to that suggestion.

Ellen was always very open about expressing her feelings, particularly to those she loved. She had a unique way of telling us, it was never perfunctory. Now, if you happened to be someone who offended her in some way, Lord Have Mercy.

Her dearest friend was Neal. They were both Irish, similar upbringing, so much in common. Talking on the phone ten times a day was one. And the overnight shopping trips to wherever. Once a year they attended an AA retreat in Maryland, always timing it so that, when nature called, they were close to a Norstroms. Loved their bathrooms they used to say. Then there was the Weight Watcher thing. They were both very trim and I never understood why they joined. Turned out they were not going to the meetings at all. Once a week they would show up at WW for the "weigh in". Then they would head to Tammys' Restaurant for a guilt free, all you can eat dinner. She loved Neal.

And how she loved Pinehurst. Ellen took long walks every morning through the golf course, and on around into the village. She took it all in, the flowers and trees, the Carolina blue sky, and then come home and tell me all about it. She would often make a Gratitude List of those things, and the people she loved , especially her children. The last one was written two days before her death.

She is at rest today in a special place with the view that she loved the most.

I miss her a lot. We all do.

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

People who need People

Remember that Streisand song? Maybe I'm being a bit syrupy-but this is what Pinehurt golf is all about for me. The people that I meet. They come here from all over the world to play. And many come back to retire.

Competive golf is not for me. And I do not play with a regular group. I reserve a tee time every day and show up to see who I am playing with. I am never dissapointed.

The wonderful thing about Pinehurst golf is that it is very affordable for members. So we have retired school teachers, fireman, CEOs, people from all walks of life. And they all have a story.

Today it was a wonderful old couple I had never met who happened to be neighbors. And each had been previously married for fifty years. Together, they had 105 years of marriage.

One day I played with a member who modestly told me he was a fireman. He was in fact the number two Fire Chief for the Borough of Manhattan. He was there for 9/11 and told me many stories. Another time I played with a retired Secret Service Agent who was assigned to protect Bush 41.

Sometimes it's a celebrity of sorts. Remember Hal Lindon, the actor? He played a detective on TV for many years . Barney somebody. A nice guy, good golfer, we had a great time. And a couple of months ago I played golf with a United States Congressman.

Most of the time one or two players show up whom I have known for years. It's kind of like a coffee klatch. We kid each other, laugh a lot, and talk about everything. Over the years I have made hundreds of friends here. I love it.

And from time to time there are some very pleasant distractions. One day it was three lovely ladies whose husbands were playing in a tournament. We had a great time and they invited me to play with them the next two days. On the third day I heard one gal on the phone with her husband. She said "Boytoy" is with us again". You should be so lucky.

Finally, I must tell you about Bambi. I've forgotten her real name but Bambi fits.
One day I'm ready to tee off all by my lonesome when this blonde bombshell shows up on the first tee. She is dressed like one of those Hooters girls. Well somebody has to do it. So off we go down the fairway. She tells me that she is grieving over a busted romance and came here to get away from it all. Who better to help with her grief.

So we get to the first green and I am trying to make a 40 foot putt. As the ball rolled towards the hole, she started yelling "go in for Bud, go in for Bud". I'm not making this up. Is that sweet or not? I have no idea if the ball went in the cup. I can tell you that I was hopelessly in love before it stopped rolling.

Now these May-December things are fragile at best, and rarely last. This one did--for three holes. Our moment came as we were sharing our mutual love of music. We were in this beautiful setting, Carolina blue sky, birds tweeting and all that--when she uttered the words that will live with me forever. "Who is Frank Sinatra?"

Can you feel my pain?

Monday, August 13, 2007

Tis not about golf!!

My readership has skyrocketed in the last several weeks. And I want to thank both of you. Neither of you golf, and one of you has asked what it is that I do when I am not out there. My right eye starts to twitch when I get off golf, but I will give it a try.

My day always starts the same way. Coffee, and the Internet. I'm a News junkie. The New York Times always get me going with their liberal bias. That's followed by the Washington Post and several others. Then, the fun part, surfing the internet for Pinehurst memorabilia.

I am very much into Pinehurst history and the memorabilia associated with it. And Ebay is where I find a lot of it.

I have acquired many photographs of the area dating back to the early 1900s. Lots of picture postcards from the 20s and 30s. A wonderful Pinehurst brochure, 60 pages with as many photographs, dated 1914. Full page color advertisements for Pinehurst taken from Country Magazine, the magazine for the elite, taken in 1912.

I have acquired two Putterboy statues, solid bronze replicas of the famous one in front of the Pinehurst country club. They are hard to find, but you can buy one at Burchfields in the village for $1950.00. Mine were acquired for a fraction of that and one is now on consignment at Burchfields.

Music is a love of mine. I play the piano and the guitar. The piano is hooked up to my computer, allowing me to play along with the legends, particulalry my favorite, Earle Garner. I think I have every album he ever recorded. Garner is a gifted pianist who can't read a note. I can't read a note either--but gifted I ain't.

Recently, I discovered karaoke. So I had to make a disc of me singing Mac the Knife, and sent it to my kids. I do this stuff for laughs and the kids know its coming.

Then there is photography. I have a Mac computer, the best I think if you are into music and photography. There are currently 2,395 photographs stored in it. My camera goes everywhere with me.

I'm currently into gardening big time. Transplanted over 30 bushes this spring and summer, and the golf course side of my house is festooned with all kinds of petunias, maragolds, geraniums.

I have a book going most of the time. Currently, its The Kite Runner. Most of what I read falls into the suspense catagory, Grisham, Baldacci, Patterson etc. In non fiction one of the best I have read lately is "The World is Flat" by Thomas Friedman.

Then there are the AA meetings, celebrated 30 years of sobriety last week, movies, the beach, dining out, love to dance, all that stuff. Except for the beach, have no interest in travel. Been there, done that.

So thats the short version of live today--and I love it!!

Get a Life Puttrboy!!

Now, a word to those of you who are muttering "golf every day"? "Get at life!! " I know you are out there, my ears are ringing. So grit your teeth and read on.

As I write this, its 10:20 am. I have just finished playing 18 holes. A bit earlier than normal but not unusual. Most days I am home well before 11am. So, for this retiree, there is a full day ahead to pursue my many and varied
interests, intellectual of course. I will discuss this in a future blog, if I ever get off this golf kick.

First things first . There are the mundane chores. The cleaning lady comes tomorrow. I need to clean up for her. One day I will write a book about cleaning up for the cleaning lady. Its a pain and nobody talks about this stuff. Then there is the coffee. I prepared tomorrows coffee this morning before I left for the links. Unfortunately, the machine was still on and I forgot to set the timer. So tomorrows coffee perked a tad early-- like today. Its not the first time. I'm inclined to screw up like this on occassion. And that may explain why the lady who lives with me, my significant other if you will, is a cat. Her name is Scruffy, and, unlike some people I know, she has a boundless capacity for uncondtional love.

I need to rest. It's still early, so I have time for a pre-nap nap.

Please come back.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Retiree leading the good life

My good friend Ginny is the inspiration for this attempt at a blog. While I expect to live forever, my memory apparently has a shorter lifespan. So this an effort to share what I do remember, with my kids, their kids, and anyone else who cares.

I saw an ad the other day for banking services. It highlighted a guy saying to his banker " I want to play golf
every day". Guess what--I'm the guy!!! In 1992 I retired after more than 40 years employment in the broadcast news business. Ten minutes later, my wife Ellen and I were on the road to our favorite spot in the whole world, Pinehurst, North Carolina.

So if I have your attention, , you are either a golf nut, a relative, friend, just plain nuts, or one or more of the above. I am all of the above. A complete golf nut ,happly enjoying life in golf heaven--corny but true. Stay tuned while I figure out how to get this thing on the internet. Lots more to come.