Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Reunion at the "Greens"

The ringing of the phone jarred me from wherever it was that my mind had wandered into. The digital clock on the dashboard read 6:18 AM and I thought I knew where everyone was that might be calling me this early. I pulled my cell phone out of its holster and my heart seemed to skip a beat as I read the name displayed there.

“Geoff Lyons”

My mind started racing, thinking of all the possibilities that a call from him might mean…today of all days!

“Did he get lost?”
“Was Lynn’s mom ok?”
“Were they just leaving the house?”
“Did he change his mind about playing today?”

I pushed the green “connect” button on my Blackberry and as calmly as I could said, “hello”.

“You’re late!” came the familiar voice on the other end of the line. I smiled as I visualized the twinkle in his eye as he verbally chastised me for insisting that he leave early to be at the golf course in time just the night before. I explained that we were about three minutes away and then pushed the off button. “He made it”, I thought as I travelled the last two miles to the Tanwax Greens Golf course. And so started an amazing day!!

It didn’t turn out anything like I would have imagined it. In fact, a golf tournament had never even crossed my mind over the past year. Fishing maybe. Or even a Mariner’s baseball game. Perhaps even simply meeting for coffee. But golf….never. The truth is neither of them had even picked up a golf club in nearly a decade. For Geoff, it had been closer to three decades. But nevertheless this is what was bringing us all together.

It had really just started as a blanket invitation on our family website. “Anyone for golf?” the invitation read. I didn’t really get any takers. When my sister read the comment, she thought that her husband Walt might like to come up and play. He loves the game like I do. But it honestly never crossed my mind that my brothers might be interested in playing as well. But over the course of the next three weeks, after using my best marketing skills everyone confirmed that they would play. And now…the day was finally here!

Pulling into the parking lot with Deb and Walt in the car behind me, I parked next to Geoff's little Geo Metro and got out. We greeted each other with warm hugs…and warmer smiles and I wondered for just a second if we would see many more smiles throughout the day. After all, today would be the first time in nearly a decade that the Lyons’ family would all be together for anything other than a recent funeral. Our family had been fractured…no, broken for the past nine years and I knew that I had been a part of the wrecking crew. So today was even more important to me as a day of reconciliation for all of us. I knew deep in my heart that we all desired that…a family that could, and would, outwardly share the love we have for one another. The arena for that to occur just hadn’t been discovered…not until today.

Only a minute later, my older brother Frank arrived in his deep blue Jeep Liberty. As he pulled to a stop, I knew that this would be a defining moment…actually a moment that might define the rest of our family history. His door opened and he walked across the parking lot and each of us received a hug and a smile. As I watched, I was reminded of my ex-wife Paula and the relationship that she has with some of her closest friends. They can be apart and not speak for months and when they meet again, they pick up like there had never been a time of separation. That’s what appeared to be unfolding in front of me. Anyone observing this group of grey-haired men and woman on this early summer morning would never have guessed that this wasn’t a weekly occurrence. Rather, they probably would have assumed this was simply a close family that enjoyed spending time together.

The remainder of the day was magical. At different times, ending up in a group of two or three…congratulating someone on a great shot. Or commiserating over a poor one. Or simply catching up on what was occurring in each of our families. There never seemed to be a stressful moment. No one had a “mask” on so there was no risk that it might slip during the course of the day.

I will be forever grateful for the love that four other people showed on that Saturday in June. A sister who was to travel 150 miles to walk around a golf course just to be with men she loved. Brothers who gave up their only morning to sleep-in to play a game that they had avoided for many years...and leave wives at home who would probably prefer that their husbands were home as well. A brother-in-law who loves his wife enough to be a part of this magical day…and wanted her to share in it as well.

For some, the golf clubs have been put away for the year. Over time, the birdie on the opening hole will be forgotten and the “day-after” soreness will fade away. But for each member of our family, the “day” will remain with us forever.

(Walt, Mark, Deb, Frank & Geoff)

Photos by Deb Shucka

1 comment:

Deb Shucka said...

I love the way you told this story almost as much as I love you and that day. The magic and miracle of those hours will be legend before we're done. Thank you for giving me this to come back to as a reminder. You are truly God's instrument and a man to admire.