Boots Cuten CEO and Brewmaster of Nester's Crotch Craft Brewery of Nester's Crotch offer you an ice-cold Dizzy Deadman - the latest craft beer from his brewery.
The two most famous local brewers have declared a truce in their war for supremacy. After their ugly clash at a recent Golf Tournament at the Hooking Hills Golf Course, a meeting was held in the offices of Attorneys Gaylock and Weiner in an effort to find a way to fend off the ever spiraling list of claimants who say if the two brewers hadn’t been dispensing beer so freely, there would not have been more than 100 DUI arrests on the golf course that day.
Ed Flaming Dog, Angry Native American Brewers CEO and CEO/Brewmaster Boots Cuten of Nester’s Crotch Craft Brewery met with Mo’ Weiner to workout an agreement that would, in Flaming Dog’s words: “Try to mollify the screaming hordes of idiots who want to blame beautifully-crafted beer for causing them to act - and drive - like a$$holes.”
To bring those up to speed who have been living in a cave somewhere, the tournament at Hooking Hills was sponsored by I.M.A.I.D.I.O.T. (Irritated Mothers Against Impaired Drivers Intoxicated or Tipsy) - an organization dedicated to reducing impaired driving. But, after Sheriff Orville Wilburite announced he and his deputies had set a one-day record for DUI arrests at the tournament, Local I.M.A.I.D.I.O.T. Chapter President Devilva Sputz-Demott-Dongler announced the organization would change its focus to teaching those who over-imbibe how to drive more safely while Impaired. “We still want the donations from the beer companies - and we still want to make money with a golf tournament. So, our options were kind of limited,” says Devilva Sputz-Demott-Dongler.
Attorney Gaylock, who helped bring the warring breweries together said he found a way to “bind the wounds inflicted by a nasty Sheriff, poor judgement and a couple of CEOs who think with a six-pack in their hands.” The lawyer, whose current wife is - famously - dating the Assistant Pro at Hooking Hills, Terp Seemly, said he got his inspiration from Sheriff Wilburite who, after making those DUI arrests, confiscated 177 cases of beer and a number of kegs - and donated it all to Spirit House, a local homeless shelter.
“I figured, the Sheriff was onto something. So, I called the breweries and suggested we make a mark on this community that will never be forgotten.” What Gaylock proposed, and both Beer CEOs agreed to, is a deep commitment to community outreach and involvement.
Nester’s Crotch Craft Brewery CEO, Cuten, says “We’re going all-out to let everyone know we’re really here to spread quality and great taste to everyone - no matter their age!”
What Cuten and Flaming Dog have agreed to do is launch a frontal assault on thirst during the warmest month of Summer - for at least 10 years. That means for the next decade, products from both breweries will be freely distributed to anyone and everyone who’s thirsty in Traylor County.
“We will we be combatting thirst at pop-up rest stops along State Route 13, County Route TT, even Old Route 30 North. But, we won’t be doing it on Route 73 S. There’s an old drunk hermit out there who’ll drink us into bankruptcy,” says Flaming Dog.
Cuten continues, “We’ll also be connecting public water fountains to kegs filled with our premium brews. Best of all, I think, on July evenings, we’ll be sending beer dispensing trucks to neighborhoods!” Cuten takes a moment to imagine the magic. “Can’t you just picture everybody running out of their homes yelling for our happy beer men - and women - to stop and cool them off?”
Attorney Weiner says the two breweries have agreed to distribute their newest products - with no question or ID required because, “we’re doing this as a public service to fight thirst in everyone. It’s the right thing to do!”
This reporter asked Sheriff Wilburite if something of this nature has ever been tried in the County. He only paused a moment. “This is the most outlandish, absurd and crazy-assed plan I have ever heard of! But, I’ll tell you this. I wish ‘em luck; because, when it’s hot everybody gets thirsty around here - and those guys are gonna have a time of it trying to keep up with demand!”
Here’s a list of the beers that will be distributed free of charge - everywhere in the County for the month of July by Nester’s Crotch Craft Brewery and Angry Native American Brewery:
Dizzy Deadman - A Kölsch style Ale - by NCCB
Blinded Dog Butt - a tangy Porter with a hint of Assidic overtones - by ANAB
Demonic Snake Head - Dark Stout with a bite - by NCCB
Neutered Ninja - a lite lager with a bit of a kick - by ANAB
Poo - a Winnie the Poo inspired Ale with an aroma that smells like Poo! - by NCCB
Dangerous Dogma - Vienna Lager that the brewer says will have you praying for more - by ANAB.
“Bottom line,” says Flaming Dog, “we’re out to prove two wrongs CAN make a right…if give it away for free and call it a public service!”
Big Golf Course Community To Be Built In And Over Plunker Caverns!
Even though Developer T. Earl Gerbley is wearing an ankle bracelet while awaiting sentencing on Federal racketeering charges; and, his Golf course development, Persimmon Spires at Poking Buffalo Lake - on sacred Chockasoutauk Tribal land - has been locked down by the Feds, Golf course development continues throughout our area. This week, another Luxury Golf Course Community is on the agenda for the Traylor County Planning and Zoning Commission. The site of the proposed community is west of the incorporated city limits of Persimmon Pines near the entrance to Plunker Caverns State Park.
Developer Winn Lousome, says his company, WinnSome Homes will build 341 luxury homes, 900 condominium units and an 18 hole Golf Course on the 500 acre parcel of land recently purchased from the Estate of the late Chockasoutauk Indian Chief, Barking Eagle. The new development will be called Traylor Park Estates. “We did a lot of research,” says Lousome. “The name Traylor Park Estates seems to pop to the top of every focus group. Plus, we already own the name traylorparkestates.com. So, it was kind of a no-brainer.”
Architect, Spack Limbly, Conceptual Planner with the firm Chalky and Dryer, says the development will have several unique features. “First, because we’re building right on top of the Plunker Caverns cave system - the largest natural cave network in this part of the world - we’ll be able to give some homeowners a basement that opens into the caverns themselves! This has never been done before...unless you count cavemen.”
But, luxury homeowners won’t be the only ones with one-of-a-kind amenities. Lousome says he’s planning a Golf Course that will be unlike any other in the world. “We have found a way to use the interior of Plunker Caverns for two holes of our course.”
Mr. Lousome pulled out a tattered blueprint and unrolled it on the floor. At the top left of the layout, the name of the new course is revealed: The Country Club at Plunkwater Trail. The Developer points to spot in the center. “Our clubhouse will be very near one of the Cavern entrances. It’s big; so big, we won’t have to use a lot of explosives to make it bigger. The Ninth and 18th holes will be played almost entirely inside the cave. And, I think it’s safe to say the 18th hole will be the hardest, darkest, most impossibly spectacular 600 yard par 5 in the history of Golf. It’s the first par five in history that requires you to hit it into a hole on your first shot. And, after players get inside the cave, we’ll make a fortune selling night vision goggles.”
Enthusiasm aside, three imposing forces are rallying against Traylor Park Estates and The Country Club at Plunkwater Trail. The environmental group, People Against Cool Things, the State Department of Parks and Recreation - and the County Planning and Zoning Commission have all stepped forward to voice objections and concerns about the plan.
Julene Huffaton, spokesperson for People Against Cool Things says “PACT stands four- square against the plan because it’s so cool it could literally destroy one of the great natural wonders in the world...or, at least Traylor County.” When asked what, specifically would change, Huffaton explained: “Well, when you blow a hole in a natural wonder, that’s going to change things.” When pressed for more, the spokesperson said, “Let’s not forget that Plunker Caverns is home to the Persimmon Flea-Back Bat. This is a unique creature which lives its entire adult life with its little back covered in fleas. If that bat disappears - what happens to the fleas?”
For his part, Developer Lousome says there is no proof that the Persimmon Flea-Back Bat will be endangered by the alterations that Traylor Park Estates would necessitate in Plunker Caverns. “The proof is in the pudding,” says Lousome as he sprays flea and tick repellant on his head. “Let me build this magnificent Golf Course development - and let’s see what happens. Isn’t that fair? Pick up that fly swatter and slap my head a few times.”
Gary DeRath, Chairman of the County P&Z says he expects fireworks to erupt as soon as he gavels the meeting to order. “And,” says DeRath, “I’d like to remind everyone that we have an ordinance in the County that makes indoor fireworks illegal.”
This reporter called State Parks and Rec Commissioner, Jumbo Leggins for a comment. He says he is “officially against the development of the interior parts of this irreplaceable natural treasure, because it would break several very old state laws. However,” said the former star running back for U. State, “the laws ARE old. If there’s a little somethin’ somethin’ in the kitty for the State Treasury, I imagine we can figure this out in a way where everyone benefits. Uh, this is off the record. Right?”
Record or not, there will be some loud voices in opposition to the plans. One of those is Purple Rayne Dibbledick, daughter of the late Chief Barking Eagle (who always preferred to be known as B. Eagle). “We sold my father’s land because we wanted money. But, we didn’t want this! We aren’t going to give the money back. But, we’d rather they develop something that would be meaningful to the community.” Dibbledick, wife of Proudfood Dibbledick, himself a Native American and Instructor of Natural History at Traylor Community College says, among the suggestions she has for Lousome: “A buffalo skinning area, a TeePee village made with Legos or maybe just don’t do anything. But, we won’t give the money back.”
Lousome says he’s not concerned. “I came here to Traylor County to try to make it a better place. If I can’t do that, I’ll do the best I can to make it a different place. And, if I can’t do that, I’ll do whatever it takes to make sure that the folks who live here never forget my name.”
At City Owned Slippery Meadows...
The squeaking, wobbling wheel had barely stopped spinning on the broken axel of one of the the overturned and smoking golf carts on the 10th tee when Head Pro Ralph Wacksmeier made the announcement. “Effective immediately, the plan to speed up play has been suspended. And, if anybody finds Duke Swidley’s iPod near the wreck, please bring it to the Pro Shop. His Ear Buds are still in his ears, so all we need is the iPod. Thank you.”
While it might be easy for an outsider to say that one broken limb, a possible concussion, 12 stitches and a lost iPod -- all a result of a multi-cart pile up at the Halfway Hut are reason enough to put the brakes on a hastily created blueprint to speed-up golfers, some perspective is necessary.
The plan, hatched three weeks ago during a particularly crowded period as playing times soared, was the brainchild of City Planner, Harp Smith. Wacksmeier says, he reached out to Smith one afternoon when the playing time had reached past seven hours. “He was here, in a foursome of other City workers. I kinda‘ joked, ‘you’re the City Planner. Plan how to speed things up.‘ I guess he took me serious. ‘Cause the next thing you know, I got the Mayor on the phone and he’s telling me to do this thing.”
For Smith’s part, he says Wacksmeier was more than a little upset as he and his playing partners left the 9th green nearly four hours after teeing off on number one. “The Pro got us off first thing that morning. I admit, we’re not the best players. And one of my group was on oxygen. But, I didn’t appreciate that he was so angry. Four hours for nine holes doesn’t seem that bad to me. It’s just a game. Besides, we were enjoying the scenery. We even spent a little time over by that pond on number 4 skipping stones. Anyway, when Mr. Wacksmeier sort of impugned my profession - telling me I ought to figure out a plan to speed things up, I took it as a challenge. And, by God, on paper the scheme I outlined will work perfectly.”
In brief, here’s the strategy Smith proposed:
Using theorems and equations he got from books he used when he took his on-line college course for his City Planning degree, Smith says he devised a stratagem that would “cut playing times down to one hour, not including pit stops.”
It was hot and steamy on the day in question. Assistant Pro Hake Weed recalls: “I had a bad feeling as I rented those full-face helmets to the guys. I noticed right off, the visors started steaming up as soon as I helped ‘em cinch up the strap and closed ‘er up.”
One player, Conor Cormick, recalls: “I couldn’t breathe. I got light headed right away. I also had a hard time seeing the ball. Smoking my cigar was very difficult. And, whenever I’d bend over to putt, I’d lose my balance. Other than that, it was okay, I guess. You know what they say, ‘a bad day on the golf course is better than a good day at work.”
The police report of the incident reported the following: “At approximately 9:30 a.m. two modified golf carts, carrying a total of four occupants, approached the crossover point from the ninth hole on the Slippery Meadows course at high speed. At the same time, another foursome of two carts approached at high speed from the opposite direction of the 15th hole. All four carts were headed toward the Halfway Hut for a cold beverage. Meanwhile, a Golfer, 61 year old Fontana Marsh, had lost her ball and become disoriented from heat stroke. The visor of her helmet had fogged over and she was unable to see where she was going. She reported that she tripped on something and stumbled onto the cart path and heard high speed Golf carts approaching.”
From here, we pick up the story from eyewitness, Edna Tootenhopf, proprietor of the Halfway Hut. “I seen the guys comin‘ from the 9th hole. And, wham - this person kinda leaped out of the bushes onto the path. She, like, froze up or something. The carts had nowhere to go. They swerved and both of ‘em commenced to rolling over. That’s when the other two carts come from the opposite direction and got landed on by them other two. You don’t expect to see that much smoke and flames from a golf cart.”
Amazingly, Marsh was unscathed from the initial crash. She did, however, suffer smoke inhalation when she accidentally walked into the smoking wreckage - because of her heat stroke disorientation and fogged-over visor. The foursome in the first two carts, Andy Tutoor, Phil Basko, Todd Wente and Jaime Rutherford suffered various bruises and contusions with Wente also suffering a hairline fracture of his right tibia. In carts three and four, Boomer Weichard, Tony Ward and Elmer Pittswheel were shaken - but mostly uninjured. The fourth player, Mickey Dogslaw suffered a cut requiring 3 stitches to his “drinking hand.” A bystander, Jesus Gonsalez, received a minor concussion when he was hit by a flying wheel as he mowed the tenth tee.
City Planner Smith continues to defend his formula for speeding up play. “If you examine the police report carefully, you’ll see the accident in question had more to do with both foursomes racing to the Halfway Shack to put in their beer order first than it did with playing too fast on the golf course.”
Be that as it may, the fact remains, the speed-up policy has been slowed down by a City Council review, scheduled for next month. For the foreseeable future, golf has returned to a more languid pace. “People are still getting heat stroke,” says Head Pro Wacksmeier, “They’re just doing it the old fashioned way.”
They just played The PGA at Bethpage Black. One of the regular bits of info the announcers dropped in was that golfers line up in cars and spend the night to get a tee time - which might be late in the afternoon - to play the course. You might say - this story is based in fact...sad, dumb, weird fact. Larry
The Traylor County Council recently discussed the controversial topic of changing the way local citizens get weekend tee times at Slippery Meadows Golf Course. The changes have been discussed for months in Council meetings, the Media and now in open court.
One witness speaking in favor of the change was Attorney Morris “Mo” Gaylock. He represents a Golfer who was recently sent to the State Psycho Hospital for the Mentally Untenable in Tilda’s Bend. Attorney Gaylock presented a portion of the man's Diary as evidence the current procedure needs to change to "a system less destructive to families, relationships, the body and the mind."
The current "Racking System" requires someone from a Foursome to remain on the grounds the entire night previous to a round of Golf on Saturday or Sunday in order to obtain a morning tee time. Those opposing the change say the Racking System is a tradition that separates wannabe golfers from real golfers. Mickey Dogslaw and Elmer Pittswheel, longtime members of the Men’s Club at Slippery Meadows, are behind the legal effort to block proposed changes.
Attorney Gaylock, who is also representing the Golfer in his divorce, presented these rambling notes of his client, taken from his personal Diary. As he began to read, Gaylock asked Judge Dackie Donson and the jury to “listen carefully to the tortured life that unfolds before you, as he puts us in his shoes for ‘racking duty.’”
5:30 p.m. Arrived home from work on time. Marilyn reminded me of 50th anniversary party for her parents at 7. Reminded her this was my week to rack. Think she understood the situation. As she took the kids and left the house, she said next time she'd see me would be "in Hell." Boy, is she ever right! Those anniversary parties can be brutal! Just enough time to chip a few balls before I shower for the party!
7:00 p.m. Arrived at 50th anniversary party on time! Must admit, wearing Golf shirt to a black-tie affair caused a few stares. Told "Dad" (I hate calling him that), that it was my Friday to rack. He nodded. But said, "Don't mention that to 'Mom.'" Turns out I didn't have to. She saw my Callaway hat from across the room. Said something like, "At least you didn't wear your spikes in here!" I didn't have the heart to tell her, I was wearing soft-spikes.
7:25 p.m. Getting antsy. The "pre-line" for spots is forming earlier and earlier. If I'm too late, I might not get a shot at a good number! Dinner's supposed to be at 8:00. That's waaay too late. I'll feign stomach cramps and leave in 15 minutes.
7:28 p.m. Marilyn asked me to leave, because I didn't "fit in." I think she was just being nice. As I left, Tommy asked me if he would ever see me again. I reminded him. "I'm just racking!" What a kid. Diary! Remind me about this: Tomorrow evening when I get home, I'll have to ask her why there are suitcases in the back seat of her car.
7:40 p.m. Arrived at the course! Sure enough three guys were here ahead of me. But, at least I know I'm in line to get a number to get a spot to get a tee time! What a relief! Last week, Al didn't get here until almost 11, ended up 31st in line! Luckily, he got number 2 out of the hat! What was he thinking? Nothing to do now until 11. Think I'll try some putting.
8:05 p.m. Lost 50-dollars putting with two guys I don't know. I need to be more careful about that. I'm pretty sure one of them had his name sewn on his bag.
8:15 p.m. Two more cars just drove up. Poor guys! There's four cars ahead of them! One of 'em's me! Maybe I'll listen to the radio for a while.
8:22 p.m. Whew! Forgot what talk radio sounds like these days after dark! Man, there are a TON of weird people on this planet. Thank my lucky stars I'm normal!
8:45 p.m. Just talked with Norm. Says they might go to a different system of picking tee times next year. Some kind of telephone deal. I don't know about anyone else, but I don't want to mess up my family life with a bunch of calls at 7 in the morning! That would be very disruptive.
9:07 p.m. Less than two hours 'til the draw. Wonder if I should call Marilyn. Probably still at that party. Poor Marilyn!
10:23 p.m. Must have dozed off with the radio on. Cool air coming through the open window gave me a bit of a stiff neck. Battery dead. Hope somebody has jumper cables! Tried calling Marilyn. Still not home. Must be some party!
10:34 p.m. Charlie, from the Pro Shop just drove up. Looks angry as usual. I hear Charlie worked at two different jobs for 19 and a half years each...and was fired both times just before he became vested in his retirement plan. So, he got a part-time job at the course...but can't afford to play. Maybe that's why he's so nasty. Or, maybe it's just because he has to stay up all night every Friday during the Summer!
10:45 p.m. Must be 50 cars in line now! Guys are getting a little pushy. Charlie's had to wave a Big Bertha around in a big circle to keep us back from the hat. One more call to Marilyn. No answer. Glad to see she's having fun at Mom and Dad's 50th.
10:59 p.m. Drawing next! I'll let you know what happens!
11:03 p.m. What a rip! I was the fourth guy in line. I sat here all night. Right? Right! So, here I am...number four! I reach into the hat...and pull out #36! I could end up with a tee time in the afternoon! Nothing to do now, but wait all night...and hope somebody ahead of me wimps out.
PS: Marilyn still not home. Hope she didn't have car trouble.
1:07 a.m. Woke up with the shifter pushing my spleen. Lower back went into spasms. Shook it off, got out my five iron and did a 30 minute "loosening" program.
1:48 a.m. First "loser" is discovered missing from car. Number 12 is "outa' here!" I'm up to #35! Still a long way to go!
2:04 a.m. Can't get back to sleep. Should I call Marilyn? Better not. Don't want to wake her. Also, don't want to hear her complain about Golf. Better to wait 'til I get home tomorrow afternoon!
3:36 a.m. Must have dozed off. Argument between some guy and Charlie. The guy was yelling that he hadn't left...he'd only gone to pee in the woods, but Charlie kept yelling: "If you had to pee, you shoulda' seen me!" Bottom line? #26 is history! I'm up to #34!
4:01 a.m. It's easy to forget how dark and cold it is at this time of the day. Only three more hours until I can get a tee time and plan the rest of the day. Have to take a little "walk"... better tell Charlie.
4:55 a.m. Two more wussies hit the road. Wasn't there, but heard that one got a call from his wife to "get home, or else!" What a witch! Up to #32.
5:45 a.m. Doubt that there'll be any more drop outs. Looks like #32 is where I'm doomed to stand in line. Just saw Hank pay some guy 50-bucks for a better number. Wish I hadn't lost that money putting!
6:00 a.m. Charlie's wife arrives -- blows her horn several times in the parking lot and wakes everybody up. Thanks a lot!
6:05 a.m. Line starts forming. Nothing better to do.
7:00 a.m. After the longest, chilliest hour of my life...line starts moving. My feet feel like concrete. Maybe it's because I've only had a couple hours sleep. Or, maybe it's because I've been wearing my Golf shoes for more than 12 hours straight!
7:45 a.m. Just got my tee time. 12:38 p.m. Could have been worse. Several guys ahead of me left when they couldn't get an earlier time! Called the guys first, to let them know. No answer at home. Better call the phone company and report a problem! Hope I can straighten my neck without pain before I tee it up!
Emotional and riveting as the Diary testimony was, Jules Weiner, Attorney for Elmer Pittswheel and Mickey Dogslaw, said his clients would be “irretrievably, even more emotionally damaged than they already are” if the rules were changed “because it would mean others would avoid the kind of trauma their lives had seen as a result of the long-standing, racking rules.
Judge Donson called a recess “that might last several months. Because, I have better things to do.”
Last Winter, when the Knights of the Lost Order of Infuriated Frenchmen scheduled their annual Golf Tournament at Valley Heights Country Club, Snoot Dockery, the longtime Pro, was first to run up a warning flag. "I told Margie (Marjorie Wilburite, VHCC Business Manager/Wife of Traylor County Sheriff Orville Wilburite) we had to make a few extra rules for these folks. But, we just never got around to it. And, now, we see the result."
The "result" was an 18-hole Charity Tournament that started Monday at 1 p.m. and finished Tuesday evening at 6. It was 29 hours that included several arrests and finger-pointing all around. The event left competitors, organizers and the staff at Valley Heights totally exhausted.
To get a perspective into the goings-on, this Reporter decided to interview each of the principals involved. The interviews were conducted separately because, in some instances, restraining orders are now in force.
I started at the offices of the group which sponsored the tournament: The Knights of the Lost Order of Infuriated Frenchmen. I met with Guy DeChamois, Historian for the group.
The Quebec, Canada native greeted me with a hearty "Bon jour," a kiss on both cheeks and a book entitled "History of the British Open Golf Championship" opened to page 561. There, I saw a picture of Jean Van de Velde, the Frenchman who is best remembered for his "Tin Cup" performance on the final hole in 1999. Needing only a double bogey to win, he threw away shots willy-nilly and lost the championship in a playoff.
"Personally," said DeChamois, "I never liked Golf and didn't follow it. I was content with my life of being surly in restaurants and yelling obscenities at Anglos from behind the wheel of my Citroen." He grabbed the book from me and snapped it closed. "But, when the great Van de Velde put the corkscrew in the collective heart of every French-blooded Frenchman, we became even more infuriated."
"I don't understand." I said, simply.
The Historian threw the book at me. It sailed past my ear, bounced off the wall and fell to the floor, open to page 561. "Why? You have to ask, why? Because, don't you see? He has given every Frenchman a bad taste in my mouth. And, as a group we are best known for having the good taste, don't you know?”
"Let me rephrase," I said. "What does Jean Van de Velde have to do with a Golf tournament that lasts 29 hours?"
"Heures," he corrected. "It was because of the lesson of Van de Velde, that we determined never to take action until we had considered every option. This makes each player in our group take up to 20 minutes to decide on the proper shot."
"So, you're saying-"
"-What I am saying is that the tournament took 29 heures to play because we did not want to look foolish!"
I had my answer. I stood to leave. DeChamois followed me to the door. "Be sure to mention in the story the filet mignon was overcooked."
The door slammed behind me, hitting me in the hiney. VHCC Chef Bif Stewart was next on my list. He was in the County Jail, after being arrested for swinging a meat cleaver in the direction of DeChamois. But, when I got there, Sheriff Orville Wilburite told me the Chef couldn't have visitors. He was on suicide watch.
The Sheriff explained. "He's despondent. No one ever complained about his cooking. Ever!"
While he wasn't directly involved in the Golf part of this story, the Sheriff was involved in it's finale. So, I asked Wilburite for his take on the elongated tournament.
He sat down behind his desk, slid out a drawer to act as a footrest, leaned back in his chair and puffed on his pipe. "Any damn sporting event that takes more than three hours to play - except the Super Bowl, o' course, is a waste of everybody's time."
"Truth is, when it got to be dark, I got worried about my wife. She should have been home and she wasn't. So, I took the next logical step, started treating the whole deal as a hostage situation and put a call in to my S.W.A.T. Team."
As it turned out, most of the County's S.W.A.T. Team was in the Golf Tournament. That meant only two Team members showed up in their gear. And, that meant a slower response time. The Sheriff explained. "Each member of the S.W.A.T. Team has a specific job on their way to a crime scene. June Ann Lovecrest drives the truck, Billy Dee rides shotgun and loads 'em, too. The other 12 guys help each other put on their body armor in the back of the truck. But, because of the unusual circumstances, we didn't have nobody who knew how to drive the truck or load, shotguns. But, we DID have two guys who knew how to get dressed. Actually, we couldn't drive the truck, because June Ann had the keys...and she was in the Tournament."
"So, what did you do?"
"I got in my car and drove over to the Golf Course to see what the hell was going on. And, when I got there, I couldn't believe it." What I believe any impartial witness would describe as a "tear" welled up in Sheriff Wilburite's good eye. "In the dusk after sunset, I saw my wife on the practice green night-putting with her boss - that kid Wip Myazoff."
"Is that a euphemism for doing something else?"
The Sheriff practically yelled in my face. "No! But, I don't like anybody but me putting with my wife in the dark."
I leaned back. “So, what happened next?"
The Sheriff shrugged. "I whacked Myazoff a couple times, cuffed him and put him in the back of the patrol car. After that, Margie explained why she was still at work. That's when I figured out it wasn't her fault...or Mr. Myazoff's. It was the Frenchies."
I had to ask. "So, what happened to Wip Myazoff?"
"Well, technically, he didn't do nothin' wrong. Marge and him was putting at night - 'Cause they didn't have nothin' else to do."
"Passing the time." I added, helpfully.
Wilburite nodded. "But, while I was clubbin' him. He did resist some. You know, like he'd put his hands up in the way of his face and neck. And, I hate that. So, I hauled him in for resisting arrest. He's in the cell with the Cook (Chef Bif Stewart) from the Club."
"I thought you said the Chef was on suicide watch."
"He is. I got Myazoff watchin' him."
With the legal side of this story "put to bed," it was time for me to head out to the Golf Course and get the rest of the story from Head Pro Snoot Dockery. I found him, asleep in the Bag Room, on top of a pile of discarded Golf towels. I asked the obvious question.
"You sleep on a pile of dirty Golf towels?"
Dockery shrugged. "I like the aroma. It's grass and dirt and spit and chemicals and hope and despair and who knows what else ground into terry cloth. It's the smell of Golf, son." He held out a grass-stained towel with a Traylor County Bank and Trust logo on it. "Go on. Sniff it."
I changed the subject quickly. "Tell me about the K.L.O.I.F. Tournament," I said.
The old Pro threw the dirty Golf towel in my face. "It's the reason I'm sleeping on a pile of these filthy, stinking Golf towels.” He groaned, stood up and stretched. The sound of snapping bones, cartilage, muscles and sinew filled the room. "I didn't know why the Tournament Committee gave all the players two sleeves of those glow in the dark Golf balls. But, I sure found out - after the Sun went down. Before sunset, it was taking a little over an hour a hole. But, after it got dark, it was taking nearly two hours. Then, I guess, exhaustion set in. 'Cause we'd have people tee off, head out to the fairway to find their ball, and fall asleep while deciding on a club. At one point, we had six groups on the fourth hole...all of 'em sleeping." Dockery shook his head sadly. "If I wasn't already divorced from my third wife, this tournament woulda' done it."
"So, you and your staff stayed at the course throughout the night and the following day?" I tried not to sound incredulous, but I guess my amazement betrayed me.
Dockery yanked at a soiled Golf towel that had hooked itself to his belt buckle. "I know this sounds odd to the outside world. But, Golf is a service industry. And, we have to offer hospitality to our customers. It's our business. Stupid. But, true."
I nodded and jotted his quote. "But, why would you want to encourage this particular group to return - ever again?"
"Now, you sound like my Assistant Ty (Benderling). About 3 a.m., he started asking when he could go home. Home...with guests still all over the Golf Course. He wanted to go home." Dockery snorted, then spit something gooey into one of the old Golf towels before throwing it back on the pile in the corner of the Bag Room.
“What did you tell him?“
"Cop an attitude like that one more time, and you're fired! You wanna be in this business, you gotta put your personal life on hold. He knew that comin' in." He spit into a towel and reached down to shine his shoe. "Look, I didn't enjoy bein' here all day, all night and the entire following day - including for the Awards Ceremony and dinner 24 hours late. But, I was."
"Why? Why didn't you just go home?
"Well, for one thing I got a free meal." His smile faded. "But, I gotta tell you, the steak was overcooked."
Second in a Series
About four months ago in these pages, we reported on a trip this reporter took with well-known developer T. Earl Gerbley to Persimmon Spires at Poking Buffalo Lake...the sacred Chockasoutauk Indian site. The sight of the natural granite wonder of three Persimmon Spires towering over Poking Buffalo Lake surrounded by the mountains, streams, and grassy meadows was truly awe inspiring.
The careful reader might recall front page news stories, in the last few months, reporting on Gerbley's legal battles over his plans for the development of this spectacular, sacred site. Here's a quick rundown:
Last week, I received a call from the T. Earl Gerbley Land Development Corporation. Gerbley's Administrative Assistant, Maude Morass, called to invite me to spend a day at Persimmon Spires to see the progress that was being made. As Morass said, reading from her telemarketing card, "We are leveling land, knocking down trees and raising buildings faster than you can say 'how much is a membership?'" I laughed. She continued. "T. Earl wants an unbiased eye to look at what he's done and report to the people who are gonna want to tee it up next Spring out there." I called in sick to work and drove out the next day.
Let me say, the changes to the area are breathtaking. Gone is the rutted gravel road leading through the windbreak trees to the sacred meadow beside the lake. A four-lane asphalt road now leads you off of State Route 13 and onto the Chockasoutauk reservation. It winds past the Tribal Tax-Free Cigarette Shop in the doublewide next to Eagle Beak Creek where the road narrows to two lanes as it crosses a new bridge, and descends along the edge of bluffs overlooking Poking Buffalo Lake.
I had the feeling of being airborne as I drove into the valley, looking at the scenery below. Workers, looking ant-like, were everywhere. A giant clubhouse stood where the old stand of ancient windbreak trees once had dominated the landscape. The three huge granite outcroppings known as Persimmons Spires cast long shadows over the area. Even as I stopped the car near the Foreman's trailer and got out, trees fell, buildings rose. Change was in the air.
T. Earl Gerbley came out of the trailer, smiling. He was carrying a hard hat. "Fire in the hole!" I reached out to shake his hand. His smile faded. He yelled. "Fire in the hole!" as he slammed the yellow plastic hat on my head. An explosion rocked the earth. Small rocks splattered around us. A haze of dust billowed past. I coughed. Gerbley patted me on the back. "We're clear! Glad you could make it. What do you think? Wait, don't answer. Let me show you what we've done."
Over the next hour, Gerbley led me past a dizzying array of partially completed projects.
Of course, the most important project for readers of this column is the golf courses which are being constructed as this is written. Both layouts have been graded and sculpted by huge earth-moving machines. You may recall the controversy several months ago, when Native American groups heard of plans to relocate several prehistoric burial mounds. Gerbley explained the situation this way: "We listened to their silly complaints. But, you have to understand, the mounds were in the middle of the third fairway - and some that weren't actually on the golf course were on some pretty nice home sites. And, if that lake doesn’t drain off entirely, some mounds were blocking some potentially gorgeous views. So, I think we came up with a great idea. Actually, it was my wife's idea. Rather than bulldoze the things outright, we took extra care to carefully blade off about 5-feet at a time. We put everything in a dump truck - and rebuilt the mounds into one HUGE mound, over in the wetlands area near Bison Ear Brook. It’s a ‘win-win.’”
A distant yell of "fire in the hole" made us both tighten the chin straps as the large "BAM" was followed by another rain of small rocks and dust. "Where's that coming from." I ask?
Gerbley pointed toward the top of the middle Persimmon Spire. "We're trying to flatten that one a little - so we can build a tee for the first hole up there. It's gonna be spectacular."
As I left this incredible, new, high-end development, it was clear progress is moving full-speed-ahead. What isn't so clear: How that 12-pound chunk of granite put a hole in the roof of my car and ended up in the passenger seat.
First in a Series
Golf is a game of ability, skill, strategy and rules. It’s this heady mix that keeps most of us guessing from takeaway to impact and beyond. That’s why, from time to time, this column is happy to take time away from digging up the hard news surrounding our golfing life here in Traylor County; and, spend some quality time getting answers from area Golf Professionals to questions you have posed. So, let’s dig into the mailbag!
Randy Atwater of Plunkwater Village asks: “Clarification please: Let’s say I hit a drive on the third hole at Traylor Park Golf Course, the one that runs along Old Hiway 13. And, let’s say the ball slices over the big hickory tree and goes through the windshield of an oncoming truck owned by Otto Brockmeier. Who is responsible for repairing the damage? I did yell “fore.” Also, he never gave my ball back.”
Since Traylor Park Golf Course owner and Head Pro Legolas Demott was unavailable for comment, on advice from his attorney, we went to Hooking Hills Head Pro Bix Wilstrup.
“The law is pretty clear on this one! If you are not seen to have hit the ball, and do not step forward to take responsibility, then you are not - legally - responsible; unless proven guilty in a court of law. Our Golf course is quite clear on this. If a golfer hits a ball off the golf course and breaks something, it is definitely not our fault. Beyond that, well, it would be nice if the guy would return the golf ball. But, my guess is, once this is in the paper, getting his ball back will be the least of your problems.”
Trace Groglin of Tilda’s Bend writes: “After throwing a golf club, what is the proper etiquette?”
Plunker Falls Golf Tennis and Gun Club Assistant Golf Pro, Dan Didler provides the answer:
“It depends. There are several levels of club throwing that require different remedies:
From Alison Pollack of Chesterville Bottoms: “I am at the age where I find that I am easily offended by things that never bothered me when I was younger, nicer and easier to be around. One thing that really bothers me is practicing my golf game. Can you please tell me the best way to lower my handicap - without wasting time on the practice tee?”
For that answer, we turn to Professional D. Ray Yoinkers of Woodstone CC at Horehound Landing:
“This is a question a lot of Amateurs ask. My best answer is to do what it seems they do: Don’t count all your shots. When you report a lower score than you actually shot, you will, over time, lower your handicap. Depending on the actual difference in real score and ‘handicap score,’ the drop in your handicap can be significant. Following this simple plan eliminates hours of practice time - giving you more time to be irritated and upset about other things that are also unimportant. Beware, however, if you enter a tournament and your teammates expect you to play somewhere near the number on your handicap card. Often, this problem results in beer-fueled arguments and black eyes. In this case, be ready with a solid excuse like: “I’ve had to modify my swing a little since I had my wrist and tonsils replaced.” However, for best results, do what everyone else does - fudge the score just a little in your favor. You won't look quite as stupid.”
Our thanks to the area Golf Professionals and to our readers for this thoughtful exchange of questions and answers. Let’s keep the flow of information going! Send your questions to:
Tell Me Something I Don’t Know
Persimmon Pines Times
First in a Series...
Developer T. Earl Gerbley points to the planned location for the 20,000 sq. ft. Olive Garden restaurant for his new golf course development on sacred tribal lands. (Sacred Persimmon Spires loom in the background.)
Persimmon Spires at Poking Buffalo Lake...the name, alone, inspires visions of spectacular mountains and bucolic settings balanced along the shoreline of this pristine and sacred Chockasoutauk Tribal site just 30 minutes west of Persimmon Pines via State Route 13. Of course, because it is a sacred site, few of us of non-Native American ancestry have been privileged to see the area; unless we took one of the $40 mule-ride tours of the area led by Chockasoutauk guides and only offered on weekends during the summer.
So, imagine this Reporter's surprise, a few days ago, when well-known area golfer and land developer T. Earl Gerbley contacted me to ask if I would like to accompany him on a trip to this sacrosanct natural wonderland. He said he wanted to show me something. Or, to quote him exactly: "I want you to be the first to watch me point at the stuff I’m going to knock down and tear out for a new golf course development that are gonna blow your socks off!"
We made the drive out of town last Thursday afternoon in Gerbley's Mercedes. Our guide was Proudfoot Dibbledick, Chockasoutauk Tribeperson and Natural History Professor at Traylor County Community College. As we turned off Old Broadway Extension, onto Route 13, the Developer put his right arm over the back of the passenger seat and slouched sideways - steering with only the first finger of his left hand. He looked in the rearview mirror to make eye contact. "Of all the land I've had a hand in leveling and reshaping to my liking, I have never been more excited about a project than this one." We swerved slightly across the yellow line as Gerbley tousled the hair of Professor Dibbledick. "And, this guy is the one who is making it possible. He went to bat for me with the Elders of the Chockasoutauk Nation at their annual tribal meeting over at their Casino in Looseneck Falls last month. And, by ‘to bat,’ you know what I mean!” Gerbley rubbed his thumb and forefinger together in a way that seemed to suggest something untoward.
Dibbledick smiled sheepishly. "My role in all this is fairly small. I simply presented the elders with the visions, philosophy, spreadsheets and bag of money Mr. Gerbley gave me. But, I'm glad to be onboard as an advisor to Mr. Gerbley. You know, so we can preserve the Chockasoutauk heritage as we provide public access to our reservation and an area our religion and tribal customs have always been off-limits to outsiders. Some say, for good reason.”
We slid back in our seats momentarily when Gerbley floored the Mercedes and blew the horn as we slipped over the double yellow, around a slow-moving pickup, just ahead of an oncoming coal truck. "So Professor," I managed after catching my breath, "tell me about Persimmon Spires."
Dibbledick paused a moment to collect his thoughts as his boss steered into the slide. "Well, as a Natural History teacher, I can tell you that Persimmon Spires is a natural granite formation created over millennia by the forces of erosion, wind and water. Agronomists insist the three, perfectly sculpted rocky outcroppings look exactly like huge persimmons. So, it was probably this amazing resemblance to the very fruit which sustained my ancestors that caused them to conclude this was a holy place."
Dust filled the car as we skidded onto the reservation's gravel road. I asked how the lake got its name. The Developer was quick to answer. "I know that one! When the Braves went out to hunt buffalo, they'd force 'em down the Chumtaw Crick toward the shore of the lake where the women would be waiting with spears."
"Poking Buffalo Lake." I weighed each word carefully.
Gerbley chuckled. “If you’re a buffalo, you’d best be leaving…” The anti-lock brakes stopped the car in a straight line as the gravel dust billowed. The Developer flung his car door open. “…because, we’re here!"
We got out of the Mercedes under the awe-inspiring spectacle of Persimmon Spires. I have lived here all my life. But, like most Persimmon Pineseans, had only seen the Spires in vacation brochures published by the Chamber of Commerce...never in person. They do, in fact, look like three perfectly sculpted 200 foot long persimmons - standing on end. Just beyond lies the unspoiled beauty of Poking Buffalo Lake. Proudfoot Dibbledick turned his palms skyward and seemed to offer a silent prayer to the long-dead spirits of his ancestors. Gerbley patted him on the back. "We'll put pictures of Indian chiefs in the golf course pro shop...which we'll build right over there where that burial mound is now."
Over the next 45 minutes, Gerbley walked us through his designers plan to "improve the natural flow of the environment by imbedding architectural creations that will illuminate the landscape and create vistas heretofore unknown to those who, until recently, held sole title to this land. Because, you know, I want to do right by these folks.”
The plans are quite impressive. Thumbnail sketch: Three Championship golf courses - a marina with access to the Plunker River 500 feet below via private lock-controlled canal - 50,000 square foot club house and four gourmet restaurants open to the public - including a 20,000 square foot Olive Garden - requested by Chockasoutauk leaders. “Turns out, Tribal leaders like the idea of all-you-can-eat bread-sticks,” smiled Gerbley.
Yet, I had to ask myself...and later, T. Earl Gerbley himself, “Since you seem to be saying you paid Tribal Leaders to get this deal to build a luxury golf community on their holiest site, do you think there will be any legal issues in the future?”
Gerbley smiled and pointed to Proudfoot Dibbledick. “He gave ‘em the bag. I wasn’t even there!” As the Professor turned a pale green, the Developer took me by the shoulder. “Come on - let me show you where I’m gonna build the water park and go cart track!”
As he looks out the cracked window of the old Airstream trailer, Junior Errands, Jr. takes a last long pull on his dying Cigarillo. Outside, spotlights dangle from three well-worn telephone poles - highlighting a hailstorm of Golf balls as they fly into the night.
"Ask what you want. But, hurry up." He turns toward me and glares. "I'm busy." Smoke curls out of his mouth as he tosses the butt into an old fertilizer can behind the counter, grabs a piece of Nicorette and turns to face his newest customer at Errands Pick-Your-Own Golf Range.
Errands is the son of Junior Errands, Sr. - the man who, 20 years ago, turned a vacant lot next to the County Dump into Traylor County's only stand-alone driving range. "Big or small?" The customer, a young man in his late teens, looks confused. Errands, irritated now, picks up two canvas bags - one smaller than the other. "Ya'll can fill up this one for 10-bucks: or, this less-big bag for 8 bucks." The customer takes a moment to ponder. Errands presses on: "Or, for and even $20, ya'll can have both bags side-by-each." Salesmanship!
The kid nods and pulls out a twenty. "Both." He reaches for the bags. But, Errands pulls the bags out of reach quickly. "Sign here, first." He slaps a legal-looking document on the counter. The kid looks as confused as I feel. Errands explains: "It's just some lawyer stuff. No big deal." The kid nods, signs - initials in three places - and grabs the bags. "Ya'll wear these, too." Errands shoves a dented bicycle helmet and an orange life vest across the counter. I try not to make eye contact as the teen picks up his gear and heads out. As the trailer door slams, Errands calls out helpfully: "Try and keep a hand up in front of your all's face."
As others smack range balls into the night sky, the young man straps on his protective gear; and, cautiously steps out into the storm of rocketing Golf balls. The first few steps are tentative. But, soon, he's striding through the barrage as if he's walking in a light rain shower - balls bounce off his head and chest like bullets off Superman. Is he laughing? He is! And, so is everybody back on the tee.
Things seem to be okay. I turn back to the Golfing Entrepreneur. "So, where did you get the idea for a pick-your-own driving range?" Junior smiles and spits out his gum as he slides another Cigarillo from his shirt pocket.
"See, everybody thinks owning a driving range is all money. And, it ain't bad money. But, the problem is, after the knuckleheads hit the balls and whatnot, I gotta go out and, whatchacallit, pick 'em up. In this business, you gotta have balls. But, pickin' up golf balls ain't no way for a businessman like me to make a living."
"So, you decided to let your customers do your work for you?"
A barrage of at least ten balls hits the kid at about the same time. There's a roar of laughter from all the guys on the tee. Junior snickers. "You got it! See, after people hit all my balls, I don't want to pick 'em up. But, somebody's got to. Right? Might as well be the customer. They're the ones wanna hit my balls."
Makes sense. But, as more balls bounce off the kid in the bicycle helmet and life vest, I have to ask: "Is everybody up there on the tee trying to hit that guy?"
Errands lights up and nods. "Everybody gets their turn in the barrel." A line-shot bounces off the kid's thigh. He drops to one knee as several of the balls he's retrieved trickle back onto the ground. He scrambles to grab the balls as more range balls streak in from the tee to find their target. I'm awed. "These guys are good!"
A slight smile escapes Errands' lips. "They're finding the range now. Watch." The kid's glasses fly into the night sky and his belt buckle is sheared off. His shorts drop to his ankles. More laughter. More balls. The kid drops one, hard-won bag and scrabbles, crab-like, out of the line of fire with only half a bag. He escapes directly into the arms of Junior's 28 year-old son, Major, who quickly removes the protective bicycle helmet and life vest. No double dipping here!
The Golfers on the Astroturf mats quiet and return to the boring work of hitting balls out into an empty field. The fun's over. The kid limps into line to wait his turn to hit. Junior stares out the window and doesn't say anything for about 10 minutes. I finally ask what's on his mind.
"I'm wonderin' when you're gonna leave."
Editor's Note: Since this story was written, "Errand's Pick Your Own Golf Range" has gone public and is now available to franchisees. If you are interested, purchase an old Airstream trailer first, then contact:
Junior Errands, Jr.
297118 East State Highway TT
Lickendine Gap, 284-9541.
Attn: Someone Who Cares
Not everybody plays golf willingly. Here's a bit of proof. Larry
On Father's Orders...
When the name, Peyton Feminita appeared on the entry list for this year’s Custerd Cup, heads spun and tongues wagged. “A 13 year old girl should not be playing in one of the biggest mens tournaments of the season,” says Mickey Dogslaw. He’s a longtime area golfer, player in “The Custerd” and a man who speaks for many. “That girl needs to play dolls and learn how to make pie.” Dogslaw takes a moment to finish his beer and carefully consider what he says next. “On top of that, if she beats the men who want to win it, what’s that say about the men who want to win it? We need a judge to stand up for the men in town, kick out the girl - so a man can win the trophy…legally.”
For his part, Eugenia Creamwell High School Football Coach Laverne Feminita says he’s not pushing his kid. “I’m just trying to give her a chance to prove she’s as good and as tough as the next man...or person...as the case may be.”
In case you’re wondering, Peyton was allowed to enter qualifying for the tournament because those checking the entry blanks did not realize she was female.
Geoff Deleary, Competition Chairman for this year’s event, says there is nothing in the rules that prevents females from entering. “We depend on our guys who read the entry forms to weed out the women. But, in this case, they missed it. I mean, her name’s ‘Peyton’ for corn sake. Next year, we’ll change the rules. But, come on. Who names their little girl ‘Peyton?’”
It turns out “Peyton” is one of the most popular androgynous names given by parents these days. Her Dad explains: “As a kid, I was always teased because my parents named me Laverne. Sure, it can be both a girl or boy’s name. But, when you pair it up with my last name, Feminita...well, it was rough.” The Coach took a moment to collect his thoughts. “I guess I wanted my daughter to have the same opportunities I did.”
Her mother, Cameron, agrees. “Our parents did it to us. We did it to her. Aside from being kind of bitter and angry, I don’t think it hurt us at all. In fact, it made us both determined to do whatever it takes to get even with Life.” Cameron says she’s happy her daughter has been “put in this position by her Dad, who only wants the best for her. Of course, we’d also like to see her in a pro golf career…which we would manage for her...as our retirement.”
In that qualifying tournament, by the way, the 13 year old shot a near course record 65, beating the next best qualifier by 12 strokes. She carded eight birdies and one bogey. That lone black mark on the card came after she got into an argument with her caddy (her father) about her allowance.
One of those playing in her foursome, Chaz Pestril, reported “I didn’t know Peyton was a little girl until we stopped at the halfway hut and she trotted into the ladies room with a pushy older broad who turned out to be her Mom.”
I caught up with Peyton on her personal practice range, better known as the football field at Eugenia Creamwell High. Even though the signs clearly say “No Golf Practice,” it’s clear someone is bending the rules.
“I’d rather be at camp right now with my friends,” says the 13 year old phenom. But, that’s not happening.” Whack! She hits a crisp 5 iron it rises high over the football field, flies at least 200 yards and lands in a small island of grass in the school parking lot. Her Dad, is there to pop the ball into a shag bag. He gives her a thumbs up and yells something unintelligible. “I tell my Dad, it would be better for me to practice somewhere bigger. And, if he uses the phrase ‘Good effort’ one more time...” Peyton’s voice trails off as she sets up for another practice poke.
I ask her about the possibility of a lawsuit - filed by Mickey Dogslaw and Elmer Pittswheel. Whack! We both watch as the ball, off the face of the 5-iron, on nearly the same path - until it misses the small patch of grass and bounces off the asphalt and ricochets off several parked cars - setting off multiple car alarms. Coach Feminita yells something we can’t quite understand, as he runs away from the parking lot. Peyton puts the 5-iron in her golf bag. “My Dad says it’s a free country. And, that means I’m free to kick their butts.”
I help the Golfing teen pick up her gear and hustle into the wooded area next to the parking lot. Amid the sounds of approaching sirens, we shake hands and go our separate ways.
For a girl, that guy’s got a really firm grip.
Larry Caringer has been writing humor for broadcast for a long time. Now, he's writing it for you. The stories, here, are from a collection of short stories from his book "Golf Beat: A Year in the Life of Persimmon Pines."