William Snyder Day 4

                                            PART 3

                                               Weird dream…dream dream dream.
Girl soldier no gun faded away. Old man teachin’ ball. Girl came back. Book in one hand picture in the other.
                                            I said…Guantanamera? She said…with a song in my heart. 

                                                     Disappeared…gone with the wind.

                                            Still dark. Not rainin.’ Sun’s not up…stormy weather?.

Never golfed. Caddied. Never got out. Waited couple times. Only wanted certain guys old guys same                                                               ones every day...every day.

                                                             Keeps raining all the time.

     A pair of black and white saddle golf shoes lay by the bed. Jim put them on. Clattering onto two steps of the circular stairwell but before tumbling down the rest, he went back into the bedroom and put on sneakers.
     “I heard your first attempt; wouldn’t recommend walking down those steps in golf shoes unless you’re trying to break a leg. I couldn’t sleep. Want some?” Nick offered a cup of coffee.
     “No thanks. No coffee for me I’m keyed up enough. Never played golf; never met Bill Evans.” Jim opened the fridge.
     “He’s an easy guy to get along with.”
     “You eat?” Jim poured orange juice.
     “Figured we’d eat at the clubhouse. They serve a decent breakfast. I’m buyin’.”
     “Whenever you’re ready, I’m ready.” Jim drained the orange juice.
     “No rush. Bill won’t be there till 10. We’re supposed to tee off at 11. I got us a tee time but I don’t think we’ll need one.”

The Granada Golf Course harbored nine tree-lined fairways between the two major thoroughfares of Coral Gables. The sun was rising over the first tee when Nick and Jim ordered breakfast sitting at a green Formica counter in the club house restaurant. When they finished eating Nick paid the green fees.
     “I’ll give you a few pointers. We can play a couple of holes before Bill gets here. The beginning of golf is how you hold the club. Some guys try a baseball grip because they’re used to it from baseball. I’ll teach you the interlocking grip and you can decide for yourself. Wrap your little finger around your index finger. There’s less chance the club will slide making your swing more consistent. Don’t try to kill it just swing easy there’s a rhythm to it that you can feel when you hit it right. Now just try swinging the club without hitting the ball. Deep
breath then relax.” Nick stepped back giving Jim space for some practice swings on the first tee.
“Feels kinda like foul shots.”
“Feel the rhythm of going back and forth. Your head will get in the way though when there’s a ball down there.”
“Same with foul shooting. It’s easy in practice but in games you get tense.”
“There’s nobody out yet. We can play the 5th hole. C’mon.” Nick picked up the clubs and crossed Granada Boulevard giving Jim two tips – descending stroke with irons, upstroke with woods. The 5th tee was 220+ yards from a green with the pin in the back sandwiched between two sand traps. Nick’s drive landed on thefront half of the green. “Wrap your fingers around the ball lightly. Don’t squeeze it. Put the tee in ground untilyou feel the ground touching the knuckle of your middle finger.”
Jim took a deep breath before starting his backswing and smoothly brought the club back to the ball
feeling the crush of balata before the ball streaked into a smear of white clouds where he lost sight of it.
“Good hit. You’re a fucking natural, no more lessons for you. Tough break.”
“Never saw it.” Jim had no idea where the ball went once it was in the clouds.
“No draw, no fade you hit it right where you were pointed. It went in the trap on the right of the green. Two twenty on the fly with your first swing. You outhit me, motherfucker.” Nick picked up his golf bag laughing to himself.

“Etiquette of the game is the guy furthest from the hole hits first. That’s me.” Nick’s putt stopped 2 feet from the hole.
“Thanks. When you’re in sand you want the club to dig in the sand just behind the ball and explode it from the trap. Before you hit make sure you know how hard to hit it. It’s about touch and feel – like playing the piano. Some people like to practice lobbing a ball with their hand to the hole to get a feel for how hard to hit the shot.” Nick demonstrated an imaginary ball toss.
Jim took a ball from his pocket, underhanded it to the hole and placed his sand wedge in the sand behind the ball.
“Can’t do that. It’s a penalty stroke for touching the sand with your club before you hit the ball.”
“Why? What’s that about?”
“So you don’t take unfair advantage and smooth out the sand before playing the shot. Lots of rules. It’s a gentleman’s game.”
“Pretty fuckin’ finicky. I’m used to shoveling snow off the courts to play ball in Philly this time of the year.
No gentlemen in those games.”
Jim was hesitatant over the ball careful not to let the club head touch the sand. Bringing the club head back into the ball he realized he was swinging too hard, slowed down his swing stopping just as he hit the ball.
The ball popped up from the sand about knee high and came to rest in the trap three feet closer to the hole than before. On his next try he swung harder skulling the top half of the ball so it skittered out of the sand and caromed across the green into the trap on the other side. Four strokes later the ball was safely on the green and it took another four before Jim tapped it into the hole and they walked back to the club house.
“You’ve had your first lesson.”
“In learning the blues. Not my first, Marita told me about saudade then she left. You and she are good teachers.”
“That’s what women do most often - leave. You have a nice swing. Just stay out of the sand. Hey man, how you doing?” Nick broke into a grin, raising his voice to a tall good-looking man. Bespectacled and stoop-shouldered in khakis and a light blue shirt Bill Evans was standing by the cash register in the pro shop.
“Gotta go.” Evans took leave of two middle-aged men at the counter. “Did you know there’s a Boy Scout lodge on this course?”
“Yeah, the George Merrick Lodge. Bill, meet Jim Collins - he’s staying with me at the house. We played a little before you got here.”
“Not fair, you have a head start. Nice to meet you.” Bill shook Jim’s hand. Jim strained at the incongruous;
Evans’ voice was barely a whisper mixed with the hard edges of New York City and North Jersey.
“I dig your latest album, Mister Evans.”
“Call me Bill, Jim. I guess they did get the title right; everybody digs me. I took a lot of heat from Miles for that cover.” Evans snickered. “I got a letter from Gene Lees said the music sounded like love letters to the world from the prison of the heart. Next album I think I’ll ask him for a title.”
“Who’s Gene Lees?”
“The editor of Downbeat. I was just kidding, glad you like it. Got my degree in sardonics working with Miles.”
“Jim, get me a pack of smokes will you?” Nick tossed him a quarter. Jim jogged back to the clubhouse
“Kid’s kind of lost. Trying to help him until he figures out what to do next. Problems at home so he ran away. He doesn’t know what he wants.”

“Who does? I sure didn’t when I was his age. Jazz piano made the decision for me.”

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