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Monday, September 14, 2009

McCall, Idaho

What a wonderful week the Lovely Sharon and I just had. It was a week filled with beautiful scenery, great golf and wonderful friends. What could be better? On Tuesday September 8th we drove from Salt Lake City to McCall, Idaho. If you have not been there, you may wonder where the heck is McCall, Idaho? Well its 100 miles north of Boise and the drive from Boise to McCall is beautiful with the road meandering aside the Payette River and in places not far from the Cascade reservoir. The purpose of the trip was to play in the Fifth Annual Payette Cup, a couples’ golf tournament sponsored by the Shore Lodge Hotel and the Whitetail Golf Club.

Sharon and I have played in this tournament for each of its five years. The first year we did not know any other players but became fast friends with a number of the other couples and the hotel and golf club staff. Since that first year we have brought a number of friends with us and last week we had about 14 couples from Hidden Valley Country Club and another 3 or 4 couples who were friends of the Hidden Valley couples join us. We joined a number of Whitetail club members and other players in the tournament.

We stayed at the beautiful Shore Lodge, an Idaho institution since the 1940’s. The Shore Lodge sits on the edge of Payette Lake, one of the most beautiful lakes you have ever seen. It’s a 350 foot deep, natural lake which is sparkling blue surrounded by green forests and beautiful mountains. Looking out the windows from our room was truly a wondrous view. Just before dawn, the lake looks silver, the same color as the sky. The mountains are dark silhouettes, as are the boats tied to the hotel dock. The lake is still. There is almost no discernable color except for the yellow lights on the dock and no sound, not even the birds are up yet. As an early riser, each morning I would stand on my balcony in the cool crisp air and watch the sky get lighter as daytime approached. The only sound was the soft breathing of the Lovely Sharon, still asleep. What a feeling of awe and serenity.

By midmorning the lake is cobalt blue, filled with motor boats, sail boats, water skiers and kayaks. It is a hub of activity and sounds of recreation.

The Whitetail golf course is one of my favorites. The front nine meanders through the forest and the back nine has a few holes that are carved into the trees but six of the holes have been laid out in the meadows of the McCall valley. For me the front nine plays easier than the back nine but there are still some challenging holes, including the fourth hole that has two greens. When the right green is used, it creates a need for golf skill and strategy that are beyond my skill level and my strategic reasoning ability. It becomes apparent on this hole that my personal standards for my golf game far exceed my ability.

We played golf every day and had wonderful socials and dinners each night with our dear friends. Each night it was delightful to listen to the 34 or so players recap their day’s adventures on the golf course. Tales of heroic shots, lost balls, watery graves and screw ups by spouses are heard each evening.  One night I heard Mike say a couple of times that they would have done ok if Jane could just make a damn putt. One day on the par five 12th hole, the male part of the couples team we were paired with hit a ball in the trees, dumped the next one in a bunker, duffed it out of the bunker short of the green and then bladed a 30 yard 60 degree wedge over the green. When his wife missed an eight foot put for bogie, he said to her “we really needed that”. The look she gave him was, what can I say, interesting.

Jokes, insults and laughter abounded every evening. To share time with our dear friends is irreplaceable. To hug each other and to listen to each other’s stories is more precious than gold.

On Friday night Whitetail Club Members and McCall residents Kevin and Cathy invited all of us to their house for cocktail and hors d'oeuvres. Their house sits on the top of a mountain overlooking the Payette Lake and the golf course. What a spectacular view.

On Saturday, the Lovely Sharon and I played with dear friends Barry and Nanette. On the par five, second hole, I put my third shot to within 18 inches of the pin. Not to be outdone, Barry hit his shot to about 8 inches. Barry had to mark his ball so I could putt. For several holes Barry and I wondered aloud about how lucky our wives must feel to be married to such golfers. Our wonderment stopped when I hit one in the lake and he hit one in the trees.

Each year there are new players joining the fun for the first time and some old friends are not in attendance due to the events of life that come around for each of us.

This year the golf course was perfect, the weather was perfect and our companions were perfect.

Same time next year.

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