Well, it was back to the old drawing board. There was no way in the world I was ever going to be a postal worker again –that’s for damn sure. But what was I going to do? I had written two books, available on Amazon, but the sales aren’t lighting the world on fire, hell, they aren’t even igniting the small town of Thompson Station. I wasn’t even in to playing my guitar that much anymore, and I didn’t want to tackle another book although I had started writing a story about my relationship with my old girlfriend, the German one, the one that broke my heart, but that was too painful for me to relive. I was looking on Craigslist and, of all things; I saw an ad for a caddy at Richland Country Club. I can’t remember the name of the company but it could have been something as generic as Caddys ‘R Us, or Who’s Your Caddy Inc. I responded to the ad and set up an interview at ten am the next morning.
I woke up early, as I usually do, and took a long, hot bath with my cup of coffee resting on the stool beside me. I decided, since it was a beautiful late February morning, to drive my 1990 Alfa Romeo Graduate with the top down. I gave myself plenty of time to traverse the twenty or so miles to Oak Hills and I arrived a good twenty minutes early. I missed the first left turn into the county club so I took the next left which happened to be the maintenance entrance. As fate would have it, I found myself on the cart path, where those expensive little golf carts zip up and down next to the corresponding golf holes. I knew I needed to turn around, but that would have been hard to do without backing up and driving onto one of the fairways. Not a good thing to do. I noticed up ahead there was a gate that seemed to lead to the main entrance so I ventured forth. By the time I got to the gate I saw that it was padlocked closed. The only thing I could do was the reverse down the cart path and get the hell out of there before one of the workers saw me and reported me to the higher-ups. What mystified me was—where were all the golfers? I mean it was ten o’clock on a beautiful Tuesday morning and was driving through one of the most prestigious golf courses in Middle Tennessee and it was virtually deserted. Something was not right.
While backing up I veered a little too far toward the fifth tee box and ran over the curb. I then put the car back into first gear and eased my way forward but the car wouldn’t move. I turned off the Alfa, got out of the car to see what was impeding my forward progress. My left two wheels were on the cart path and the right two was on the grass. That wasn’t the problem. I saw the problem. To my amazement, the frame of the car in front of the passenger side rear wheel was lodged against the curb. I got back in the car, tried to rock it to the left. Nada. Then to the right. Nothing. I was stuck. What was I going to do? I couldn’t call AAA and have a tow truck pull me out in the middle of a very exclusive golf club where members pay over a hundred grand a year for membership dues. So I walked around looking for a worker or somebody to discreetly help me dislodge my car from the curb. As I walked toward the clubhouse, I saw four young golfers finishing up their putts on the fourth green. When they all putted out I asked if they could help me. It knew they were heading for the fifth tee box where they would see an unusual-looking golf cart in the shape of a black Alfa Romeo, so I headed them off at the pass. I explained my situation and they kindly offered to help. I got in the car, started it up while the four of them rocked me back and forth and then left and right. It wouldn’t budge and the back wheels were making a terrible divot not even Tiger Woods could make with a sand wedge. Then I had an idea.
I noticed the back right wheel was only four or five inches from the curb. If somehow we could lift the rear end of the Alfa and move the tire onto the curb my frame would be in the clear. The car couldn’t have weighed any more than eighteen- or nineteen-hundred pounds so I thought with a little elbow grease it could be done. Between the five of us, we were able to jimmy the car to the left and after about five or six tries, the wheel was resting comfortably on the curb. I thanked them profusely and pulled the hell out of Dodge. When I reached the gate I saw the padlock wasn’t fastened so I turned off the car, put it in gear, since the Alfa was parked on a steep incline and my parking brake wasn’t working, got out, opened the gate, and in a matter of seconds I was back on the main road to the clubhouse. I pulled through the main gate and parked the Alfa in the visitor’s lot and made it to the interview at five minutes after ten. Those four young golfer really save my hide. I hoped they wouldn’t say anything, but I knew that if they did I would be out of the interview before they finished their round. Not an auspicious start. I should have known then that this was not going to work out well.
The room had three-inch-thick red pile carpeting, oak-laden walls (the real stuff not that cheap wood paneling), high ceilings and a long banquet table with a lined table cloth in the middle. Seated around the table were six or seven applicants, all of whom were in their twenties and thirties. I knew, at the ripe old age of sixty-three, I was a out of my element. At the head of the table was appeared to be the manager and his assistant. The manager, whom I later found out was named Daniel, was pontificating about how pristine the golf course was and how, if accepted in this caddy program, we had to follow the rules, be quick, polite, always walk at least ten paces in front of the golfers and be ready to hand the golfers their club of choice. The assistant nodded his head and smiled. He was a lackey but a pleasant one, not like his boss, Daniel, whom I could tell was a complete asshole.
“Good service,” Daniel said, “was the most important feature of a caddy. “When I was in Northern California last year, I took my wife to a five-star restaurant where, I must say, we had the most amazing dinner of our entire life. It was a sixteen-course meal and the piece d’ resistance was the truffles they grated on our salad. Some of these truffles I hear can cost up to a thousand dollars an ounce. The meal was fantastic, but what impressed me the most was our water glasses. As soon as they got near empty, there was a waiter on hand to refill them. Now that was service! The check was in the four-figure range, but it was worth every penny.” This guy was so full of himself boasting about truffles and spending thousands of dollars for a meal. Every time he said something he thought was clever or impressive, he would punctuate the word or phrase by arching his eyebrows and bugging out his eyes. I disliked the man intensely. Besides, I thought it was all bullshit, but still I smiled and tried to look interested.
I filled out the rest of my application while the assistant, I think his name was Steve, told us, if our application checked out, we would get a call in the next few days to begin the training. It was a non-paying training but caddies could make up to two or three hundred dollars a day in tips, if they did a good job. I liked the sound of that. How hard could it be? I loved golf and I would get a lot of exercise. The best part would be playing this amazing course. Yeah, but I had heard that one before.