We arrived in Lewiston a few days before Father's Day with the fifth-wheel in tow, which gave us plenty of room for two sets of golf clubs, mine and Gumpy's. I am not sure of the exact sequence of events, but somehow we decided to play in a father-son golf tournament at Bryden Canyon Golf Course. The course was on top of a bluff overlooking the subdivision Jim lived in, which was the most remarkable thing about the course. It played fairly easily with little water to contend with, which was well suited to my game.
It was overcast and occasionally drizzly the day of the tournament, which I suppose is a rarity given that the course still boasts it only receives nine inches of rain each year. Jim teamed up with his step-son Reid and Gumpy teamed up with me. Since Gumpy nor I knew our handicap, that was determined by the score of our first two holes. Luckily, those happened to be my worst two holes of the day.
The format of the tournament had the "father-son" combination rotate shots, so I would take every other shot regardless of how well I was playing. I remember stroking a few worm-burners (the term Gumpy preferred for shots that never made it off the ground) and missing a few easy putts those first two holes. Gumpy played his steady, straight as a string game. He never hit the ball hard but usually struck the ball pretty straight which helped him keep his scores reasonably low. We ended up having a pretty decent score, good enough to avoid humiliation.
We usually walked the golf course, so this tournament was a bit of a treat for me because we rented a cart to ride in. This was also the first time I was allowed to drive a golf cart, so Gumpy spent the entire day coaching me on how to accelerate and stop properly. We avoided mud puddles and he was very adamant about me not spinning the wheels in the mud. The only reason I remember that is he watched Reid do it and knew I probably wanted to follow his path, so he put the kibosh on me pretty quickly.
On the surface, this memory seems pretty unremarkable and I really do not want to give it weight than it deserves. Gumpy and I played hundreds of rounds of golf together, this certainly was not our first nor our last. We had already signed the best buddy contract and I was just beginning to understand that my dad wasn't coming home.
What makes it remarkable to me is that this is the first Father's Day I didn't spend with my dad and Gumpy just stepped in. There were no grand speeches, no proclamations, just his calming presence that I came to rely on. This is my second Father's Day without him, I have no idea how I would have gotten here without his presence. Thanks Gump, I miss you.