Thursday, June 03, 2004

Redneck Golf....and other family traditions.

I'm back from spending a week with my family in Michigan. It had been too long (eighteen months to be exact) since my last trip home.

I have seven brothers and sisters...we all get along amazingly well, especially when you consider all the conflicts and drama we had growing up. Five of my siblings live within two minutes of 'home' and the other two are only thirty minutes away. It always makes me homesick on holidays or birthdays or other special occasions when I know they are all together and I can't be there.

So, when I DO go home, it's a big deal in the family.

My two sisters and I always go to Frankenmuth to the Christmas store (Bronner's) for some shopping and (more importantly) to buy fudge. Lots of fudge. This year I bought a new tree topper, some nautical-theme ornaments, and some carved wooden garland. And four pounds of fudge at the fudge shop. After that, we went to Zehnders for an authentic German dinner.

We always round up as many brothers, sisters, brother-in-laws, sister-in-laws, nieces, nephews, and parents as possible and take in a minor league baseball game. Our local team is (I'm not making this up) the Lansing Lugnuts. That's right, Lugnuts. Auto manufacturing is big in Lansing, thus the Lugnuts. Unfortunately, our Lugnuts lost to the West Michigan Whitecaps, 3-1.

Then there is always the day where EVERYONE gathers at my mom and dad's house for lots of food, a little drinking, and a big bullshit session. In addition to my parents, all my brothers, sisters, and in-laws were there with the kiddos - about 45 people total. Many, many photos were taken.

Ahh...good times, good times.

HOWEVER...in spite of all that, the highlight of every trip is ALWAYS our round of Redneck Golf.

My middle brother knows people, lots of people from very different backgrounds. We're talking truck drivers, judges, strippers, weathermen, clowns, whatever you need - he knows someone.

So, a 'friend' of his told him about this golf course - a Field of Dreams sort of golf course built in the middle of corn fields and dairy farms. It's not Augusta, it's not a country club, it's just eighteen holes in the middle of nowhere. The only rules are that you let people play through and you bring your own beer. Period.

The first time we went was about six years ago. The "clubhouse" had a soda machine, a check-in counter, and a men's room. When I asked where the womens' restroom was, the Man Behind the Counter told me it was "down the hallway and around the corner".

I headed down the hallway, went past the office, past the electrical closet, past the storage room, thru a set of swinging doors, around the corner, stepped over the dog, maneuvered around a stack of boxes, and found myself face-to-face with another set of swinging doors.

I peered in, saw a stall and sink, and assumed I was in the right place. So....I went about my business.

It wasn't ten seconds later when I heard someone else enter the room. This was quickly followed by a "sniff, sniff, sniff."

The damn dog had followed me.

So now I'm in the very back corner of this redneck golf clubhouse with a dog pacing just outside the stall.

I only wish it had ended there....

The dog wasn't content to just pace outside the stall. Instead, he decided to crawl under the door and join me. And start howling at the top of his lungs.

Ahh...good times, good times.