Tag Archives: Mike Harper

Memories of Dad and Golfing

Dad at Grandview in Brainerd, MN

My father taught me how to play the great game of golf for which I will be forever grateful (and my runner’s knees will be, too). When I was younger, my dad worked long hours – and still does – in order to save for his three kids’ college educations. If he had time off in the evenings or on the weekends, he loved to play golf. So in an effort to accumulate some valuable father-daughter time, I often accompanied him on those warm Minnesota summer evenings to the driving range.

Three young people (myself, my dad, and my brother) after a round at Rochester Golf & Country Club

Coach Myhro and I at the 2002 MN State Girls' Golf Tournament

At first, I wasn’t so into the sport. I don’t recall actually despising it, but I do remember being quite bored and whining to be taken home very often. My dad, determined to hit at least a full bucket of balls after a day’s work, usually sent me off on a “hunt” for tees. I delighted in finding the colorful ones. For some reason, they seemed to be worth more. On the weekends, we sometimes played a few holes before dark. He would play two balls, and I would scurry along behind him, brutally whacking away at a pink golf ball with a beat-up old putter.

Beautiful fall golf in Amherst, MA

Amherst Women's Golf team 2006-7

At some point, I must have begun to like the game, because I ended up with a full set of clubs and a trip to junior golf camp. But my favorite golf outing was still a trip to the range with my dad and his best friend Buzzy (“Uncle Buzzy” to me). Over the years, I became more competitive in the sport, joined the high school team, and competed in the State tournament twice. The more I played, the more I realized just how lucky I was to have my dad as my “coach.” He wasn’t like the other dads who hovered over their daughters on the range critiquing every minute detail of their swing, or who lived vicariously through their daughter’s talent – often to the detriment of her game and her social life.

Holding the flag on No. 12 "Golden Bell" at Augusta National

Dad and I with the Master's trophy

Eventually, I went on to play golf at Amherst College and continued as an assistant coach after graduation. Golf opened up a world of opportunity for me…It instilled in me a deep appreciation of the outdoors (the sights, smells, and sounds), walking, talking and making friends. Some of my best friends and biggest role models are golfers: Michelle Morgan, Steve Myhro, Meg Sullivan, my husband, Carolina Gonzalez, Buzzy Hermann, both of my grandfathers, and of course, my Dad. Happy Father’s Day, and thanks for teaching me the game.

Dad and I on the 10th tee at Augusta National


Filed under Family, Fathers, Golf, Nostalgia

You say “I do,” I say “I do, too”

Last week Christian traveled to Limestone, ME (population 2,361…eek!) for a job interview, while Sarah went home to Rochester, MN for her cousin Jeff’s wedding. We both had to don our winter coats for the trek north…

The wedding ceremony was lovely, and it had just the right amount of comic relief. The bride and groom had some difficulty lighting the unity candle (the wax from their candles kept dripping and suffocating the recently-lit flame), so they improvised and placed a lit votive on top of the wick of the unity candle. The minister congratulated Jeff & Beth for having passed their “first test of marriage,” and we all got a healthy laugh out of it.

The reception took place at the Rochester Art Center, which overlooks the Zumbro River. Sarah’s uncle Mick – true to form – had prepared a slide show of pictures of the bride and groom from childhood to the present. He plans to add wedding pics and a soundtrack and sell the DVDs for $20 for wedding guests and $10 for family (just kidding, but don’t get any ideas Mick).

The speeches were brief but heartfelt. Beth’s sister read a lovely poem that she had authored in honor of the couple. Jeff was welcomed to the family by Beth’s father as his “third son” (Beth’s other two sisters are married). The best man averted disaster, admitting that he had drank too much and would spare Jeff the embarrassment of a speech. Beth gave some kind words of thanks, and Jeff followed it up with a heartfelt “ditto” – also true to form.

Sarah witnessed two “firsts” at the wedding. The first of which was “kissing”…Certainly there is plenty of it at most weddings, but it takes on a whole new form at a Minnesota wedding. If someone taps their glass (much like they’re about to make a toast), others chime in, and as the sound of forks clanging against crystal grows, all eyes turn to the head table, where the bride and groom are expected to embrace and kiss in a dramatic fashion – each kiss more dramatic than the previous one. Finally, when the bride and groom are exhausted, they seek revenge on those who put them on display (all is fair in love and war, right?). The bride or groom clings their glass (feigning a toast) and then calls on a couple from among their guests to kiss in front of the entire party. After much “kissing,” the reception began to feel like an NBA game, where “kiss cams” scan the audience looking for couples eager to have their smooch broadcast for all to see on the jumbo tron hovering over center court.

The second “first” was a polka that Beth and her dad danced for the father-daughter dance. Sarah had never seen a bride step so quickly or so lightly in a wedding dress (in heels no doubt!), let alone after a pit stop at Kathy’s Pub before arriving at the reception. Hats off to Beth for winning the “Most Hardcore Bride” award of 2011.

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Filed under Family