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The Ninth Annual Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Golf Tournament

How many of you remember reading those “Choose Your Own Adventure” books when you were a kid?  Or, if you’re a little older, like I am, you remember reading them to your children, or buying them at Maple Street Children’s Bookshop as easy gifts for birthdays or holidays.  The premise was simple, but brilliant: two scenarios were set up at the beginning, and depending on which one you chose to follow, the narrative took different twists and turns and the alternate stories came to completely separate conclusions, so by the end of the book, you could start all over again and read a brand new story by making another set of choices.  Well, this blog entry is going to be like that.  Ready?  Here we go!

A. The morning of Friday, May 10th, had a gloriously beautiful dawn–the clear rosy sky at 6 am was free of clouds, there was a light cool breeze rustling the fragrant jasmine vines and creamy white gardenia bushes, and as the sun peeked above the eastern horizon, everyone involved with the 9th Annual Pat Browne Golf Tournament knew that it was going to be a perfect day for a game of golf.

B. There was no dawn on Friday, May 10th.  It was 6 am, but it seemed more like midnight–the sky was thick with ominous slate gray storm clouds, and a steady, rumbling growl of thunder in the distance could be heard.  The humid wind smelled like ozone.  As the first few heavy raindrops began to fall, everyone involved with the 9th Annual Pat Browne Golf Tournament had an anxious, sinking feeling in the pit of their stomachs.

Did you pick A?  Well, I didn’t say YOU could choose.  I’m afraid we’re going to take B.  All right, next round!

A. As the morning crept into the early afternoon, Natalia and Rachel discovered that an amazing thing had happened:  a group of unusually tall, broad shouldered and handsome firefighters had heard about the tournament, and the afternoon before had loaded every beer, soft drink, and water bottle onto their shiny red fire truck, then swung by Stein’s deli to pick up the ingredients for the sandwiches.  They spent the evening in the firehouse, assembling all of the corned beef, turkey and roast beef sandwiches, wrapping them and marking them appropriately.  At ten a.m., they arrived at Audubon Clubhouse, and by 11 had iced down the drinks, organized the ice chests according to contents, set up chairs and golf carts, and cleaned the shelter.  The hunky firemen decided to set up a kissing booth to earn extra money for WRBH from the lady golfers (and anyone else who was interested) but some idiot HAD to start a fire in her kitchen, so the firefighters had to leave.  Natalia and Rachel had time to get mani-pedis before registration.   Jackie’s hair was smooth. glossy and perfectly straight.  The tournament was ready to begin!

B. As the morning crept into the early afternoon, the backbreaking work of loading the beer, soft drinks, and water bottles into Jim Lazare’s truck had begun.  Rachel and her mother had been up until the middle of the night assembling, wrapping, and marking over a hundred sandwiches out of the fixings supplied by Stein’s Deli, and although the event had been planned to perfection, no one had anticipated having to field so many calls from golfers deciding they weren’t going to risk getting soaked to the bone today.  The damp, sweating WRBH staff, volunteers, helpers and committee members (Laura, Larry, Jim, Marie, Melinda, Sharon, Elaine, Peter, Brian, and Jackie) manned their stations as Natalia and Rachel ran interference and took care of last minute details.  The tournament was ready to begin!

Yes, that’s right.   B again. Next round!

A. After registration, the cheerful golfers, armed with mulligans, ice cold beer and sandwiches, hopped into their golf carts and began simply the best game of golf they had ever played.  It was everyone’s lucky day–no one had to use a mulligan and not a single ball was swallowed by a sand trap or lost in the lake.  The temperature stayed at 70 for most of the day, and the gentle sun flushed the golfers’ cheeks and warmed their backs. After 18 luxurious holes, the golfers made their way to the shelter and waited for the prize drawings and the crawfish and oysters to arrive.  Meanwhile, back at the clubhouse, the staff and helpers were getting massages while being treated to a performance of  AFTERNOON OF A FAUN by a wandering freelance Russian ballet troupe.

B.   After registration, the cheerful golfers, armed with mulligans, ice cold beer and sandwiches, hopped into their golf carts and began simply the wettest two holes of golf they had ever played.  In what seemed like a relentless monsoon, the brave golfers trudged through the sodden course with rivulets of rain running down their cheeks and necks, soaking their backs.  As the pinkish bolts of lightning flashed in the distance and the thunder rattled the clubhouse walls, the tournament  was adjourned and the golfers returned to the shelter to await the prize drawings, crawfish and oysters.

Can you guess which one?  Good job!  You’re getting the hang of this!  Next round!

A.  In the shelter, the mood was convivial and relaxed.  The golfers had enjoyed spending time with their friends and raved about the delicious refreshments, and the staff and volunteer helpers had had a wonderful day visiting with each other and noshing on the mouth watering sandwiches, chips, cookies and pralines.  When the names were picked for the prizes, it seemed like just about everybody got one (except poor Jeff Hernandez, but he had won big the year before!)  The luckiest of the winners were Peyton Bush, who got the first prize of golf and overnight stays at the Grand Biloxi; Larry LaHoste, who won 4 tickets to events at Tales of the Cocktail; and David Radlauer, who scored the gift certificates to Perlis.  When Acme arrived, the oysters were plump, cold, and salty, and the freshly boiled crawfish were huge and meaty.   The meal was accompanied by lots more cold beer and drinks, and La Divina donated luscious ice cream sandwiches for dessert.  Patrick Browne’s wife Joanie arrived with their adorable little boy, and his demonstrations of golf swings with his baby-sized club charmed everyone.  The sounds of laughter and talking in the shelter were louder than the cracks of thunder and lightning, and the sheets of rain didn’t dampen the spirits of the group–they were survivors, and they had a great time.

Nope, there’s no B.  This adventure had only one ending, and it was a good one, regardless of how it began.  The Ninth Annual Pat Browne Monsoon Radio for the Blind Golf Tournament was a blast, and a great success, and we thank everyone who helped to make it so.  Hope to see you all next year!

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