Golf Gypsy — The Sound of Silence

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“Since I was a very small child, I’ve had a kind of reverence

for the past, and I felt a very intimate connection with it.”

Hilary Mantel

Our family’s worn brown leather autograph book, slightly larger than a checkbook, now takes up space in a safety deposit box at the corner bank.  Ferrante and Teicher, a dynamic duo who played twin black polished Baby Grand Piano’s, appeared at our local Jr. College one night. After the performance my mother took my hand and the brown autograph book with an ink pen back stage, where we stood in line to ask these men to sign their names in our book. One of them asked my name and I replied, Letty. He wrote To Leddy, Ferrante and then he passed the book over to be signed by Teicher. I didn’t care how they spelled my name because their music made me feel happy inside.  Ferrante and Teicher

My father was a golf professional, and over the next few decades we collected the names of great golfers: Arnold Palmer, Patty Berg, Mickey Wright, and Jack Nicklaus. These names were mixed in with other musicians from stage and night clubs. I learned to play a Baby Grand piano but never advanced past the themes from Moon River and Exodus because I didn’t like to practice indoors. Instead, I left the music behind and turned my energies to playing golf. Over the next twenty years I played golf in between finishing college degrees, marriage, and raising three children.

Andy Williams Sings Moon River 

Golf became my escape from the noise and demands in my life as a teacher, mother, and wife. Whenever, I could not relax I hummed a tune. Now I wonder whether it was golf or the melodies in my head that helped me escape the daily angst.

Sometimes, I imagine my father whirling my mother on the dance floor as the band plays Begin the Beguine, a tune that visits my soul often, making me smile as my body sways to the rhythm.

Fred Astaire and Eleanor Powell Dance to Begin the Beguine

By my fifties and sixties with more time to be outside my internal music collection flowed easily. Whatever test or challenge I put before myself I found that it was easier if I could sing a song.

Theme from A Summer Place by Percy Faith 

Into my seventies I still seek the challenge of competitive golf. However, I do enjoy playing partner golf now. It seems only logical that the game becomes easier when two of us can take turns and carry each other through the tough shots and hazards, much like a marriage working hand and foot.

It should have been so easy, we could have won, we would have been a great team, but for the music. She asked, “What music do you want to listen to?” I shook my head sideways, “The sixties, I guess.” The latest trend in the golf world seems to be who can play the loudest music while playing golf. For several years, I have quietly gone along with the idea of listening to boom boxes blare, even though I cannot concentrate on my game, conversations, or music at the same time.

You Were on My Mind by the We Five 

How many times can you answer a question, wrong? I didn’t realize that I needed quiet tunes without words.

The day came that I needed hearing aids. I knew for sure that my problems with golf, talk and music from a boom box would be solved, that I could hear and understand both noises and still play golf. I was wrong again.

On a cold bitter winter day I experienced an ‘epiphany.’

I do not need music and boom boxes on the golf courses, I can rely on my soul to provide that. If my golf partner asks me, “What music would you like to hear?” I can reply, “The Sound of Silence. Please, the instrumental version only, or perhaps the music of the birds nearby.”

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