FAIRWAYS

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Chapter 13—Trash to Treasure

By the middle of May, the whole place is in a general frenzy.

The kids’ school starts to prepare the gym for the Memorial Day celebration. Some children excuse themselves every now and then to work at the Angus’ House. When the teachers find out about their students’ massive effort, they are very impressed. One teacher contacted a parent who’s a mover and asked for help on moving day.

To give some of Willie’s workers time to help with the construction, the children volunteer to clean the range of golf balls every afternoon, rake the bunkers, refill the course’s ball washers with clean soapy water, and wash the golf carts.

The players appreciate the dogs’ help. An older visiting player—who doesn’t own a cell phone—has a golf cart problem. To ask for help, he blows the ultra-sound whistle, and Bella shows up. The man puts his scorecard with a note in Bella’s vest pocket and sends her to Willie. Several minutes later, two carts show up, they give one to the old men, and they pull the broken one back to the cart barn.

The beverage-cart dog service works very well. The sales of refreshments increase, providing amusement for the players. Ingo has a youngster, Cody—the white Giant Poodle—as an apprentice. Cody just runs back and forth with the uniformed dogs to learn the trade. It’s funny watching them. The dogs get rewarded for each trip with tiny pieces of hot dogs from the cart.

Two dog forecaddies for each ladies’ foursome increase the speed of play.

The flurry of improvements at the course doesn’t go unnoticed. Visitors and resident players inquire about them. Once aware of the worthy cause, many contribute money for the construction and useful items for the Holley family.

The non-playing residents, in their daily walks in the morning or at dusk, see the construction, find out what it is all about and donate to the Clubhouse many household items for the Holleys: microwave, coffee maker, dishes, glasses, silverware, towels, beddings, blankets, fan, artwork, and even some small rugs.

Willie is preparing for the members a Patriotic Memorial Day Event on May 29. It’s a Monday, but he will close the course the next day in the afternoon. He has a golf competition for the members and in the late afternoon a party on the lawn.

The Ladies’ League helps the girls with the silent auction and a raffle for the party. The funds from the raffle ticket sale will go to the Holleys, while the auction funds go to the construction budget.

Kids are finding hole sponsors who, for having their business logo displayed on the hole’s tee box, contribute to the construction fund. Volunteer children also work the course for the event. They measure closest to the pin, longest drive, and sell mulligans on par threes.

*

On the Saturday before Memorial Day, golf vendors from different equipment manufacturers arrive at Broad Oaks around noon. They set up tents next to the driving range, present their new clubs and allow players to test them. The players can select what best fits their swing and place orders based on the different clubs’ characteristics— shaft flex and length and club-head configuration. This is a usual, twice-a-year event. Their testing equipment can provide the player with their swing speed, launch angle, ball flight trajectory, and shot distance.

Among many others, Pat, David, and Sierra get fitted for clubs, remaining to see whose parents are willing to fork out more than $1500 for a new set of clubs.

Cliff enjoys watching his buddies go through the motions of the fitting, but it doesn’t cross his mind to do it himself. He is pleased with the school’s borrowed clubs. Willie urges him to do it by promising him a layaway plan to pay in installments with his work, but Cliff smiles and thanks him very much.

“Willie, you know that my future-earned money is spoken for. My twenty hours of work a week will pay for our rent. No way would I jeopardize that.”

But Willie knows something Cliff doesn’t. He remembers one day when Malcolm—Cliff’s dad— told him about his regrets of not pursuing golf in his younger years. His dearest wish was to have his son become a golf pro one day.

“Cliff, I admire you for your thoughtfulness and discipline. But I know for a fact your father would be happy to know you have a future as a golf pro, go to school, and get a business degree for golf administration,” says Willie. “You know, bigger miracles have happened. Just have yourself fitted. You don’t have to place an order. Nobody does it immediately.”

“Okay, you win. I’ll do it. I’m dying to find out my swing speed and stuff. I have been reading Golf Digest. A neighbor gives them to me when he’s done with them.” Cliff gets up, and Willie sends him to the vendor’s stand.

*

The only item for the Angus’ House not installed yet is the three-foot aluminum and glass door on the side of the living room toward the clubhouse. Big Bertha lost Stray, her cat companion, when the last of her babies was adopted. Isa was the first to take Bobo, and he lives “the life of Riley” at Jim’s under the loving care of Doogie.

With that door not yet installed, BB still thinks the Angus’ House is hers. She goes freely in and out, day and night. The cool thing about her is that she knows who to let step in and take a look. She allows children in but keeps a close eye on them. It’s very possible that Pat and Ingo had chatted with her about that.

All the utilities are in. The carpet is installed in the loft and in Jasmin’s room, and Ray has done the linoleum floor in the living room. The polished concrete kitchen countertop looks like a Zamboni machine had just laid a fresh coat of ice on it.

The last day in May and the first day of June are scheduled for the cleaning before the move-in.

The aluminum door with glass arrives the move-in day morning, and Ray does some touch-up work after the installation.

With that last bit of work done, they leave the space broom-clean. Ray and Tom pick up their tools and load them into the truck. After a refreshing food and drink, they get on a golf cart and play a round of golf—on Willie, of course.

Immediately after three in the afternoon, girls armed with long brushes, portable vacuum-cleaners, buckets, rags, rolls of paper towel, bottles of Windex and mops appear from everywhere. They all walk toward Angus’ House, determined to win the battle.

Jasmin, who’s been taking photographs all along, comes around for a short visit and photographs the worker bees’ frantic activity.

Sierra knows from her mom—who has professional cleaners coming at night to the store several times a year — how it should be done. She organizes the cleaning to start at the top by brushing the ceilings, then the walls. Next, dust the place and clean the inside of the kitchen cabinets and closets. The vacuuming and mopping come at the end, while some girls do the windows.

From outside the house, you hear singing and music from an iPad as if a party is going on.

By seven, when they are all due back home for dinner, there is only the mopping of the floor left to do and the wiping of the bathroom plumbing fixtures.

*

Ray and Tom come back the morning of move-in, with one ceiling fan they had to exchange. They also have the correct finish hardware for the entry door. The girls did not accept the brass one. It had to be chrome to match the rest.

The moving truck loaded with the Holleys’ belongings arrives mid-morning. However, Jim and the accounting ladies of the clubhouse are still mopping the linoleum. The bathrooms are clean, but the floor is still wet. Big Bertha jumps on the truck to guard Jasmin’s belongings.

Jim opens the doors and windows for the floor to dry faster, and they all sit around and chat while Ray installs the metal entry door lock and latch. He tests it, asks Jasmin to open and lock it, and he excuses himself for a moment.

Ray returns with Willie, who’s holding a ring with three keys.

“It is my pleasure, Jasmin, to welcome you and your kids to live in our community.” Willie hands her the keys.

“Willie, words don’t do it justice, but thank you.”

There is not a dry eye in the place. Jim turns away, wipes away a tear, and Jasmin turns on the ‘Niagara Falls tears production.’ Ray quickly puts his sunglasses on.

Jasmin asks the mover to take the last few boxes loaded to the kitchen to unpack. When she gets to the kitchen, she finds a coffee maker and a microwave oven set on one of the open shelves, already plugged in. She feels blessed.

“My God, there still are good people in this world.”

While she is unpacking, Jim directs the mover to locate Jasmin’s furniture.

For taking Cliff’s bed up the ship’s ladder, they needed to get creative. They had to wrap the edge of the wood beam at the top of the ladder in moving blankets and secure it in place with duct tape. Two guys were up and two down, and they pushed it up until it was too high for the guys downstairs. Luckily, Ray is there and props it up from underneath with a piece of pipe from his truck.

Ray also brings a vast, lightweight package he received from Willie, with instructions to sneak it in and set it in a specific spot. He finds a moment when Jasmin turns away and places it in the corner between the entry wall and the long side wall of the day room. From there you have full view of the house and control of the outside doors. He unwraps a huge puffy dog bed for Big Bertha. He opens the glass door and quietly calls her in and orders her to sit in it.

“Stay, BB,” he says and goes about his business.

*

When Pat and Isa come from school directly to the Angus’ House, they find ‘a home,’ not a construction site. They walk in, look around, and Jasmin turns to greet them. The three humans see the enormous Big Bertha curled up comfortably in her new bed.

“Hi, BB,” says Isa and runs to give her a hug.

“I had no idea she was in the house. Where did the dog-bed come from?” Jasmin looks all confused. She finds a note pinned to the outside of the bed which says, Be a good girl, have a good life. Logan

Ray had installed the glass butterfly wall lamp over Isa’s bed that morning, which is covered with a new and brightly colored blanket donated by one of the girls. Isa hangs her backpack on a bookshelf hook at the foot of her bed.

“We have a new home, Mom. Thank you, Pat, for all you guys have done for us.” Isa goes to Jasmin—who stops working to enjoy the happiness of her little girl—hugs her and asks, “Mom, may I bring Bobo home, now?”

“Go ahead, sweetie, you’ve waited long enough. Pat, we are more grateful to you and your family, more than you can imagine. You gave us our life back.” She hugs Pat and turns back to her work. She doesn’t want him to see her crying again.

Isa returns with Bobo in a new plastic tub Jim has given her—Bobo’s sandbox. Pat walks with her, carrying a bag of cat food and one of kitty litter.

Pat helps Isa to unpack and find new places for her things while Jasmin gets the rest of the home ready. She puts soap and towels in the bathroom, sets up her bed and Cliff’s, unpacks the TV, and puts trays with glasses on the table. She’s waiting for guests. All the kids who worked on the Angus’ House are invited to a hot dog, mini-pizza, iced tea, and ice-cream party.

It’s Friday evening, and the party is on the Clubhouse terrace, but they are all invited to tour the charming home they helped create.

When the kitchen staff is about to bring out the ice-cream bowls, Jasmin surprises the children. From the hundreds of photographs she took to document the children’s exceptional efforts, she’d selected several dozen and made, with the help of the Clubhouse’s color printer, a book about the project. She also has pictures for Willie’s next Broad Oaks Newsletter.

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