FAIRWAYS

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Chapter 6—Heart and Soul

March 24

The next day, Lani leaves her office a little early. On the way home, she looks at the brick house and the old mechanic’s shed. It’s clear to her why the members opposed the idea of demolition. The location is visible from the restaurant, the terrace, and from the cart path.

She does a visual inspection from the outside. To her delight, she finds two entry points of municipal water and a drainage line going to the municipal sewer main. The structures look solid, and the concrete slab of the metal shed is in decent shape.

The brick house is tall enough to build a loft—a partial second floor—with a dormer roof for light and ventilation. She already pictures it to be Cliff’s sleeping quarters and study room, while Jasmin and Isa can have the bottom floor. With a new roof and new windows, the old brick building will make a perfect sleeping area for the family once the wood loft is added.

Lani rushes home and arrives before Ingo has a chance to meet her. The reception he gives her is a combination of jumping on his hind legs, ready to hug her, and expose the belly for mommy’s caresses.

“Hi, baby Ingo. I love you too, sweetie.” Lani is down on the floor, messing with the hairy dog.

Jim comes to welcome her home and waits his turn for the hug.

“Hi, babe, you’re home early. What’s up?”

“Hi, Jim. Yes, a lot. I want to talk to you. Did you eat yet?”

“No, Pat and Isa should be here any minute now.”

“Oh, let’s prepare—“Lani stops, and she looks horrified. “Oh, boy. I forgot I was supposed to meet Cliff at SuperFoods. We’ll have to go get him at 4:30. Sorry about that.” Lani makes a grimace. She is annoyed with herself.

“Not to worry, Lani, I craved pizza today, and I ordered two medium ones for all of us. Should arrive any minute now,” Jim hugs her and offers a cup of tea. “You take everything too seriously. Have a seat and tell me what’s so exciting to side-track you.”

Pat and Isa arrive on the course side entry and the pizza delivery in the front.

While the pizza is crisping up in the oven, Lani tells the news of the day.

“Well, I checked at work, and the environmental protection department has a Wetlands Mapper. They’ll check their records to identify ours.

“Wow, Willie will be happy to hear that. Let’s eat that pizza. I am famished,” says Pat.

During lunch, Lani continues her news. “On the way home, I walked the surrounds of the brick house and shed.” Lani stops as she realizes Isa is there and they agreed not to reveal anything yet about the renovation plans to the Holleys. She shoots a guilty look at Pat and Jim, excuses herself, and goes to get drinks from the kitchen. Pat tries to fix it.

“Willie, the Club Pro, wants to see if Lani can help him with the plans for the renovation of the old brick house and the shed. He is thinking of making it into a small place for somebody to live in.”

“Is it going to cost a lot of money to live in it?” Isa asks and continues, “Could we live there? Mom says that we need to move in two months because we don’t have the money to pay the rent. She says we may have to go live for a while in a homeless shelter.”

A short silence sets in. Isa may not know what a homeless shelter is, but her eyes were bright with tears ready to roll down her cheeks.

“We will talk to Willie, and maybe we can help you out,” says Pat, and freezes, because trying to fix it he only gets in deeper and deeper.

“It’s a big challenge, I know. But I can talk to –” Jim stops Pat’s blabbering.

“So much for not ‘divulging details’ until we have confirmation, kid. Heck of a challenge, and a ‘pickle’ you conceived, I would say. Call it a ‘painful self-inflicted challenge,’” says Jim in a deliberately pretentious language hoping that Isa would not understand.

“We could be neighbors.” Isa’s face shines with hope.

The house phone rings, and Jim answers.

“Hello, okay, just a moment, please.”

Lani welcomes the interruption and goes to the phone.

“Yes, this is Lani Bellamy. Oh, yes. That’s wonderful. Thank you, Barry. I really appreciate this. Fantastic. Okay. See you on Monday.”

While Lani is on the phone, Pat figures out what he did and turns red in the face. He thinks he’s in over his head and doesn’t know if or how to pull it off. Darn right, painful self-inflicted challenge it is ....

Lani welcomes the interruption and when she returns to the table tells them the wetlands have been identified and they soon will complete the wetland delineation and mark the edges with survey stakes, flags, and GPS.”

“Wow, that was fast, Lani,” says Jim.

“What is that about?” Isa asks.

“We are helping Willie with another project,” volunteered Jim. “It’s about chasing the geese off the golf course onto the nearby wetlands, where they’ll be protected.”

“Why do geese need GPS?” little Isa asks, confused.

“No, no, Isa. The GPS is for marking the zone reserved for them,” Pat helps out.

“I think it’s time to get Cliff. Pat, do you want to come with me?” asks Jim.

“Yeah, sure.” In the car, Pat apologizes to Jim for not keeping the promise. “My big mouth, Dad, it got me in trouble again. A big one, this time. I’m so sorry. I meant well, but—”

“You’ll learn in time, and so will Lani. Look, not telling everything is not lying. Using discretion and good judgment is a skill people learn, little by little, through life experiences. I’ll tell you a millennia-old Arabic proverb that praises the value of silence: ’Speech is silver, silence is golden.’”

“Thank you, Dad. And I am sorry.”

Lani seasons a big, whole chicken breast and washes some Idaho potatoes to bake for dinner. She prepares a light backpack and puts a notepad, pencils, a tape measure, and her camera in it.

“Isa, you and I can go to the Clubhouse to measure that brick house. I can use your help.”

“Sure, let’s go. I want to see the house,” says Isa joyfully.

*

By the time the ladies returned from their visit to the brick house, Cliff has had his two pizza slices. All three men are chatting about the possibility of renovating the brick house for them. They all agree to wait until something firms up before getting Jasmin’s hopes up.

While Lani starts cooking dinner, Jim takes the children home.

That evening at the Queenan house was nice and quiet. Jim and Pat watched the news. Lani laid down some tracing paper, worked out a layout for the sleeping quarters in the brick house, and then joined them to watch a movie. DWG-floor plans

*

It’s a glorious Saturday morning. The sun is waking up the crepe myrtles ready to blossom. Lani, as promised, is at the Clubhouse, prepared for the survey of the buildings and existing utilities. She has hiking boots on and a hard hat from her previous construction supervision job at the Smithsonian in DC.

Willie sees her coming down the cart path and meets her outside. He calls one of his greenskeepers—a young and strong lad—and asks him to help Lani with whatever she needs this morning.

“Willie, I got great news. The County will contact you to arrange the marking of the wetlands. The wetlands mapper found it in their records and will mark it for us.”

“Wow, just like that?” Willie looks thrilled, and he continues, “That’s allowing for a bigger budget for the renovation. How cool.”

“Yesterday, I came home early from work, and I looked around a bit. Later in the afternoon, I did a general measuring—Willie cuts in,

“Yeah, I saw you with the young Holley girl. What’s her name?”

“Isa, she’s a lovely girl, and she told me her mom—Jasmin is her name—said they may have to live in a homeless shelter for a while. It broke my heart, Willie,” says Lani, wiping away a tear.

The young greenskeeper arrives with a crowbar, eye protection glasses, and gloves.

“I’m ready, Miss.”

“I’m Lani. Nice to meet you.”

“I’m Luca. Nice to meet you too, Miss.”

Willie walks away and says,

“Have fun.”

“At what time at the end of the day may I talk to you?”

“I leave at 7, so come please just before that, okay? I want to talk to you too.”

When Lani gets home, she finds Pat and Jim digging in the front yard. They are planting rose bushes they just bought from the nursery.

“Hi, guys, I’m back. Are you two going to be long?”

“We just have to put the seedlings in,” Pat says.

“Gardener, I am not, but my Granny taught me to fill the holes with water, and plant when the sun is a little down, or they will scald, I think. ”

“Oh, that’s right, they told us that in school, but I forgot.” Pat is removing his gloves and scratches his head, and as Lani goes in, he says to Jim,

“Miss know-it-all just rubbed our noses in it, didn’t she?”

“Oh, don’t worry. We’ll get her big, one of these days.” The dirty men go in.

“Look at all of us,” says Lani, “We all look sweaty and dirty for a change. How fun!”

“We have a clear chicken soup and chicken salad for lunch made from the carcass and left-over chicken breast.”

They all clean up while the soup heats up.

*

During lunch, Jim is giving Pat a wink, and Pat starts saying,

“Lani, you know what I think?”

“What’s that?”

“I think, after lunch, we should go to the range and Jim can play a few holes. You give me a lesson—you like doing that, right?

“You’re right. Otherwise, I’ll just sit at the drafting board all day and possibly even forget to make dinner for us.” Lani puts down her spoon and starts laughing.

“What’s so funny, babe?” Curious, Jim asks her.

“Well, in architectural school, at the top landing of the lobby’s helix monumental stair, was a beautifully Venetian painted wall with a life-size Vitruvian man painted on it and—” Pat asks her,

“What’s the Vitruvian man, Lani?”

“It’s a fifteenth-century Leonardo da Vinci drawing representing a man in two superimposed positions, with his arms and legs apart and inscribed in a circle and square.”

“Why is it not called then, the Leonardian man?”

“Leonardo made this small ink on paper drawing in 1490 and has notes of the Roman architect Vitruvius. But anyway, the Dean of the Architectural School had them put a slogan at the bottom, The architect, when he sits at the drafting board, thinks of man. We, the students, taped on top of it a paper that made it read, The architect, when he sits at the drafting board, forgets to get up.”

“That’s funny. Yeah, that’s just like you, babe,” says Jim. “When your mind is on something, nothing else registers with you.”

“You’re right, guys. I’ll go and doodle a little because I’m meeting Willie at 6:30. At about 4:30 or 5 we’ll go hit balls. I would like you guys to come with me when I meet Wille.”

“Perfect, I want to watch a little golf now, and we can plant the roses before we go.” Jim thanks her for lunch and goes to watch golf on TV.

*

By four, Jim and Pat go out to finish the planting, Lani changes into golf duds, grabs her drawings and papers, and they all go to the Clubhouse.

Jim tries to get in nine holes while Pat, Lani, and the dogs go to the practice green. They putt a little, chip, pitch and then go to the driving range.

“Look, Pat. What do you think makes the golf ball hit with an iron jump up and fly high?”

Pat thinks a bit and takes a guess,

“The force of the hit?”

“No, not exactly.”

“Not the force of clubhead impact? How can that be?” asks Pat, confused.

“Well, let me help you. The point of this is for you to understand it, not to memorize it. Come here, on the cart path, and take a range ball and this new ball I play with. Okay, now stretch your arm in front of you and let the balls drop, one at a time, on the concrete cart path from shoulder height. Just drop it.”

The balls bounce off the concrete, and Pat catches them on the way up. He looks even more confused now.

“So, Pat, what did make these balls jump up? There was no FORCE applied to them. It was just a little gravity.”

Pat can’t come up with an answer. Then Lani continues,

“We agree that my ball jumped higher than the old and abused range balls. Right?”

“Yes, absolutely,” says Pat. “Wait a second. Your ball is much softer.”

“It has higher compression. Work with that term please, it will help you,” says Lani.

“Oh, you mean the iron compresses the ball,” and Pat can’t quite finish the sentence.

“Yes, Pat. Onto what? The iron compresses the ball onto...,” and Lani waits for Pat to finish the sentence.

“Onto the ground.”

“Yes, the irons compress the golf ball onto the ground, and that is what makes it fly. That is the secret of the game, my dear boy,” and Lani is dancing a jig. “You have to hit your irons downward on the golf ball to compress it to the ground.”

“I think I understand. Every kid tries to scoop the ball and what they get is a forward spinning and low flying ball that rolls on the ground.”

“One more theoretical element for today, and then we hit balls. Imagine you have a ping-pong paddle in your right hand. Now, the little ball is flying slowly toward you, and you hit it with a cutting movement from your right toward the center of your body. What does the ball do?”

“The ball will start spinning toward the right and tend to fly short and high and to the right.”

“Exactly. That is the sidespin. The same thing happens in golf. If you understand these two concepts and think about them a few hundred times,” and Lani starts laughing, “or thousands of times, you can play golf.”

“Wow, it’s exactly the opposite that you would think.”

“Yes, kid, the game can be counterintuitive. If you are a right-handed person, your leading side is the left. If you hit down, the ball goes up. If you hit up, the ball goes down. We’ll talk more later. Now, take your stance.”

“Lani, just rerun the address position points, please,” says Pat.”

“Okay. Stand tall, chin up, feet square and shoulder-width apart. Now lower yourself by sliding your tush down like an elevator by bending the knees slightly. Arms hanging naturally down and relaxed. Grab the iron with its leading-edge square to your aim line. Put a good grip with the left hand—no space please between the left thumb and base of the index finger. Do not touch the index and thumb tips under the grip. Now, wrap the right hand nicely on the grip and feel the two hands connected, and a light pressure between your two thumb pads.”

“Oh, boy. I will have to write this down,” says Pat.

“It will become automatic, as you need to do this for every shot on the range and on the course. It becomes so automatic, you can jump off a chair and land in the perfect golf address position. It’s a promise.”

“I know you by now. You’ll make sure of it,” says Pat laughing, and starts hitting golf balls.

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