Jay Meehan: Core Samples
Outside, clean from the week’s rains, Friday morning had a smirk on its face. The eastern flank of Timpanogos remained free of snow and, from the lower deck, if you peered through the almost perfect circle created by the nearby aspen leaves, you could see as far as the day after tomorrow.
Inside, on the computer, a less joyful story had been unfolding during the opening round of "foursomes" at the Ryder Cup. The Euros were up early in two matches and the other two were "all square," as they say. A dread-like foreboding kept knocking wedge shots stiff to the pin and my boys were coming up short.
Being a huge Ryder Cup fan with no NFL team and the underachieving Dodgers dangling by their thumbs, the biennial dimple-ball competition between Europe and the USA captured all of my attention this past weekend. All chores that didn’t relate to Medinah Country Club or the refrigerator went undone.
But out in the long shadows of morning even those games closest to my heart seemed trivial. The day glowed with possibility. A walk around the neighborhood lightened the load. The horses and dogs and magpies and doves greeted me with their usual discordant harmonies. Seemingly, all was one.
This part of the northeast flank of the Heber Valley is sagebrush country (artemisia somethingorother) intermittently splattered with homesteads and currently being taken over by illegal Mexican doves. Somewhere, a huge population of refugee mourning doves awaits its "Che" to take its cause to the streets.
Back at the ranch, the lads from the colonies had sank a few putts of their own during the morning alternate-shot matches and eased ahead of their European counterparts going into the afternoon better-ball session. By the end of the day, the Yanks held a two-point lead.
On Saturday, the home team picked up another couple to lead by four going into Sunday’s singles matches, a discipline in which they most always excel. It would take a near miracle comeback for the Euros to retain the coveted Cup. I put on my swagger, grabbed a chair and a thermos, and headed out to watch the full moon rise.
For whatever reason, going no doubt back to my misspent youth, the Harvest Moon, the closest full moon to the autumnal equinox, has always been my favorite. I had read going in that it would crest its fullest this year at 9:19 p.m. MDT, so I knew I wouldn’t be pulling another night-sky all-nighter, as is so often the case when the visible universe is going through one of its cosmic show-off phases.
Looking back Sunday evening after all had been said and done at Medinah, I wondered if an intergalactic sign or two might have somehow given me the slip during the lunar rapture of the previous night. Certainly, what transpired on Course No. 3 during that day of golf had to have followed some sort of celestial forewarning.
Not that the European team’s highly improbable comeback from what was, at one point on Saturday, a 10-4 deficit, had never been accomplished previously in Ryder Cup history. In fact, Team USA had pulled off a similar Sunday reversal of fortune back in 1999 at Brookline, Massachusetts.
My karma never allowed me to enjoy that particular triumph against the odds, however, as, following Justin Leonard’s dropping of a 75-foot putt, Team USA and entourage stormed the green while the match was still in progress. Although very few of my friends agreed with me at the time, I was too embarrassed by the Americans’ lack of class to be in much of a celebratory mood. So it goes.
This year, on Sunday, the dread-like foreboding of early Friday reappeared and trudged onward throughout the day. We who shape, for whatever neurotic reason, worse-case-scenarios into an art form wouldn’t have it any other way. We could see it coming and flat-out wallowed in our ongoing misery.
This time around, it took the eastward-bending long shadows of evening to heal the angst of the woebegone. Once again, the usual neighborhood suspects, horses, dogs, magpies, and doves, provided harmony for the circuitous trek. They are only games, after all, and one shouldn’t take them too serious. Ya, right!
There’ll be no second-guessing of strategies or performances at Medinah from this end. I’m over it and am already assembling my game face, not to mention a few single malts, for the next Ryder Cup which will be held at Gleneagles in Perthshire, Scotland, September 26-28, 2014. Go Yanks! Beat them Euros and retake the Cup! But, if you don’t, I’ll get over it.
Jay Meehan is a culture junkie and has been an observer, participant, and chronicler of the Park City and Wasatch County social scenes for more than 40 years.
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