There are few memories that remain in our minds more vividly than adventures, excursions and mishaps that happen between fathers, sons and brothers. I can speak only on behalf of the sons and brothers, of course, but I think it is fair to say that the great worlds of the outdoors and sports certainly hold a special place in the memory of any boy or man.
My initial reminiscence brings me back to one of my usual bicycle rides up the sidewalk as an unsuspecting 11-year-old. Unfortunately, my younger brother had recently received a bow and arrows for his 9th birthday, and, unbeknownst to me, the young Robin Hood was just around the turn, with string pulled and ready to release. He shot me in the neck as I rode past. Right in the Adam’s apple.
Thanks to the inventors of dull aluminum training arrows, I escaped with nothing but a red spot on my neck. But I was shot in the neck with an arrow nonetheless!
I remember another time when he and I were playing golf on a soccer field by our house.
The field seemed huge to us back then, and we would take our pitching wedges and pretend to be PGA golfers (I was usually Jim Furyk, because he was from our home town, and my brother was usually Bubba Watson, simply because he thought the name “Bubba” sounded funny), calling our shots, setting pars and trying not to pick off neighbors in their yards along the field.
It was my shot, and he was standing in the way about 60 yards in front of me. Like any good older brother, I yelled for him to lie down where he was so that I wouldn’t hit him and then proceeded to take my shot.
I hit a perfect lob with that wedge, so the ball went up more than it went forward. My heart sank with the ball as it descended from 150 feet and landed with a “plop” square on his back. I, of course, had made that shot on purpose.
Some of my earliest memories with my father are from Stadium Grille, a local sports grill that we would visit to watch Phillies games. They had a “bison burger,” which, as it sounds, was made from real bison steak. I would always go to school talking about the bison burgers — what elementary girl could resist a guy manly enough to eat bison?
My brothers and I would also take trips to Veterans Stadium with dad to watch the Phillies. Those were the good old days with Pat Burrell, Bobby Abreu and Randy Wolf, when Philadelphia had a municipal court in the basement of the stadium, and the Phillies were so bad that free tickets came in packs of BallPark Franks.
I even remember my first round of golf with my dad. Well, I remember driving the golf cart, which left a bigger impression than driving every last golf ball into the pond.
My brother eventually gave up archery, and we have outgrown the Soccer Field Open. Stadium Grille has long since closed, and the Phillies now play in beautiful Citizens Bank Park without a judge waiting to arraign drunken fans in the basement.
But those memories will last a lifetime, and I wouldn’t trade one of them. Not one of my embarrassing drives into the water hazard, not one bison burger, not even the arrow to my neck. And especially not my vengeful golf shot of a lifetime into my brother’s back.