by Cindy Hasz
American Reporter Correspondent
San Diego, Calif.
March 17, 2003
TEA ON THE NINTH HOLE
SAN DIEGO -- The closest thing to Mr. Magoo I've ever seen. The proverbial ugly cute thing: bald with residual tufts of withered Pampas grass covering the temples on both sides. At least there's basic symmetry in the shrubbery that's left on the great white dome. His glasses' lens are so thick his magnified blue eyes look like ocular carp swimming in aqueous fluid.
We are having late afternoon tea. He takes his in an old golf cup the wife says he's had for years. The ninth hole faces me as it's tipped up and down going into his thin, straight mouth. In a British accent he bemoans not having "knocked any balls about" for a long time. I tell him that I am going to get a golf cart and we're going out on the greens. His eyes light up briefly, "Wow," he says. He goes back to deadpan, but I know he is overcome at the thought.
He is looking longingly in the direction of the cookies. He can barely see them though they are right in front of him. He is diabetic.
His tiny wife looks at me and says, "He can 'ave one can't he?" I say, "Yes, but just one," with mock sternness. For Pete's sake, I think, the man is eightysomething and just diagnosed with a terminal disease. Give him a cookie!
Looking out the window he tells me what he always tells me, how they used to dance. Then he adds, "Now we don't do nuthin', just sit here in this house." He can barely walk these days, let alone dance. Oh, but he remembers.
They used to go to Laughlin, too. "We used to do things," he says with sadness. "Now... ." He doesn't finish. I find myself desperate to take them somewhere, anywhere. Flash - a vision of us in the carpool lane on the way to Laughlin in a golf cart.
They are so appreciative it is a great joy simply being with them.
On the way back from getting lab tests done one morning, we stopped at McDonald's. They'd never had Egg Mcmuffins. So we 'ad 'em. Soft and lovely they were. She kept saying that in an Eliza Doolilttle kind of way. Now they eat "Egg Mac-Muffins" whenever they can.
The other day on the way back from the oncologist we went to HomeTown Buffet. They'd never been there either. He ate a plate piled high with chicken and dumplings, roast beef and such. I could tell he couldn't see what he was eating but kept poking around and lifting into his mouth until he got something. Not wanting him to be embarrassed I pushed things onto the fork so he wouldn't come up empty.
The Mrs. loved the spinach souffle. "It's lovely, she says in her lilting voice with her face turned toward me like a violet. They ate till they nearly burst and then complained politely in understated misery all the way home.
Next trip we're going out on the greens. I don't care if I have to steal someone's golf cart for a few hours to do it. The Mr. and the Mrs. and I are going to go out there and 'ave ourselves an a'venture and a proper picnic.
Or maybe just a pot of tea at the ninth hole.