You never know how the day will go or what people of character you can come across in this great world of ours. Today I headed out to play a round of golf, not with friends or business types, just a fella wanting to have a little competition with mother nature. The day was a soft cool to cold drizzle, not hard enough to send you in, but constant enough to make you dread the need for eye glasses, a real Irish day. I was happy to play the front nine alone, the threesome ahead played at a nice pace and there was no reason to intrude on their game. The back nine on the other hand stalled, and on the eleventh hole they invited me into the group. So of course, one of the fellows was from Ireland, which isn’t that out of the ordinary being from Boston. This fella had a distinct Irish manner about him that made me have to pen this piece, and believe he brought a little bit of Ireland over here.
Tom was over visiting his daughter and three of his six grandchildren. His Waterford way of speaking gave him away, that and his gentlemanly play and quiet confident demeanor. You can tell a lot about a person on the links, some are loud and complaining, an excuse for every little thing that goes wrong, and others play the course and adjust to the flow of the game. I once played over in Ireland with my non golfing brother, a classic links style course in Dingle. Though beautiful and challenging, the fondest memory is of the couple playing behind us. We weren’t playing well at all, poor would be a better word, so on one of the tee boxes I asked if they would like to play past us, as we were probably slowing them down. One of the couple responded, “you’re fine, every ball you’ve hit has gone forward”. I had to grin, thanked them for their understanding, and enjoyed the rest of the round. This same kind of, enjoy the course attitude, was part of Tom’s being.
We talked a bit about the local courses and his family, when I leaked out about my old shop and family business, Tom got to lament the state of Waterford crystal these days, really a shame. He mentioned an Irish crystal company started by one of the old Waterford guys called Iona Crystal, and I asked him if he knew Joe Williams at Irish Heritage Crystal in Bilberry. All the time speaking in his low polite way, it made you do the same. Had the course been a little flatter, the trees disappeared, added some gorse and a burn, we could have been in Ireland, maybe The Old Head, or Potmarnock in Dublin.
We get to the last hole and Tom ends it well with a smooth swing and a kind word, there where two other fellows that played, friends of Tom’s family, nice enough, but not nearly as respectful of the game, the day, or the company. You meet people from all over, and some are ambassadors of their region, Tom from Waterford was such an ambassador, he was a man you don’t meet every day.