September 1, 2006

Joy

When I was twelve, I would sneak off on my bike and ride to the miniature golf course on Roosevelt Boulevard. It was two miles away, which at the time seemed really far, in the dangerous sense of far.

I would play two rounds, sometimes three, but only pay for the first. The trick was to skip the 18th hole, which would gobble your ball. I don’t know if the guy who owned the place ever noticed what I was doing, but if he did, he never said anything.

I can’t exactly picture him, but I have the idea that he was old, whatever old meant then. Forty? He would sit in the green hut on your left as entered. The hut had an opening on one side through which he would take your money and give you your ball and scorecard and pencil. The putters were around the corner.

Probably he saw what I was doing but didn’t care.

When I finished playing I would go to the Kentucky Fried Chicken next door and order a “Special Dinner”: two pieces of chicken, french fries, a biscuit, and a soda.

Such joy.