Tuesday, July 19, 2011

An Open e-Mail to Scott Van Pelt: The Legend of Fox Harb'r

In the wake of your Open Championship coverage (that I enjoyed) I thought I’d share with you this strange (developing) story concerning one of your colleagues.

Fox Harb’r is a rich man’s golf course here in Nova Scotia, bought and built by a guy who made his fortune with a chain of donut shops. It has a berth for your yacht if you’re coming by sea and a private landing strip if you’re coming by private jet as Greg Norman and Bill Clinton are rumoured to have done and as Tiger Woods certainly did, his visit having been documented by a made-for-TV event in 2009. Once upon a time, you or I could have played this course by walking up and paying $375 for a select number of tee times. Nowadays YOU could still play, but you have to stay at the resort, no green fees allowed (so, sorry me) but back just a few years ago, when it was sort of open to the public, a guy from work and I decided that we were going to scrounge up the dough and go. One day, we said. We were going to by- God go and do it because, oh, you can just tell by the pictures it's a beautiful course.

Well, we didn’t go that year but we promised ourselves and each other that for sure NEXT year we would, ... ah, but too late. That’s when the rules changed and the chance to buy green fees disappeared. He who hesitates and all that. So sorry.

Anyway, the guy’s name is Gary. We both work for the Canadian Navy, me in the headquarters and him at the Fleet Maintenance Facility (you can call it the FMF) where they repair the warships. So Gary and I are on the phone, talking about going to Fox Harb’r (this is still when the course is open to the public) and he’s sharing a story about three other guys from the FMF who had done what WE wanted to do; they got their money together and drove the three hours up to Fox Harb’r and played, the lucky sonsabitches. Gary tells me they were on the first tee, all ready to go but the starter stops them. Wait, there's another guy that’s going to join up with you, this single who's all by himself and the FMF boys aren’t very happy about this, aren't happy about this AT ALL. Come all this way as a group and now have to join up with a stranger? Pay all this money for a once-in-a-lifetime experience and now have to put up with this other fucking guy?

The other fucking guy turned out to be Curtis Strange.

This is the point of the story where I said, “Oh my GOD!” and Gary and I gleefully cackle and speculate how white the knuckles must have been for the guys hitting those first shots from the first tee. Can you imagine! What a story! Later, I told this story to dad.

And several months after that, my dad blithely repeated the story back to me, completely unaware I had told it to him first. In his version it was three guys from his golf club, not three guys from FMF.

As of two weeks ago, my dad has now told me this same story FOUR times, each time completely believing it’s the first time he’s ever told me, and each time it’s been three guys who went from his club. For the most recent telling of the tale, I figured I’d asked him who the three guys from the club were. He honestly appeared to be searching his memory and came up with the three guys’ names. Two he was for sure. The third guy he wasn’t so sure about.

This time I’m sort of shocked by my own reaction which is, “Holy shit, maybe it’s me. Maybe I'M the one who’s misremembered.” For the sake of my own mental health I called Gary and left a voice mail. He called me back this morning.

Gary says, “I was sitting in my dentist’s chair and I got my mouth open and all that stuff the dentist uses in my mouth and the dentist is telling me about how three guys from his club went to Fox Harb’r one time and got joined up with … Curtis Strange!!!! And I wanted to say BULLSHIT!!!! But I had all this stuff in my mouth….”

So, what.

We figure that somehow we have either become the originators of this new Curtis-Strange-as-Urban-Legend, or we have become victims of its perpetration. We are both feeling emotionally fragile. We don’t know what’s real anymore. Our reality rug has been yanked out from under us. If you could share this story with Curtis and have him get back to us with who exactly he played with at Fox Harb’r, we’d really appreciate it.

Until then, the legend continues to grow.

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