Whilst Brendan and Bryce were off using the restroom, Curtis and I wandered over to the first tee pad when I made a comment about some brightly coloured clothes sitting on a park bench. He replied with “Oh yeah, they are,” followed by a small giggle.
Upon reaching the tee pad, Curtis set down his Bryce’s backpack, and Brendan’s red Zuca cart then pulled his around behind him and sat down.
Standing room only, I decided to engage the couple sitting on the park bench with her elderly mother. Both the man and woman were holding small dogs. Not quite small enough to be a “lap dog” like a Chihuahua or a Shitzu. And I offered up a question, “what type of puppies are these?”
The woman was somewhat surprised by my question then her husband answered, “These are toy Aussie doodle puppies.” “They sure are cute. How old are they?” came my response whilst looking them over. One a light brown with white chest and the other a mixture of black and white fur. “They are about eleven weeks old.” Intrigued by their size, I asked If I could pet the one the man was holding. “Oh, they think they are ferocious,” said the man. “Its okay, they won’t bit. I’m sort of a ‘dog whisperer’,” I responded with.
Fascinated by the words coming out of my mouth the woman stood up and retreated a few feet away from the group. She then says, “our puppies are not socialized yet. They don’t like strangers.” And as she said this, the man’s puppy began to lick the side of my hand. “What the heck!” the man exclaimed. “He’s licking your hand?” The woman edged forward then says, “would you mind giving him a treat? We’d be very grateful.”
Walking towards the woman, I held out my right hand for the treat. The treat was actually a piece of kibble. I giggled inside, then returned to the man and his puppy. Reaching out my hand the puppy licked the kibble off my palm, chewed and swallowed. Then sniffed my palm looking for more kibble. “That is very nice of you to help us socialize our dogs. Aren’t you suppose to play your game though?” she asked.
“Oh, we are awaiting the other two guys. They had to go use the restroom over at the Circle K,” I said, “Which is good for us, because I get to play with your puppies!”
All three people smiled, even the very old woman sitting on the end. She had not said a word and I wondered if she spoke English, then wished my Japanese was up to snuff. Instead I opted for the politest way to say hello to an elder and ask her how she was, “ Ohayō gozaimasu (おはようございます). Kyō wa genkidesuka (今日は元気ですか).” She smiled with an almost giggle behind my pronunciation of words, that I had not spoken in nearly a decade. Then she politely nodded.
The man smiled and says, “you know Japanese?” “A little. I once lived in Japan teaching English outside of Osaka. And I know its polite to ask elder’s how they are with a slight bow. Of course my pronunciation is probably a bit off.”
They all smiled and acknowledged my attempt at politeness with her mother.
“What is this game you are playing?” she finally said looking down at the brightly coloured discs in my backpack. Withdrawing a couple putters, approach discs, fairway and distance drivers. I handed them over to the three intrigued people.
“Its a game of golf. Just like the one played with clubs and white balls. Similar rules, too. You throw distance drivers for driving off the tee pad, fairway drivers for mid-shots and approach discs like a sand wedge or 9-iron bringing yourself into the green. Then you use your putter to get the disc into the basket. The thicker wider discs are for putting. Typically the thinner discs are drivers for carving through the air. Each disc flies a certain pattern or flight path to reach their full potential. You can throw it backhand like this,” and demonstrated the way you would release a backhand throw. Followed by, “this is a forehand shot,” and again provided a small demonstration.
“Huh,” came his response, “they have different textures, too.” he smiled.
“I like the thick ones,” said the elderly woman, “thank you.” I smiled at her and nodded my agreement then responded with your welcome, “Dōitashimashite (どういたしまして).” Again she politely smiled at my poorly pronounced words.
“You have been very kind to us,” said the lady holding the black and white puppy. “We are grateful to have made your acquaintance.” Then the elderly woman and man stood. “Thank you, I appreciated our conversation, and for your agreeing to let me play with your puppies. Have a wonderful afternoon.” Then I watched them wander away to stand behind a soccer goal where a temporary triple mandatory (mando) had been installed for hole #16.
The three people and their two puppies were oblivious to the group standing in the centre of the soccer field trying to tee-off.
Laughing inside, I sat down on the bench to await the return of Brendan and Bryce and to watch the comedy unfolding before us.
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