Both sets of my grandparents, one set Jewish, the other WASP-y, were avid golfers. They lived in Florida, traveled to Arizona and Scotland and belonged to various clubs in the ’60s and ’70s, when middle class folks could actually retire and spend their time golfing.
On a recent trip back to NYC, my mom dug out a pair of chiffon yellow Bermuda golf shorts with my grandma’s initials embroidered on them and gave them to me. Thanks Mom, maybe I can wear them in some hipster renaissance outfit somewhere in SF.
My mom pulls crazy things out of boxes and storage places in her small Greenwich Village apartment; like hordes of clowns coming out of a circus car, the treasures just keep coming. These were pristine and had probably been cloistered away for more than 30 years. Suffice to say I am NOT a golfer, save the mini golf experiences with my kids. I get the appeal though, and can perhaps imagine, that some day it might be of interest to me.
Golf, however, is a huge part of the travel market and I have written about golf courses and destinations for years. Two recent stories got me thinking about the symbolism of golf in today’s world. The New York Times story: Revolutionary Cuba Now Lays Sand Traps for the Bourgeoisie and the NPR story charting the golf course casualties of the recession, seem to encapsulate so many of the changes rocking our country, the global economy and the geopolitical shifts in the world.
Many of us like to believe that we’re remarkable travelers, having visited dozens if not hundreds of countries and connected with people in many cultures, but a news story in today’s San Francisco Chronicle about the death in Venezuela of a husband-and-wife team of travelers brought home what one meaning of the phrase “world traveler” is: one who never stops traveling.
How many of us will continue fearlessly roaming the globe into our 90s? That’s right, our 90s? The odds are that few of us will even reach our 90s but the amazing Hugh and Elsie Chang of Walnut Creek, California did just that, and perhaps they would have continued into their 100s if their lives had not been cut short in a boating accident on the way to see Sapo Falls the day before heading to Angel Falls.
Hugh Chang was 92 and Elsie was 90. We should all be so lucky to live the way they lived, to see what they saw, and to keep going until only an accident can stop us.