“The Luck of the Irish” by Jennifer N. Martin
This story appears in the anthology “Not Your Mother’s Book…On Working for a Living.”
Most people associate golf with St. Andrews in Scotland, the “home of golf.” Not me. I associate it with St. Patrick’s Day, a fun holiday that I observe in the spirit of an Irish wannabe.
A few years ago, when I worked as a vice principal in a Sacramento high school, I observed St. Patrick’s Day as though my name were “Colleen,” even though I’m Italian by descent. I’d show up at school wearing green from head to toe and carrying a tray piled high with green-sprinkled cookies shaped like shamrocks. Twinkling green lights decorated my office, and I pinned green ribbons on any staff members who forgot what day it was. At times, when I was really rambunctious, I’d wear my dumpy-looking leprechaun hat and pass out gold-foiled candy that I had found at the end of the rainbow.
I confessed I’m not Irish, but I’m also not stupid. No way would I ever put myself in a position to be pinched by students just waiting to get even with their disciplinarian for not wearing green. I always prepared for the unexpected on any holiday, and St. Patrick’s Day, with costumed characters walking around campus, was always a day of camaraderie and fun. It offered a nice change of pace from my high-pressure job of disciplining angry students and dealing with their even-angrier parents.
One sunny St. Patrick’s Day proved to be an exception. It was a beautiful day, and the golf course called to me. Even though I was relatively new to the game, I was hooked. Do I really want to go to school and referee fights? I asked myself. Students in green would be pinching others who were not wearing green, and that would surely cause trouble. How can I pass up such a glorious day on the real green—the golf course? Do I really want to spend the day at school, battling in the trenches?
The choice was obvious. I called in for a “personal necessity day,” which is the faculty’s equivalent of playing hooky from school.
Soon I found myself playing golf at the Timbers Creek Golf Course in Roseville, California, where my husband, Bud, and I live. It was a day of exceptional weather, no wind, birds chirping . . . a day of glorious freedom. On the fourth tee, I punched the ball with my Light & Easy seven wood onto the green 95 yards away. The ball took two bounces and started tracking toward the cup.
Stumped, I quickly asked Bud, “Why do I need witnesses?”
“You just made a hole-in-one! People lie about that, so witnesses are now required to prove it.”
Talk about mixed reactions. First, I was stunned as I retrieved the ball from the hole. What a surreal moment . . . doing something that Bud, in all his years of playing, hadn’t been able to do. A hole-in-one!
I was beginning to feel special, but reality set in. It had all been a fluke. There was no skill involved. It was merely a random act of kindness bestowed on me by the Irish golf gods on my favorite day of the year.
Suddenly, and without warning, I began to get nervous. Will people think I’m good at golf? What a laugh! Will I be expected to duplicate this feat? Fat chance! Then school came to mind: What if the staff finds out I was playing hooky? What kind of dedicated administrator am I to leave the campus on such a rowdy holiday?
My mind continued to race. What if people at the bar at Timbers Lodge find out about my hole-in-one? It’d be bad enough to have to pay the bar bill as tradition demanded, but on St. Patrick’s Day, all the tipplers came out of the woodwork. One month’s salary would barely cover the tab.
I swore Bud to secrecy and we skipped the bar. Instead, we headed home to fix a traditional dinner of corned beef and cabbage, making sure to add green food coloring to the mashed potatoes and to toast myself with a glass of green beer.
The next day at school, I was in the mailroom when one of the football coaches walked in. “Was that you I read about in the paper this morning?” he asked. “Did you get the hole-in-one?”
“Yeah, that was me,” I admitted, wondering if Bud had ratted on me to the sports editor of the local paper. Turns out the golf pro at Timbers Lodge had called it in after Bud had secretly gone to the pro shop to buy a souvenir of my achievement, a little flag with the date on it to hang on our golf cart.
“Well, give me five!” the coach roared, giving me a smacking high-five. As the staff poured into the mailroom and later into the faculty lounge, I could hear him relaying my good news, all to cheers and applause. The staff loved it.
I was floored again. No one had berated me for taking the day off. No one had even missed me. Not only had I escaped getting into trouble, but I was the new hero on campus. Somehow, I had been elevated to the status of an athlete among athletes. Of course, I’d never tell them that the next hit after my hole-in-one had dribbled a few miserable feet, barely getting off the tee.
Although my colleagues paid new respect to me as a person of outstanding athletic achievement, I knew better. I knew that all my years of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day had finally paid off. The luck of the Irish—at long last—had rubbed off on me.
Jennifer N. Martin is a retired school administrator and former university professor. She is also an award-winning novelist (The Huna Warrior: The Magic Begins), screenwriter (Breaking Ground for Peace) and professional speaker. This year, Jennifer’s third book, Psoriasis–A Love Story, was published. This latest creative effort tells about her 30-year struggle to heal herself of psoriasis by going outside the confines of traditional medicine and embracing alternative treatments and protocols. Visit her website at http://www.JenniferNMartin.com.
Again, this story appears in “Not Your Mother’s Book…On Working for a Living,” under the chapter heading “Open Mouth…” The book is filled with 59 very funny stories by working stiff. Purchase this book today from your favorite retailer, Amazon (http://amzn.to/1yNYujU) or Barnes & Noble (http://bit.ly/1xXyrVR).
To submit your stories for consideration in future NYMB titles, go to http://www.PublishingSyndicate.com and click on the “Not Your Mother’s Book” tab.