October 20, 2002

Glad we slept in this morning, because today's been a long day, and we need to get up early tomorrow to drive to Disney World. We played nine holes of golf with Marcus; he's basically a scratch golfer from the blue tees, while I tend to score in nine holes what he usually scores in 18 (if I have a good day). He played from the white tees with Al (which actually seemed to throw him a little), but after hitting four shots to his one on the first hole and losing my ball in a swampy area off the second tee, I picked up on both (or rather, I picked up on the first, and didn't drop on the second).

After it was obvious that I'd given up on the second hole (and as Al was lining up his second shot), Marcus drove over to my cart and said out of the corner of his mouth, "you're supposed to be playing golf." Me: "I know, but I'm sucking right now." Marcus: "So? Drop a ball and hit it!" He was right, I know, but it was insanely hot and humid, and I was trying to preserve my humor for a good shot off the tee. Whacking at the ball four times for every one of Al's and Marcus' just would have frustrated me, and I was trying to stay frustration-free.

I finally got a good one off the third tee and finished with a 6, not bad for me on a par 4. I played most of the holes after that. Marcus left us after the ninth but encouraged us to continue without him onto the back nine; it's apparently quieter and without houses and condos lining the fairway. We played 10 together, and Al finished 11; I picked up after hitting two really crappy shots in a row (a real one and a mulligan) off the tee that left me still miles away from the green on a par 3. That snuffed my hopes of posting a score for the back nine at least, and Al agreed that he was hot and tired, so we returned to the clubhouse.

There we found Mrs. Shin, who said that she'd bought steaks and would cook dinner for us. Al told her I was a vegetarian, she quizzed me about what I would eat (fish is OK with me, actually, but I usually say I'm a vegetarian so that I'm guaranteed to get something edible), and we agreed that there would certainly be something for me to eat.

We went inside and sat with Marcus and Mrs. Shin in the clubhouse bar for a bit; the locals were very rowdy—one guy came over and politely and matter-of-factly said to Marcus that if the guy sitting next to him put him in a headlock one more time, he'd be going through a wall, and another was arguing at the top of his lungs to anyone who would listen that a double eagle was obviously 4 under, not 3, no matter what the USGA said—but we managed to get in a bit of conversation anyway. We then agreed to meet Marcus back at the course at about 7:45 to follow him to his house for dinner, and went back to the hotel to shower.

This is getting to be a long story, so I'll jump ahead to dinner and say that it was great—Mrs. Shin cooked for us, which we understood to be a special happening, as promised. She served potatoes and onions, steamed rice, salad, kim chee, avocado, pepper jack cheese along with steak for herself and the guys and fried shrimp for me. It was delicious, and much appreciated; it was so neat to have a home-cooked meal at all, and especially on the road, when we'd been eating out so much.

We watched some of Game 2 of the World Series, chatted, and saw pictures of Marcus' sister Becky and her 15 month-old daughter, as well as some of a party that included Al's parents. I'm so glad I got a chance to meet Marcus and see Mrs. Shin again (I'd met her at Al's brother's wedding in New York last year). I'd never want to live in Lakeland (nor in Florida at all, I'd say), but I'm really happy that we included it in our itinerary.

Posted by Lori at October 20, 2002 08:58 PM