It was the summer of 2010 and I remember being at Kings Island (an amusement park in Cincinnati) standing in a very, very long line to get on an indoor rollercoaster that speeds along in the pitch black! Oh the things we do for a thrill. With me was my wife Laura, my then 15 year old son Joe and my good friend Keith. The three of us had traveled to Indiana that summer to visit with Laura’s family and friends for a week (Laura is a Hoosier, and a diehard Boilermaker). While there that week we also visited with Keith and his family for a couple of days. They lived in Cincinnati, a short 2 hour drive away. You still with me? That’s Boston, Indy, Cincinnati if you’re keeping score. Ok so that leads us back to the long line at Kings Island. Standing there in the summer heat (forever it seemed), passing time by making fun of all the amazing mullets on display by the locals in line with us, we got to talking about our golf trips. Keith (not sporting a mullet) is a long time participant in the Arizona golf trips with me. In fact we had just returned from our annual May trip to Scottsdale a few weeks earlier. We started to talk about someday going somewhere new. The idea of a trip to Ireland or even Scotland some year instead of a May trip to Scottsdale was thrown out there as a feeler. I liked the sound of that. Must have been the hot Cincinnati sun because it didn’t take long for us to decide that Scotland was the trip to take and that we should someday, but when? After a fairly short deliberation it hit us. In that line with all those mullets on display was the conception and the birth of “SA2013”, St. Andrews 2013!
The obvious question – why wait almost three more years from then to go? I don’t know? Was it financial? Maybe just a little. The time required to plan it? Not really. Other family or job commitments? Nope. I could make something up but I wont. Truth is the reason for waiting until 2013 boiled down to this. It was 2013 when my son would be over 18 years of age, a grown adult, and if you don’t know it 18 is the “legal” drinking age in Scotland. They start ’em pretty young there. That’s right, this golf trip was being planned around my sons ability to have a beer with is old man – post round of course. Seeing that it would be his first summer back home after his freshman year at college, I saw it as this perfect Norman Rockwell painting in my head, me passing him his very first alcoholic beverage, and us sharing a toast together. Sniff, Sniff. Do you see it? Yup my recently welcomed home from college freshman, who is all grown up now, was finally going to have his very first beer. Such a picture perfect moment for any dad. You still see it? Pass the tissues. Alright enough I know, I know. But I can still dream can’t I? We know whats most likely going on up at that school of his. I’m not THAT stupid. So much for my Norman Rockwell painting. I still love you Joe, but remember study first, party second. Still it was as good a reason as any for me, and still a nice father/son moment. I will get to have a beer or two with my son and he’s buying! Yeah, right.
So it was decided. We would journey to the Kingdom of St. Andrews on the first week of June, 2013, for 7 days of golf, 7 days of a new culture and 7 days of enjoying the finer offerings at some of the local libation establishments. But lets not kid ourselves here. This was all about the experience of playing golf in St. Andrews and Scotland. The dates were marked in our calendars. It was time to start planning a trip – even if it was not for almost another 3 years. Oh, and if you’re wondering, yeah the rollercoaster ride in the dark was pretty cool.
PS. I would be amiss if I didn’t make the following public service announcement after putting you through the above story. Please drink responsibly and don’t ever drink and drive. While I’m at it don’t text and drive either. Thank you.