Friends, golf and howling winds

Published 7:06 pm Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Last week we had the honor of visiting friends in Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, which is a far piece from Georgia. We traveled with seven other couples who, along with us, traded their flip flops and fans for golf shoes and cooler air. 

This was my first trip to Wisconsin, except for traveling through Milwaukee on a train a million moons ago. I didn’t know what to expect from a state where the temperatures fall far below zero in the winter and where a cheese wedge sits on top of folk’s heads during football season. However, to step off the plane and feel a cool breeze was just fine by me. 

Rain began to fall on our way to Lake Elkhart Village from Milwaukee, and the activities our hosts spent months to arrange for us looked as if they might be washed away. 

Once we arrived and checked into our room, we were to meet at our friend’s home a few minutes away. Smiles, hugs, bratwurst, cheeses, German potato salad and all things Wisconsin met us at the door. The Midwest accent was tempered with a few y’alls and bless your hearts, plus the falling precipitation never dampened the spirits of this lively group of friends. 

Have you noticed how foul weather never rains on true fellowship?

When we awoke the following morning, the rain had soaked the earth. Our planned day of golf at a nearby public course looked as if we might need a canoe instead of a golf cart. However, what was astonishing, was this group of 16 donned their hats and rain jackets and proceeded to hit the links anyway. Since there were no paved cart paths, I navigated the terrain with my golf cart and did a few scary spins as we tried to brake going down a slippery hill or two. My friend accompanying me in the cart gave me a hug after one truly hairy ride and exclaimed, “Thank you for saving my life!” 

 By the end of the day, my socks and golf shoes were full of water, but would I trade the day for dry clothes? No, because memories are made from thrilling rides, daring souls and crazy days.

Wisconsin is full of wide-open spaces filled with corn, red barns, silos, jersey cows and green acres. There was a swelling sense of freedom when I looked across the non-cluttered, quiet, peaceful horizon where American flags fly above the land and lakes glimmer in the sun. Green Bay Packers tee shirts and hats are a garment staple. Warm, soft pretzels, hot fried cheese curds and cold beer are consumed by the pounds and gallons which keep folks fueled for the harsh winters. However, it is the friendly, smiling, easy-going, Wisconsinites that adds the fuel to one’s soul.

The Bull Golf Course is aptly named. Built on land, which was once a dairy farm, this course is challenging even for the finest of golfers. Let me assure you, this girl is not anywhere close to fine. Plus, when The Bull blows 30 miles an hour winds which try to throw you off the tee box, it is incredibly tricky to hit a little, itty-bitty white ball! My girlfriends and I played together for our second day of golf daring The Bull to chase us away. We laughed at the howling wind, applauded a long drive or a good chip shot and wondered why none of us could putt. 

We hugged, high fived and tamed the bull. Isn’t it true when you have good friends, the bullies are usually tamed?

Friendship is a beautiful, God-given gift we should be thankful for every single day. Whether we are having a golf day in the howling wind or when the winds of life toss us about like a twig, it is the friends who will calm the howls. It is those buddies who jump up and down when we achieve a goal and fall on their knees when we need God’s help to stand. They are the ones that keep us traveling on down the road, together experiencing exhilarating adventures. 

I have had the privilege to visit many states in my life. And from across this land, friends walk hand in hand under the same flag, the same sun and the same stars at night. We can have differences, look, sound and live differently, but one thing remains the same from the folks in Sheboygan County to every American. We all need one another.