The U.S. Senior Open is scheduled to be played at the Des Moines Golf and Country Club July 8-11, 1999. I look forward to attending that event. I want to see the great golfers. But mostly I want to find the member that got me in trouble when I worked there as a busboy in high school.
Believe it or not, I didn’t have any burning career goal to be a busboy. I didn’t take a course at the Learning Annex. I didn’t order an audio- video tape package from Anthony Robbins called “Awaken the Busboy Within!” I didn’t have pictures of big-league busboys in my room- “Mo Snyder worked as a busboy at the Plaza Hotel for 45 years!”
No, I worked at the Des Moines Golf and Country Club as a busboy for one reason. Every Monday morning any employee could play golf on either 18-hole course! Now, being able to play these courses probably didn’t seem like that big a deal to the members who kids I shared the halls with at Valley High School. But there are 93 kids in my family. With that many people to feed my parents would never have been able to afford a country club. So being able to play for free on a great course was nirvana. And they had TWO courses.
The only rule was you had to tee off by 12 noon. So every Monday I rode my bike in the cold dark before the sun came up so I could tee off as soon as it was light. Then I would play 18 holes on the North Course and then ANOTHER 18 on the South Course. It was all legal in my opinion as long as I teed off by noon.
Those were some of the best days of my life. On Mondays the course was deserted. I would hit 10 balls off the tee and speed around on the cart to pick them up. I would get the cart rolling down a hill and then spin it out on the grass made slick by the morning dew. I would hit “smiley” balls at cows in the surrounding farms. Mooooooooooooooo! BONK! It was great fun and the cows seem to like it, too. Hey, what else is there to do to pass the time if you are a cow in Iowa?
One Monday I played the North Course and then teed off on the first hole of the South Course.
“HEY!”, somebody yelled. It scared the bejesus out of me because, as usual, there was nobody within sight.
“HEY! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?”, a man demanded as he came out of nowhere up on the tee box. It was one of the members. He looked to be about 75.
“I’m playing golf”, I said, in a tone that could both be taken as stating a fact and being sarcastic at the same time.
“YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO TEE OFF BY 12 NOON!” he yelled even though I was standing right next to him. I looked down at my watch. It said 12:03.
“ONLY MEMBERS CAN PLAY THE COURSE AFTER 12 NOON!” he bellowed. I looked out at the course. Only a warm breeze rustling the leaves on the trees broke the silence. The sun was high in the sky. Distant cars on the freeway shimmered in the summer heat. The course stood empty.
“WHO DO YOU WORK FOR?”, he demanded, his voice the same level as before.
I told him I was a bus boy in the kitchen. He said he was going to make sure my boss knew I WAS BREAKING THE RULES! He said it may affect my employment and more importantly, I MIGHT BE BANNED FROM THE COURSE!
His face got more and more red. His teeth seemed to have a mind of their own, jostling in his mouth as he spoke. I didn’t think about how small-minded this person was. I didn’t think about how, wherever you go, someone has to be a snob, and make sure you know they think they are better than you. I didn’t even consider that my future as a busboy might be disappearing before my eyes. All I could think was this might be the last time I got to play the South Course.
I looked at my ball sitting in the middle of the fairway. “Tee it high and let it fly!” was all I said as I jumped in my cart and headed out to the ball. If this was my last time here I was going to enjoy it!
Nothing happened. My boss laughed about it. He said that guy was known as an ass and I should try to avoid him.
I hope he is still alive today. I know what to say. I’ll see him at the U.S. Senior Open and I’ll walk up to him.
Just as I get ready to speak he’ll hold up his hand to stop me and then he’ll gesture at his table and say, “BUSBOY! REMOVE THESE PLATES!”