As Christmas quickly approaches, Thanksgiving get’s the short end of the stick. A mere blip on the radar screen as retailers transition from Halloween to Christmas overnight, often bypassing Thanksgiving completely. If you don’t believe me, malls, outlets and retail shops are now open Thanksgiving night to start Black Friday shopping early. To avoid complaining anymore on this day of thanks, I want to share about 3 special days in paradise.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change, James 1:17.
Since my mind tends to wonder, I write down everything I learn from reading the Bible, recording these thoughts in a journal. At the beginning of October, the journal that was suppose to last for the year was completely full. Without any cash on hand, I sorted through some old journals to see if there was any room to record a few days or weeks. This search led me to stumble upon an old day timer from 2001. This book recorded a brief history of my days as a staff writer for Travel Golf Media. The 3 days that stick out are March 12-14th.
Unfortunately, the same day I uncovered this day timer, my wife informed me that her father had passed away from complications of a car accident a week earlier. As I celebrate Thanksgiving this year, I believe God wanted me to remember these 3 days. Prior to my kids Spring Break, I spent several hours contacting golf courses in Florida ahead of this family vacation. Leanne’s parents Jim and Barb flew down while my family drove down the 12 plus hour drive to Tampa. While I didn’t have enough time to play golf every day, I was able to schedule 72 holes in 3 days.
My wife and I were initially suppose to play day one, 36 holes at Saddlebrook Resort and Spa, an hour north of Tampa Bay. Since Leanne was sick, her father Jim stepped in as my photographer for the day. We teed off at 8:07 on the Champonship Saddlebrook course, had lunch with the Director of Golf on the cabana and went off at 1:30 in the afternoon on the Palmer Course. Since this resort is the world headquarters for the Arnold Palmer School of Golf, the pro paired us with a father and son who attended this week long golf clinic. This is probably the only day I made my father in law feel like a king.
On Tuesday, Leanne, Jim and I played Biltmore Golf Course, south of Clearwater, about a mile from the Gulf of Mexico. This Donald Ross original is a classic tree lined course with plenty of character. The final round was in Lutz, Florida at the TPC of Tampa Bay, teeing off at 11:14. Host of one of the Senior PGA tours most popular stops, this course is challenging but fair if you hit it straight, not one of my strong points. While I only had one good round out of four, the weather was beautiful and the company great. As I celebrate Thanksgiving 2017, I will always remember my 3 days in paradise playing golf.
by Jay Mankus