Friday, January 27, 2012

The Nine Minute Winter, Golf and Kids.

For those of us able to remember 1979, if only because age-wise we’re  in that sweet spot somewhere between untenable youth and impending infirmity, the year was  sort of a mixed bag. There were a few bummers: the Three Mile Island nuclear reactor threatened to melt down, about a dozen fans were trampled to death at a Who show in Cincinnati, and perhaps the most shocking of all, Britain’s first nude beach was established in Brighton. On the up-side though, Three Mile Island’s coincidental timing guaranteed boffo box office for Michael Douglas in The China Syndrome and the Who disaster guaranteed boffo ratings for a subsequent “very special” episode of WKRP in Cincinnati.

I can’t imagine, however, any up-side to a nude beach populated by a cluster of pasty, doughy Britons shivering on a rocky, overcast shoreline. Yeah, I know.

Anyway, 1979 was also the year that Steve Martin published Cruel Shoes, a collection of whimsy which included a shockingly prescient piece called The Year Winter Lasted Nine Minutes.  Which sounds rather a lot like this very year, I’d say. As a kid that story struck me as worst case scenario, but as an ostensibly grownup dad, the notion of a winter-that-never-was sure is appealing. And now with the roughly nine minute snowfall of last week well behind us, it continues to be a season with plenty of opportunity to get out with the kids and pretend it’s spring.

If, for instance, you’ve never gotten around to teaching the kids how to hit anything longer than a nine iron, now’s the perfect time. There are ranges still open and waiting, some of which even have heated stalls. Moreover, it’s a big bonus that there’s never a wait for a bucket this time of year. (Presumably  most of the old retired guys are busy dodging gators in Florida.)

And even better, some ranges have mini golf on site in case you have little ones to amuse while the older siblings are busy shanking the afternoon away. And if the kids don’t hit balls yet, now’s the time to get a lesson, because there are plenty of pros sitting around busy hoping they won’t have to spend the winter running from gators. Do it.

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