Cumberland Times-News

Columns

March 2, 2013

Some friendships are never put on hold

Now and then, someone asks if The Famous Company of Myrtle Beach Golfers still makes its annual trek to The Promised Land of Golf.

Sadly, we don’t. Our last trip was in Y2K.

I was the youngest by at least 10 years — in some cases, it was 20 and 30 — and only Charley Horse and I still live here. The others have passed on or moved away.

Digger has relocated to North Carolina, and once over the phone he told me he had noticed that all of the statues honoring Civil War heroes were facing north.

He said he asked some of the locals why this was so, and they just chuckled and said nothing, as if they knew something he didn’t — which is understandable; he is, after all, an expatriate Marylander and therefore a Yankee.

“They’re facing north,” I explained, “because that’s where the enemy came from.”

The men of The Famous Company were what you’d call professional types — lawyers, businessmen, a banker, a funeral director and so on — who were married to very nice ladies.

We left town on Friday morning and came home on Saturday of the following week, which gave us all of Sunday to recuperate.

Long about Thursday, I usually noticed that my comrades’ conversations included an awareness that they would have to start cleaning up their language before being reunited with their wives.

This was amusing to me, because I was an old-fashioned newspaperman who worked in an old-fashioned newsroom, and the nature of my language actually had improved.

Here are two examples of what I’m talking about:

One night, all eight of us ordered steaks, which were served on metal plates that — for what should have been obvious reasons — sat atop wooden trays.

“Be careful,” the waitress admonished each one as she brought our vittles. “These plates are hot.”

Before she even finished laying down the steaks, Pauline cut loose with a loud and colorful expression that you’d expect to be associated with a sudden and severe pain event, and he began to vigorously wave one hand.

Mother was sitting directly across from him, and he got up to lean as far over the table as he could in order to get in Pauline’s face.

“You dumb (word I have heard him use in front of his wife, although not often)!” he hollered. “Didn’t you just hear her say that plate was hot?”

That done, Mother sat back down to dismantle his own steak. Almost immediately, he let out a warhoop that echoed word-for-word what Pauline said — only it may have been louder — and began waving his hand.

This was the cue for the rest of us to chorus, as if we had rehearsed it, “You dumb ****! Didn’t you just hear her say that plate was hot?”

This generated considerable amusement among the neighboring diners and our waitress.

Truth is, we probably provided free entertainment for a lot of folks.

After the waitress brought us our food in a German restaurant, Digger took one look at the bounty of sausages and sauerkraut on our plates and suggested that each of us put $5 in a pot, with the money going to the first one who experienced what seemed to him the inevitable gastrointestinal consequences of eating such food.

A woman at a nearby table asked him, “Can I get in on that?”

Although the makeup of The Famous Company changed occasionally, there always were eight ... until the final year, when there were only four. When you do something for more than a quarter of a century, time has a way of catching up with you.

We also had an honorary member: George Lovenstein, a mutual friend from Cumberland who moved to Myrtle Beach in 1982. He would fill in if somebody wanted to take a day off from golf, or just hung out with us at other times.

George was better known to us and his other friends (who were like Abraham’s heirs, in that they surely were as numerous as the stars in the sky) as “Lovey.”

When the PGA began holding a senior tour golf tournament in Myrtle Beach, The Famous Company saw it as good reason for a road trip and included it in our calendar.

Lovey was a volunteer worker, and we always met up with him on the course. He occasionally snuck us into places where we probably shouldn’t have gone, but nobody seemed to mind because we were with Lovey.

He always was as glad to see us as we were to see him, and even though months may have passed, he made us feel like our friendships had never been put on hold.

Lovey was the happy, jovial type you immediately wanted to adopt as a friend, and that’s what he and I became years ago when the Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament was held in the Allegany High gym.

It was three days and nights of hard work, great fun, high school basketball at its finest (we saw future college and NBA stars) and a chance to make new friends for everyone who was involved in any way.

Lovey was the official scorekeeper and sat at the same courtside table with our sportswriters — Suter Kegg, Jimmy Day, Gene “Goody” Goodrich, Mike Harvey and me.

We covered each night’s games in shifts, shared hilarious stories and stuffed ourselves with jelly beans (Day preferred licorice-flavored, which nobody else liked, so we gave ours to him) and freshly made soft pretzels, washed down with hot chocolate.

Except for those occasions in Myrtle Beach, I ran into Lovey only once after he moved away, and that was by chance a few years ago on the street near the newspaper.

Most folks think time travels only in one way — forward — but that’s not true. For far too brief a period in what then was the present, Lovey and I went back to revisit events that created and reinforced our friendship.

After reading one of my recent columns, his daughter told me that Lovey and I shared a birthday: January 20.

She said he and her mom were living nearby, and I promised to go there and visit him sometime.

Unfortunately, I won’t have that chance. All I can do now is offer my condolences to his family and tell them what an absolutely terrific guy he was. I expect they will hear the same from a lot of other folks.

Pauline, Digger, Whizzer, Mother, Sweetie, Jeemy, Marshmiller, Charley Horse, The Monsignor, Gramps, Kenny, Frankie, Goldy and, especially, Lovey:

Then, now and forever inseparable, our own small band of brothers ... The Famous Company of Myrtle Beach Golfers.

1
Text Only
Columns
  • We concur We concur

    We’re certain that Donald Rumsfeld, who served as Secretary of Defense under Presidents Gerald Ford and George W. Bush, echoes what many Americans feel about the complexity of filing income tax returns.
    When he filed his return, Rumsfeld sent the following letter to the Internal Revenue Service:

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Library week

    Public libraries remain one of the best uses of taxpayer dollars. They are open to all. Young or old, poor or wealthy, residents can use computers and read current magazines and newspapers. Compact discs featuring a wide variety of music and
    movies on DVD may be checked out in addition to novels and other books.

    April 13, 2014

  • Terps need to move and move quickly

    The good news is Maryland will never have to play another basketball game in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Goodbye, good riddance, sayonara, smell ya, no more of you, stay classy, we won’t let the door hit us on the way out.
    Until we see you in court.

    April 13, 2014

  • Sunday hunting Sunday hunting

    Legislation that increases hunting oppportunities on Sundays in Garrett, Allegany and Washington counties has passed the Maryland General Assembly and reached the governor’s desk.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • You’ll never guess who the real hero was (He was six feet tall and bulletproof)

    Most folks know about the 20th Maine’s bayonet charge that repulsed the Rebels at Little Round Top because they watched the movie, “Gettysburg.”
    Capt. Gary and First Sgt. Goldy post ourselves a hundred yards or so away from where it happened in real life. Tourists frequently ask us how to find it.

    April 13, 2014

  • Early morning lunar eclipse this Tuesday

    For the first time since 2011, our area may see a total lunar eclipse as the moon will pass through the Earth’s deep shadow.

    April 13, 2014

  • Big bucks How many deer on Green Ridge?

    A study completed in 2013 by a master’s degree candidate at the University of Delaware showed that there are 20 to 30 deer per square mile on the Green Ridge State Forest, including some pretty darn nice bucks.

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Then again, he’s manager of the Yankees, and I’m not

    I went to bed confused Wednesday night, which in itself is nothing new. But having
    watched most of the Orioles-Yankees game, including the final three innings, earlier
    in the evening, then watching the late Baseball Tonight before I turned in, I was under the impression that the Yankees had won the game when I was pretty sure before watching the show that the Orioles had won.

    April 11, 2014

  • Who knows how many times she poisoned him?

    My dad used to say that if tobacco and coffee tasted as good as they smelled, the world would be a better place.

    April 5, 2014

  • Rusty writes about the nature of doghood

    I am a dog.
    Therefore I bark.
    I don’t understand why it is so hard for humans to understand this.
    I mean, there are certain things that come with the territory, right?

    April 5, 2014