Last week, I said I would now and then dig up a few of my old columns about The Famous Company of Myrtle Beach Golfers and tell you about some of our adventures.
The first one I found appeared April 3, 1988. I was 40 years old at the time, and the other members of The Famous Company — most of whom are now dead — were younger than I am now.
I wrote: “Each year, eight of us go to South Carolina to play golf, drink and eat. I have to come back to work so I can rest up and get dried out.”
So did everyone else. We rode to Myrtle Beach in Mother Martin’s (Bob Martin Sr.) 30-foot-long motor home, which was a good thing. We could get up, move around, mix a drink, take a nap, go to the toilet (and do so sitting down because it can be hard to hit a moving target at any age) and just relax during an 11-hour ride.
I explained in this 1988 column that Mother Martin got his name because he would call at all hours and, without identifying himself, ask “What’re ya doin?” I always recognized his voice and told him I had to get up to answer the phone. That’s what I was doing. Then he’d tell me to be at the golf course in an hour.
My job was to make the Bloody Marys, and they were very good. Nowadays, you can get a mix that’s excellent, but I enjoyed doing it and it made me feel useful.
I filled eight half-gallon plastic vodka jugs, which would last us the entire time we were away. We began tapping into them as soon as we hit the road.
The only time I ever played poker was with The Famous Company.
Pauline (Paul Barnett) is responsible for Goldy’s Rule 52: Playing the stock market is like playing poker: Never sit down at the table with more than you can stand to lose.
He was very good at both and preferred straight poker, calling it each time he dealt — one card down (a hole card) and four up or two down and five up, playing the best five cards.
Everyone else called different games, the strangest being one in which you were dealt two cards down and five up, with deuces, treys and one-eyed Jacks being wild cards, and a pair of natural (no wild cards) Sevens taking the pot.
I had a royal flush (10 through the Ace in one suit) in my hand, and I also had one of the Sevens. The other three Sevens were showing on the board, so I figured I had that hand won or at least tied.
Digger (Dale Merritt) and I kept raising and back-raising each other, and finally I showed my royal. When he laid down his hand I leaned across the table and yelled “Five (bleep) Queens?” He had three Queens and two wild cards, so he took the pot. Five of a kind beats everything else.
After that, when one of us wanted to play that particular game, he would call “Five (bleep) Queens.”
We left on Friday mornings and didn’t come home until Sunday of the following week, and that led to an interesting development.
Long about Thursday or so, some of these guys — the married ones — began to talk about how they needed to start watching their language because they didn’t want to go home to their wives talking the way they were.
This always amused me because I worked in a newsroom where there were only three women, and they had skins that were as thick as tank armor. My vocabulary actually had improved.
One of the Members called home to talk to his wife, who told him about something disagreeable that other people had done in his absence.
“Well, (bleepbleep)” he bellowed without thinking, then got a look on his face like that of a little kid who did something he shouldn’t have, then found out that his mother was watching.
After he hung up, he told me “She doesn’t like that word. I’m going to hear about this when I get home.” And he did.
Sweetie (Russell Craig), who was from Richmond, accused me of having a Southern accent, even though I lived in Maryland.
I told him I was rehearsing for when I went home. It was my practice to speak with an exaggerated Southern drawl in broken hillbilly dialect for a few days around my co-workers, because it irritated them.
Invariably, our social editor would get fed up with it and snort “(Bleep) it, Goldy, you know how to speak English. It’s time for you to start doing so again!” Having proved my point, I would comply.
We went to a different restaurant every night, and I remarked in that 1988 column that I’d like to live all the time the way I did when we went to Myrtle Beach, but probably wouldn’t live too long. Going broke was the only thing that would save me.
One night our travels took us to a German restaurant because someone at the golf course gave Pauline eight free beer tickets for the place. The beers were all of seven ounces each.
Each of us ordered something different, but what everyone got was a deep dish that contained two big sausages resting on a bed of sauerkraut in about half an inch of sauerkraut juice.
Digger put his hands to his face and said, “Well, if this doesn’t make us belch and f**t, nothing will!” (As I explained last week, one of my late friend’s Dale-isms was to ask “Get any on you?” any time someone belched or f**ted.)
Understand that at this point in the evening, we were all in varying degrees of not being burdened with inhibitions.
I considered the inevitable gastrointestinal consequences of such a meal and suggested that each of us put in a dollar.
The first one who had to suddenly stop what he was doing and make a run for the bathroom (I didn’t word it quite that way, you understand) would win the pot.
A woman at a nearby table who had laughed loudly at Digger’s comment grinned at me and asked, “Can I get in your pool? I have a head start on you!”