“Would you like to try a fried pickle?”
I replied, “If they were fried zucchini I would jump on it, but no.”
I was having lunch with my friend Amy of Ruston Logistics, It was a beautiful spring afternoon in Tacoma, I had just taken a nice walk around Wright Park and then dropped down a block to The Harmon Hub on Tacoma Avenue.
It was a warm day so we were in luck; their roll-up door was open. We chose to sit inside just off the deck but close enough to enjoy the air, look around the bar, and be far enough inside to keep the wind off us and talk in private.
Amy was gushing, which was a good thing to see. She’s been up and down lately, but today was different. “I really scored big time!” She was beaming. “It was just sitting there and waiting for me to find it.” Amy had discovered a super deal on a high quality putter at St Vinnies Thrift Store. “I grabbed it, and found a carpet they had for sale. I dropped my chrome ball on it and putted it into an old coffee cup. It was sooooo sweet. I bought the coffee cup, too.”
Amy and I are one-half of the Ruston Logistics Golf Team (and the company). We were meeting to discuss golf tournament strategy. As if strategy would lift us from the bottom of the field. Personally, I think it will take some heavy lifting.
Last year Amy’s grand idea was to sign up her boy friend who had time on his hands after dropping out of a professional golf school in Arizona. He was a nice guy and kind of fun to be around. He did have a long and straight drive, but it took a passel of Mulligans to get there. We had played in the Annual Soroptimist Golf Tournament last year in September at Oakbrook Golf Club and enjoyed ourselves immensely. It had been some time since the boy friend was mentioned. This year we were going big time. We would be playing in two tournaments. Our company had joined the Transportation Club of Tacoma and now we found ourselves rubbing shoulders with all kinds of transportation professionals.
Amy and I met while attending logistics classes at Tacoma Community College and Pacific Lutheran University. “I’m a little worried,” Amy confessed, “Washington National is a much harder course than Oakbrook.” I shrugged my shoulders. “Well, Jerry had some nice drives last year.” I was being kind. “We’re not together any more.” She looked a little sad. I had noticed a droop in her shoulders sometime ago as well as a missing gleam in her eye. But had caught a glimpse of a gleam returning a couple of weeks ago.
Our partners in the company were a little older than us and were steady middle of the road (and fairway) golfers. Amy and I were wild cards. Pretty good on some days . . . and sometimes not. “Did you hear that Jack can’t play in the TCT Spring Open?” Her head snapped up and fried calamari dropped from her fork. “What?” I could tell in that instant that perhaps our community fundraising golf tournaments were now possibly the only joy in her life outside of working with me and our partners.
I threw her a lifeline, “Vince just interviewed a new driver. He liked him and the guy plays regularly at American Lake.” “Any good?” she asked. I knew there were more questions behind her eyes. Vince and his wife own VETRANS a local trucking firm out of Edgewood. He likes to hire military veterans. Vince is “Semper Fi,” an ex-marine. “VETRANS already has a team, but this guy could be a driver on the road and on the links. He joined up early and did two tours. He has a commercial driver’s license. He took online courses his entire enlistment. “I think he could be the guy to take Jerry’s place . . . for this tournament.” I knew the next question and I knew she knew I was waiting for her to ask it. I just looked at her with one raised eyebrow. She waited a good ten seconds.
Narrowing her eyes a little bit, Amy nodded her head, “He might make a good partner . . . for the foursome. Do you think he’s available?”
I didn’t ask “for what.” I simply nodded my head toward the bar and the eager looking soldier there with the big smile on his face. “Let’s ask him. I understand he has a good sense of humor.”