This will be in “Notes About Growing Up”. Have you ever gotten on golf karts, drank beer, and run amok in the dark?
Many teenagers get drunk and do stupid things, or die in car accidents. We did some stupid things too but we also did some relatively harmless things when smashed too. Like what Jeff? Like riding around the golf course at Lake Kiowa in a golf cart. Well, it was better than driving drunk and fast in our cars, right? That’s what we thought too.
My friend Mike Johnson lived out in the gated community oif Lake Kiowa east of Gainesville out in the eastern Cross Timbers. It had a lake and an eighteen-hole golf course. We were members through the bank and we actually thought about living out there but in the end didn’t. Donald Lynch’s family was also a member and like us lived in town. So we would drive out to Mike’s and could get into the gate unlike your average drunk or high non-member teen.
We would get to Mike’s house, usually when his folks were gone someplace – remember the beer – and load our small ice chests on the cart and pile on. One person would sit with Mike,in the front and the other would cling to the back. I preferred the back since I was higher up and it was more fun to hold on with one hand and a bottle of beer in the other.
We did this only in the dark to conceal our quaffing from the security guards who were not tolerant of young drunks speeding around the streets. We would leave Mike’s house and take a leisurely drive around the cart paths and across the fairways and usually stop on one green which was a little island in an arm of the lake connected to the land by two bridges, one on each side.
Once on the island we stopped the cart, drank beer, ate chips, cussed teachers, and “pissed in the grand style” when needed. What’s the grand style you ask? Simply put we walked to the middle of one of the bridges which was elevated above the surface of the lake and then increase the water level of the lake with our “recycled beer”. I do not know if the fish were harmed by this act but it became a ritual of sorts in our repeated drunken visits there.
After some time on the island and the bridge we would finish our tour, return to Mike’s, and depart back to Gainesville hoping our parents would already be in bed. No need to endure he Inquisition and needless questions, right? We did this frequently, even in the cold, the island and the bridge were part of our teenage world but one time the bridge almost became our doom.
One warm night we were on the bridge taking another long leak and we heard something loud. It was the sound of a car but no lights were seen. We stood there trying to see if was the feared security guards using a new and dastardly surprise tactic but all of a sudden in the dim light from the nearby houses and street lights came a wide Pontiac Grand Prix travelling at very high speed right towards the bridge. And come over the bridge it did. The bridge was barley wide enough for it but not wide enough for us and the car. We ran to the island side of the bridge and jumped off the end of the bridge into the grass a fleeting Moment before the car, probably driven by a drunken classmate, flashed by and did a doughnut around the green leaving some horrific tracks, and vanished across the other bridge and into the darkness again. We picked ourselves up, cussed the unknown vehicular assailant and had another beer. The incident with the Grand Prix was the only excitement like that we ever had driving around the course guzzling cold beers. An adrenaline storm in a sea of booze induced calm.
So if you live on a golf course like that go out there in the dark one night and see if some loud, crazy teenagers drive by on a cart swilling beer. But also listen in the distance for the sound of a growling car; you might need to jump aside with them when it flashes by your own island of calm in the sea of living. Life’s surprises are like that car on the bridge that night. Just when you think all is calm it’s not so calm.