On number four, a relatively short par three of one hundred and thirty seven yards from the white tees, Carl hit one of his famous "shank you very much" shots into a thicket of trees and thorn bushes right of the green. Carl is not one to just give a ball up for lost. He'll search valiantly for it, taking his five minutes, and maybe even then some more, searching for that ball like it's his firstborn son.
Billy said Carl waded into that thicket and thrashed around for several minutes, finally emerging torn, tattered, and bloodied, but no ball. His arms and legs were streaming with blood from the thorns, some of which inevitably ended up on those lovely white shorts. Carl is on blood thinners because of his recent heart attack, but that's another story.
Carl had hit his provisional ball onto the green about forty feet from the hole. He staggered up to it, took one look and drained it for a four. This was just another typical escape for Carl, and left Bill exasperated enough that he three putted from twenty feet for a tie.
But it didn't end there, Billy informed me. Suddenly, our bloodied-but-not-bowed hero realized he had lost his towel, the one he refuses to attach to his bag. Back into the thicket he went, emerging eventually still minus the towel, but also, as he discovered on the next hole, minus his sun glasses.
As they came down number six, Carl went back into the thicket to search unsuccessfully for the sunglasses. "I never found 'em, ". Carl reported to me today, sporting a new pair. I didn't bother asking him whether they were the pair that were missing an arm.
Carl is not only an inveterate grumbler, he is a first class klutz. We were laughing about it today. Billy said, "You should have seen him play hockey. He scored goals on his knees, lying on his back..."
Carl said, "You should have been ice fishing with me. Last time out, I had a big jug of Bloody Mary, and slipped on the ice and kicked the fricken thing down the hole. Then I caught about a seven pound pickerel. I got it right to the opening in the ice and it threw the hook. I was mad as hell and reached into the hole like this, threw up my arms and the damn fish came flying out over my head. It was crazy."
And as for those lovely white shorts? "Joan was mad as hell,". Carl said. "Blood all over 'em."