Right now, it’s hot. Damn hot. But this ain’t the worst it’s ever been. No the summer of ’94 takes the cake.
That summer I was the head of the one-man weed eating department at Stoney Pointe Golf Course (now called the Links at Stoney Pointe) in Greenwood, South Carolina. Unfortunately, as head weed eater, you can’t dress to the weather. You have to dress to the job.
Dressing to the job means long pants, usually old jeans or Dickies, and long sleeves. Long pants and long sleeves aren’t conducive to summers in the South. But at the same time, money made as weed eater in long pants and long sleeves is better than no money at all.
“Everybody needs money. That’s why they call it money.”
Danny DeVito from Heist
One particular hot day I was weed eating a small ravine that separates the fairway from the green on Hole #2, a short Par 5. I survived the morning, but as the afternoon heat wore on, I started slowing down. Around mid-afternoon, I finally gave in.
I headed to the clubhouse to get an ice cold drink (they were free to staff). The first sweet tea went down quick and smooth. The second a tad slower, but much more enjoyable. The third – much slower as I savored the wet and cold.
Cooled off and re-hydrated, I headed back out to the course to finish my job. The first step outside was like a punch in the gut and left me short of breath. I had already forgotten how stinkin’ hot it was.
But I was 15 and invincible, so I pressed on. Found my spot on the fairway side of the ravine and recranked the weed eater.
At about the half hour mark into my weed eating activities, the sweet tea was no longer being sweet. It started to sour. And as it soured, so did I.
I fought the sweet tea and heat as long as I could. But eventually, they won. And by won, I mean they wanted out – and out they came.
I learned a valuable lesson that day. And nearly 20 years later I can say I’ve never chugged sweet tea or any similar drink on a day like today. And I can say the heat’s never won again.
P.S. – Hole #2 is special to me as it’s also the place where I took my last ever chaw.
Most courses have shortcuts to allow you to get around the course without riding the cart paths. In this case, getting to the green at hole #2 meant riding the main subdivision streets and cutting across an open field (read undeveloped lot). As I was crossing this field, I hit a major bump, which caused me to swallow everything in my mouth, including the pinch of Levi Garrett & juices.
Never again have I put smokeless tobacco in my mouth…