Thursday, June 7, 2007

Miss Susie's Wild Ride

Let me explain the family relationship we have: my grandma, whose name was Mary, was the older sister of Lily and Susie's mother, whose name is Margaret and Carol's mother, whose name was Madeline. I know what you're thinking: All those names and I still had to convert to Catholicism. Although Carol's family is Catholic and we went to Mass together on Saturday evening, but just let me tell you - if you ever go to Mass with Carol and the priest asks if there are any visitors, don't expect her to raise her hand and say where she's from. Expect her to smirk wickedly as you raise your hand. I know she did that to pay me back for dunking one of her Barbie dolls in the toilet when I was four.

So anyway, we're cousins. On Saturday morning, we all met for breakfast and made ourselves look presentable and whiled away the morning until Susie took us to the club for lunch. The staff at the club was busy setting up for a wedding that was going to be taking place later in the afternoon and we all felt bad for the poor bride because here we've had no rain for weeks, and on the day of her wedding, the sky is scudding with grey clouds.

We had a very good lunch. Susie ordered a chicken sandwich; Carol and Lily ordered fried tilapia and I had prime rib on a roll. Carol, Lily and I were introduced to a purely Southern appetizer: deep-fried dill pickle spears. I know. It sounds awful, doesn't it? Southerners have the reputation for deep-frying everything, but let me tell you, deep-fried dill pickle spears are really, really tasty. So it's probably a good thing that I live in a place where dill pickle spears are served naked and shivering next to your turkey club sandwich.

After lunch, Susie took us on a tour of the golf course, which is just one of the things you do when you've got our blood coursing through your veins. It's like we're drawn there by some mysterious force. We got a big gasoline-powered golf cart from the pro shop and chugged off.

This golf course was unlike any other I've been on, mostly because the golf courses I am acquainted with are in Indiana, which is pretty flat compared to southern Kentucky. At one point on the front nine, Susie said, "Now, y'all just take a look at this!" and I did, because I was sitting in the front seat beside her, but there was nothing to look at. We were going over a blind hill, and when we got to the top, there was no comforting spread of neatly manicured grass stretching out before us. There was nothing but air, because we were going straight down.

Lily and Carol were spared the worst of it because they were looking at the backs of our heads, but I got the full view of an extremely twisty and narrow cart path, complete with at least three tight switchbacks. And let me add that Susie, who may or may not have been still feeling the effects of the previous night's margaritas, was not slowing the cart down one little bit.

We hurtled towards the first switchback, Susie cackling with laughter, me screaming for a priest and clutching my purse to my chest (it's one of those dumb kind that has no zipper or other closure that could have prevented me from littering the golf course with lipsticks, grocery receipts, loose change and the occasional tampon), and Carol and Lily carrying on on talking as if it were a normal occurrence in their lives to go around a hairpin turn on a golf course so fast that two of the cart's wheels were lifted off the ground.

By the time we got to the bottom, I thought I was going to need a defibrillator. Susie thought this was the funniest thing she'd ever heard and showed me a marked lack of sympathy that I felt was disrespectful of my position as the baby of the group.

[I can't be wrong in thinking that I'm the only person who's freaked out by riding in vehicles that are open to the outside, like golf carts and shuttle buses and UPS trucks, can I?]

Whatever goes down must go back up, so it wasn't long before the cart path started to climb. On one rather steep hill, our cart was laboring heavily, sounding less like The Little Engine That Could and more like The Little Engine That Was Prepared to Stall Out and Allow Its Passengers to Roll Straight Back Down a Hill Towards a Pond. Which is, of course, what it did.

This turn of events alerted even the stoic Lily and Carol, who expressed sounds of mild dismay while I shrieked, "Suuuuuuuuu-sieeeeeeeeeee! Let me out! I'll just walk up the hill!" Because I am not only the Baby Cousin, but also the Biggest Cousin. And I didn't want to have our untimely death from drowning, smashed into the silt at the bottom of a little water hazard by the weight of a golf cart, on my conscience. That's just the kind of person I am, always thinking more about others and less about how I might make a break for it and go back to the club house for a Jack & Coke.

"Oh, it'll be okay," said Susie airily and jammed her foot down on the accelerator. The golf cart grudgingly put-putted its way to the top of the hill with the four of us speaking soothingly and patting it on its fiberglass sides, the way one would talk to a nervous thoroughbred. A green lawn tractor carrying a couple of attractive college-age groundskeepers passed by, eyeing us curiously. That just made everything better.

[Continued from earlier...]

We went home after the golf course tour and had a grand time sitting around in the awesomely frigid air conditioning. Lily did quilt stitching for some place mats she and Carol and I were supposed to be making for Susie as a hostess gift, but Carol and I were lazy little buttheads and just sat there lounging on the comfy furniture instead of sewing, which caused Lily to gently take us to task. We guiltily murmured about our need to go to church, so Susie drove us to the nearest parish, leaving Doug and Lily at home to watch HGTV.

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