A Page from Mike Strantz's Diary in Heaven
June 11, 2005
The greatest thing about Heaven is savoring the presence of the Almighty. The undending waves of peace and joy and love for all our siblings transcends any words I could write. It's more wonderful than anything we could imagine - and it's eternal!
The second greatest thing about Heaven is that even though we don't walk the Earth, we all stop in all the time, you just don't see us, even though we see you all just fine. That's nice because even though we can be with our family and friends, we can still be with our family and friends.
The third greatest thing is that we get to play 72 holes a day...more if we can stand it. Alistair and Old Tom, who have who have Heaven down to a science by now, figure that since we all play in foursomes, we ALL get to pick a course for us to play each day. Today, for example, I'm taking us to Tobacco Road, Alistair is taking us to Crystal Downs, Old Tom picked Merion and by a strange coincidence, Alistair and I are playing our fourth round at Pasatiempo with a friend of Jay Flemma's.
Yesterday when I got up here and settled in - how cool is this, St. Peter sent me over to St. George to pick up my golf clubs - Alistair and I ran into a big Texan named Mike Reed (he calls himself Bunker Mulligan). Bunker got up here only a week ago and was waiting for me and said what a big fan he was and asked me to join he and a friend at Pasa today since - by another remarkable coincidence - he had talked Jay Flemma into playing there today before he got the call to play up here.
I asked if I could bring a friend and when I introduced him to Alistair, I thought he was going to kiss me. Here he goes inviting me to play and the next thing he knows, he's playing Pasa with Mackenzie. I guess I felt the same way when I first got up here. I live in the same hall as Sir Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein and Jon Entwhistle. Newton has these three apples all revolving around him where ever he goes, it's mildly surprising.
Oh, thats another thing about Heaven. Since we're happy all the time, we can never be "saddened" or "disappointed" about anything, we're just "mildly surprised" as in "I was mildly surprised that (insert name of person) didn't make it in here yet."
Here's an example, yesterday when we were playing Cypress a group of guys who fought in the Revolutionary War were in front of us. One of them - a big General who fought at Ticonderoga or saratoga, I forget which - was a stick, but the other three weren't. Add to that, they were playing the back tees and it looked to be a long day when St. Copius (he's the ranger) drives up and tells them how mildly surprised he was that they weren't faster and they picked it up after that.
Anyway poor jay had to deal with the same thing at Pasa. He played with three really nice Hispanic Los Angelinos out celebrating one son's graduation from Stanford, but they were 25 handicaps playing the tips. When Jay asked them why they didn't move up a set, they said "we feel we'd be cheated and not see the whole golf course." Jay just shrugged and smiled and laughed, so we parted the clouds for him on the fifth green to they'd have a nice day the rest of the way at least - even though it was five and a half hours. At Pasa...I thought poor Alistair was going to be frustrated, but he was just mildly surprised.
Now here's the kicker. Right as we parted the clouds, Jay looked up right at us (RIGHT AT US!) and said. "Hey! Mike and Mike! I know your up there. I know you can see me and I can see you too in my heart." Well we all smiled and as Jay bent over his putt (a ten footer), Bunker smiles mischievously and says "Watch this" and as Jay putted, he shove the shaft so hard Jay ball sped past the hole, took the slope, turned right and raced 50 feet down the hill, off the green and five yards back down the fairway. We exploded with laughter.
Jay looks up right at us again and says "Are you guys screwing with me? Well that did it. Now we were all laughing like hyenas. Jay tromps down to his ballgives it a quick look, lines up and takes a whack. I said "watch this" and turned his putter head so it was actually on line and gave the ball a gentle push.
It raced into the cup. Jay look back at us and says "Now I KNOW you guys are screwing with me.
We all laughed again.
The rest of the round was just as much fun. Alistair arched a couple of the Los Angelinos balls into the ravine on ten. Jay spent the back nine with that wide eyed look of wonder he gets. And 16 answered alot of questions I had been pondering.
I had been meaning to ask Alistair how he made that green just shed golf balls and completely befuddle even Tiger Woods, but nothing prepared me for the sight when I got there.
There in the middle of the green was an old 19th century prospector laying out in a lawn chair sipping a tall glass of iced ambrosia. Apparently he used to live on the land where 16 was built and likes spending his days on "his lawn." As the player neared the green, he'd get up and crouch on a "ready position" kind of like Derek Jeter getting ready to field a ground ball. I watched Jay hit - a perfect 8-iron - right on target - one bounce and on and it would roll right near the cup when the old prospector wound up his leg and soccer kicked jay's ball to the furthest corner of the green 60 feet away. He did this with every single player and as they would leave the green he would yell "and stay off my lawn!"
I turned to Alistair and asked "You built this place. Can't you do something about this?" he looked at me almost scandalized and replied "My dear fellow! Why in Heaven would I want to do anything about it. They should have one like him at every golf course. A prophet he is! A Godsend I say! Never in my lives have I seen the like!"
Anyway the rest of the day was great too. I checked in several times on the family of course and then Entwhistle invited me to the coolest little get together. It seems once a month he goes over to Jerry Garcia's for what they call the "Bluegrass Salon." Basically its the greatest musicians getting together for a big Bluegrass Jam and chilling out, drinking ambrosia and catching up. Entwhistle plays a big stand up bass, Garcia was playing banjo, Django reinhardt was on guitar and Jimi Hendrix was on Mandolin. Some guy played piano for a awhile too, he had the most unfortunate name of "Pigpen" but nobody called him anything else and he answered to that so whatever... but Jerry's rule is everyone has to play at least one instrument on one song...everybody. Well there's instruments everywhere so I was standing next to a conga in the circle - Janis Joplin and Ella Fitzgerald were scatting to my left and drummed on it while they played "Brown Eyed Women."
Anyway, I have to wrap this up. Big day tomorrow.
Shinnecock, Ballybunion, Royal Melbourne and Sawgrass.