Since launching No Place Like Home a couple of years ago, I’ve come across a lot of terms for older people: seniors, senior citizens, elders, older persons. “Seniors” and “senior citizens” are the most mainstream. They were also my go-to terms … until now.
I met two dear friends, Sandra and Joe, at the Goulet Golf Club when I joined in 1997, a short 19 years ago! We spent many hours together on and off the golf course. Sadly, Joe became ill and home-bound about three years ago. For the next two years, Sandra selflessly provided full-time care to Joe and welcomed me into their home on numerous occasions to share coffee, delightful treats, and spirited discussions about golf and current events. It was during this quality time together that Joe and I discovered a shared passion for books. We talked many times about great books we’d read and the wonderful authors we admired. We even swapped a couple of our favourite books.
After Joe’s passing last spring at the age of 86, Sandra was kind enough to gift me a few books from Joe’s collection, one of which is Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book … Lessons and Teachings from a Lifetime in Golf. About a third of the way into the book, while entrenched in learning a plethora of golf tips and tricks, I unexpectedly came across a chapter called “Seasoned Citizens,” a term Penick adopted to describe the older generation of golfers. In it, Penick delves into his theory that golfers can play the game to any age, even enjoy an advantage over younger players when it comes to the short game because of their years of experience and time to practice. Joe was a master on the putting green, which is where the strokes can so quickly add up. Even in his 70s and 80s, Joe often won our club night and tournament longest-putt competitions. (I guess Penick was on to something!)
“Seasoned” represents so many fantastic qualities … experienced, mature, flavourful, aged to perfection, even spicy in some cases. What a marvelous way to describe Joe, and what a refreshing and endearing way to refer to a demographic that we are all striving so hard to become one day. Joe was proud to be a senior, but I have a funny feeling he would have LOVED being called seasoned.
Thank you, Mr. Penick, for including this wonderful chapter in your book. And thank you, Sandra, for your thoughtfulness in sharing a little bit more of Joe with me. The book has a special place on my bookshelf and in my heart.