Monday, April 15, 2019

Three Beautiful Things 04/14/19: Historic Masters, Maggie's Day, Food for Debbie

1. Fitting right into the rhythm of how I live my days, because of the threat of serious afternoon storms, the people who run the Masters golf tournament started Sunday's competition early in the morning, with players playing in threesomes and half the field playing the second nine first and finishing on the first nine.

CBS's coverage began at 6 a.m. and I was up, cup of coffee in hand, ready from the get go to watch this final round, happy it was starting so early.

I didn't really care who won. I was glued to the Vizio for the fourth straight day because I love watching these players contend with the magnificent Augusta golf course, with its blooming azaleas and other spring blossoms, hills, sloping fairways, very tricky contoured putting surfaces, water hazards on the second nine, and its often unpredictable weather conditions, especially the wind.

Today's final round was spectacular, not only because of the thrilling golf played by competitors up and down the leader board, but because I love seeing highly dramatic, historic, transcendent moments transpire in sporting events.  Today that happened.

Tiger Woods is forty-three years old. Over the last several years, his body has gone on strike, revolted against the wear and tear Tiger put on it through his aggressive golf swing and his penchant for extreme physical workouts -- he often acted like he wanted to be a member of a special forces military unit like the Navy SEALS. He's been through four knee surgeries and four back surgeries.  There was a time about two years ago when it looked like he'd never play golf again.

Tiger Woods last won a major golf tournament in 2008; he last won the Masters in 2005.

On the second nine today, when four of his competitors struck balls into the water on the twelfth hole, Tiger Woods seized the moment, moved into a tie for the lead, and then surged ahead on the following holes. After a birdie on 16 and a par on 17, it looked like Tiger Woods would win this tournament if he could just bogey the 18th.

And he did.

The gallery's response was earth shaking as roars pulsed through the hills and vales of Augusta National.

At Bernhard Langer's urging, a handful of past Masters winners put on their green winner's jackets, left the locker room, and came out to the course to congratulate Tiger Woods (I've never seen this happen before), as did other guys who had just played in this tournament.

It was among the most jubilant scenes I've ever seen on or near the playing field of any sporting event.

I couldn't stop my tears. Over the years, I've admired Tiger Woods' prowess on the golf course. He's inspired my awe and I've enjoyed witnessing many of his accomplishments, but I never felt the emotional connection to him that I have to other great performers, whether athletes or actors.

But, the utter improbability of Tiger winning this Masters, knowing what he had overcome, and seeing his fellow players congratulate him and greet his mother and children got to me.

I love to watch tennis, golf, baseball, and basketball for the thrill of seeing climactic moments unfold. Not all of them are historic -- it might just be a game winning shot at the end of a Big East college basketball game between two middle of the pack teams or a final strikeout in a close game between two baseball teams in September who are not even in the pennant race any longer.

But sometimes these climactic moments are historic in their sport.

Tiger Woods' win today was historic. It was epic. It will be legendary.

To me, it was unimaginable. I didn't think I'd ever see Tiger Woods win another major golf tournament, let alone a Masters.

But, he did.

2. I texted Debbie this morning with my observations of Maggie. I told her that Maggie's attempts to eliminate waste had been either unsuccessful or very minimally successful. She was listless much of the morning, hardly moving for six hours while in the chair in the tv room.

She wouldn't eat food out of her bowl, but ate it out of my hand.

Debbie texted me late in the morning that she was flying into Spokane, renting a car, and would be in Kellogg around 7:30 or so.

And that's what happened.

Maggie was a little more active in the afternoon. She spent some time outside. She has always loved the back yard here. For about a half an hour today, she found a spot just off the deck and lay there, gazing out over the grass, looking to me like she was reminiscing, enjoying the memories of wandering around this yard, exploring, sniffing, galloping, and, always on alert, barking.

3. I thawed out a quart of turkey stock I made in November. I cooked up a chopped onion and some finely chopped garlic. I added the stock to it along with sliced mushrooms, halved baby carrots, chopped broccoli florets, and chopped cauliflower. I seasoned this soup with salt and pepper and, along with warmed up leftover chicken pieces and rice that I made yesterday, had food ready for Debbie to eat when she arrived early this evening.

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