I’m not particulary fond of very long headlines. That’s why I in this post I placed only parts of the heading in the header field. So, here’s the headline in full (16 words! How is that for a heading?):
The Old Man and The Sea of Love That He Found in His 2nd Wife’s Daughter
Let’s call him Ralph. He used to play golf with his wife at the same club as I did with my wife. Ralph and his wife were slightly older than us. But played just as badly as we did. So the four of us joined forces in a four-ball from time to time.
Ralph and his wife were nice people. And, as this story will tell you, Ralph tuned out to be the living truth that the saying «Old Golfers Never Die, they Just Loose their Balls» is not entirely true. Because, as it turned out, Ralph didn’t loose his balls.
My wife and I didn’t play with Ralph and his wife every Sunday. In fact, our games together became more rare as the other couple’s daughter became a keen golfer. So the three of them would play.
It was my wife that first noticed. You know, wives are good at that: «I think Ralph is dying his hair … he must be», «Ralph’s really changing his style … that’s a Versace shirt», «those Ray Bans are the new model, just out».
As spring turned into summer into fall, things at the golf club was changing again. My wife and I got to play more with Ralph again. Accompanied most times by his stepdaughter, a lovely woman in her late 20s. Maybe early 30s … things like that are hard to tell.
Ralph kept his newfound style. And even improved on it. The old Sun Mountain golf bag was no longer good enough. It was replaced by a hand made English leather bag. Ralph’s shirts became more and more bright in colors. In more and more slim fit style
It also became obvious that there was more between him and the stepdaughter than the golf. I mean, it didn’t take my wife to figure that out. Even I could see that.
So, what do you do? That’s the tough one. Some topics are obvious when it comes to leaving things out of the conversation. Like when Ralph apologizes for his wife (once again) not joining him on this Sunday’s game. And his remarks that he is lucky to have his (step)daughter step (ha-ha) in. One is very careful with the follow up questions then. At least we were.
Also, some topics (and not only some of my drives) are out of bounds. Like when I made a casual remark that there is no other game that bond people like golf. As in «you get to know a person far better after four hours of golf than after four hours at a business meeting». To me, that was only the summing up of a story about how the company I worked for had acquired a new client. But I doubt, by the look in his eyes, that Ralph understood it that way.
When fall turned into winter into spring, word got out at the golf club that Ralph’s wife had moved out. And his stepdaughter moved in. My wife and I did play a couple of rounds with them. Ralph looked extremely fit. And had a lovely tan. His, by now, common law wife, was gorgeous.
Still, it’s a kind of tricky situation. We are all grown ups trying to behave like grown ups. But no matter how hard you try, you feel a kind of oddness about the situation. It’s sad. Because the couple was so clearly deeply in love. And figuring out what it must cost the main characters to live their love, it was obvious we’re talking true love here. But knowing, and being somewhat close, to all three, it is still a situation that is difficult to cope with as a bystander.
When we were told that Ralph had left the club, we were relieved to learn that it was because he had retired and the couple had decided to move to a warmer, sunnier country. He hadn’t left, he had migrated.
Ralph, if you read this: Know that we tried to behave. I also hope we managed. And I hope that the two of you always felt welcome. Please get in touch.
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