A Very Happy Birthday

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January 20, 2009 is a day most of us will remember all our lives, thanks to Barack Obama's inauguration. We will certainly treasure that memory, but we also have a couple more wonderful reasons to remember the day. Gay begins the story: "I woke up around 4:30 a.m. on Inauguration Day, with my mind buzzing on a couple of exciting projects I'm working on. I was so busy thinking about them that I had temporarily forgotten it was not only Inauguration Day but also my birthday. When I walked into the kitchen, though, I saw the recipe book open to Pineapple Upside-Down Cake, my favorite birthday treat. Kathlyn had promised to make one for a small get-together we were having that evening. I turned on the television and watched some of the prep for the events of the day in Washington, then went back into my office to work on the projects.

Later, when Kathlyn got up, we watched the ceremonies together, with tears in our eyes and joy in our hearts. We noticed that we had a two-hour free zone in both our calendars, so after lunch we went over to the local golf course to play 9 holes. We play golf not so much as a sport but more as a meditation and a walk in nature, seldom keeping score or getting worked up if we hit a clunker. I've been playing golf on and off for ten years or so, while Katie is a relatively recent convert to its pleasures. The course was practically empty, even though it was a beautiful 80-degree day, and we were enjoying our stroll when magic suddenly happened on our fifth hole. We were hitting into the sun, so it was not possible to see exactly where our shots landed. I found my ball to the left of the green. I had narrowly escaped the sand trap but was 30 yards from the hole. But where was Katie's ball? It wasn't on the green, and we wandered around for a few minutes looking in sand traps, behind trees and such. It was a bright pink ball that's usually easy to spot. While she continued searching for her ball, I went over and hit my shot, which landed on the green and rolled to a stop about six feet from the hole. I went to pull the flag out so I could putt, and what should greet me in the cup but a PINK BALL! She had hit a hole-in-one! I let out a whoop and started jumping up and down. 'IT'S IN THE CUP!" I shouted. 'YOU GOT A HOLE-IN-ONE!'

Katie picks up the story: "Before my hole-in-one, I was walking along appreciating the joys of this precious moment. I had just witnessed history being made in Washington (and had the joy of seeing the person I'd voted for be sworn in, a pleasure I haven't enjoyed all too often in my life!) I was outdoors in January, walking along on a beautiful day with my husband whom I adore. And on his birthday, too! In this spirit, I lined up my ball and whacked it into the sun. When we couldn't find the ball I felt somewhat perplexed, because it felt like I had hit it in the right general direction. I was resigning myself to a lost ball when I heard Gay shouting and saw him dancing around the flag. I ran up to the hole, and sure enough, there was my pink ball, nestled in the bottom of the cup."

Gay resumes: "Most golfers go their entire lives without a hole-in-one. I know, because I'm one of them. In the spirit of absolute honesty, I must confess that I felt a wave of envy not long after celebrating Katie's hole-in-one. However, in honor of 29 years of a wonderful relationship, I'm determined someday to rise above this petty emotion. Until such time as I develop this level of emotional maturity, I would appreciate the universe sending me a sign that I'm on the right track. Like, maybe a hole-in-one."

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