Friday, January 18, 2013

Haunting the Eighteenth Hole

Col J.W. Mills - Taken the day he became an Ace at Guadalcanal 1942

Col. J. W. Mills 1981 - 2001
A story for my friend Mike Mills about his father a golfer whose children grew up as golf lovers. Like their father, they absolutely loved to play Pebble Beach.  Col Mills was a Marine Ace pilot at Guadalcanal. He retired to be a Mathematics teacher and golf coach for San Francisco State.

Colonel Mills was an ornery fellow
He rose through the ranks in the Corps,
A Marine of note and distinction
Whose passion in life was a ball.
He joined the Marines on an option
It was five years in clink or enlist,
He had stone-brained a street gang opponent,
He was savage, well! you get the gist.

When you join Semper Fi as a private
It’s not without lots of hard work
That you rise through the ranks to be Full Bird
And take playing golf as a perk.
He just loved the big open spaces
Like runways, groomed greens and the sky
And he wasn’t above getting liberally oiled
At the end of the day to get high.

He retired to a home with a fairway,
A driving range was his back yard,
He could simply turn out in the morning
And wack a few balls really hard.
Then sure that his form was still winning
He’d sally forth in his sleek Cadillac
To meet with his cronies and play a round,
And “hoist a few” on the way back.

But one day he missed his appointment
His pals on the links heard the gong,
They knew with the colonel not showing
That something was terribly wrong.
He’d played his life hard with a vengeance
But cancer had riddled his form
And it wasn’t long before family and friends
Would be laying him under the lawn.

But he wanted no plot for a internment
He’d rather it brief and serene
He asked that whatever they got in the pot
Was scattered around on a green.
Not just any green took his fancy
For hallowed ground he made his reach,
He asked that his sons take his ashes
And scatter them at Pebble Beach.

So his lads took a drive down to Carmel,
They booked for a round on the course
They made little mounds at the eighteen hole
And swung at the ashes full force.
Then satisfied with all their labor
They sauntered away full of mirth
Making a line for the club house
And a night of it with “Surf and Turf”.

Those boys knew his spirit would linger
Haunting where he loved to play,
Together they’d pulled off a fast one,
And no one could take that away.
Now they watch for the match shots together
With successive angles they each
Search for the face of their Pa in the crowd
By the eighteen hole at Pebble Beach.
F4F Wildcat Gaudalcanal 1942


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