His name was Daniel, the caddy master at Orangeburg Country Club. The title puzzled me as Orangeburg did not have caddies. But then, golf claims its traditions.
Daniel could not read or write, but man, he could hit a golf ball. I was a little bird under his wing and in that comfort and love, he taught me about golf and life. I saw him sign his name once. It was an “X.” A first in my life, this moment stopped me and discerning our divide, it remains sad.
If God is anything (I know He is all things good), He is a storyteller. Escaping explanation is why we retain some stories and why others are lost. Theories exist about how emotions attached to memories make them stick. It may well be the means by which God weaves His tale through history, through time, and through us.
When I was wandering through my story, I ran across Peter McWilliams’ book, “You Can’t Afford the Luxury of a Negative Thought.” Some 530 pages long, I can boil it down to one sentence – You cannot (must not) worship the god of someone else’s opinion, the god symptomizing my “Charlie Brown” life. God tried telling me.
Mankind's story is one seeking love and we’re adept at looking in all the wrong places (my apologies to Johnny Lee). Sin peeks through the keyhole of those places. Searching, we accommodate much in rendering unto Caesar, rendering unto anything and everything really, and are stubborn in our reluctance to render unto God. It’s a twice-told-tale told many times over, thus, our familiarity with it.
One might think God would tire repeating this narrative. His patience reveals his love. As with all stories, the telling is in the re-telling, each time revealing a little more truth, more details, and more nuanced wisdom satiating our thirst.
Daniel was a gentle giant, always good-natured and joking until that one day. On this day, Daniel exploded. An angry, pestering brat named Bobby Sears taunted Daniel because he did not like Daniel’s skin color. I don’t remember all the words used, but n------ and stupid (stupid n------) got repeated.
In an instant, less than a syllable, restraint left Daniel. He picked Bobby up by the neck, lifted him to shoulder height, and began choking him. I froze. It occurred to me Daniel was about to kill Bobby and I’m not sure what stopped him. As quickly as his vein-popping anger appeared, it faded, passed through emotion and into memory. Life went on.
Until today, I’ve never told this story to anyone, family or friends. It remained between those present and God.
The human story continues, too. Mankind's will has an inveterate inertia spiraling to a transitory end. God, in his love, intervenes in our oft told tale introducing hope eternal.
I would like to tell my friend, Daniel, I began my career as a caddy master.
“Those who have ears to hear, let them hear” (Matthew 11:15).