Eclectic Ensemble: Garp and the Golfing Gladiators, October 10-14, 2007 {Revised}

Class sign, Clock tower, Port St. Lucie Club, and Hank's house [Click on pics to see more clearly]

Bake, Garp, Hank, Hogie; Dog, Dunes, Mick, Fred; Butch, Tom, Manuco, Tony; Jim, Gene, Sam, Trent

Group with Class Son Jim; Quartet; Trio; Two herons; and One Krusty KB Kurmudgeon

Although definitely NOT a golfer, Garp was invited to this soiree to bring some "order and decorum to what might otherwise have become a vulgar brawl." [One Mea Culpa for plagerizing the Redleg motto and another to any offended by choice of words] Garp's major contribution was a few brief moments of nostalgic notions executed on one of his prized keyboards (now available at discount warehouses for a mere $ 139 and dragged through two airports/airplanes) that was received with a mixture of noisy unrest and blatant snoring!
The group included: Charlie Baker (17), Tony Blackstone (21), Gene Brisach (27), Tom Caraballo (18), Trent Crosby (15), John Fyfe (30), Fred Hall (13), Manuco Hidalgo (28), Dave Hogarth (15), Sam Kouns (18), Hank Maloney (10), Mike McManus (18), Butch Nobles (19), Sam Powers (13), and Ernie Remus (13). [Numbers are handicaps]
Oh yes, Hank's son Jim joined to show up the oldsters [And what a fine lad he is!!] Garp managed to get his own golf car (they are not carts here), causing no end of misery for the course attendants, other nearby foursomes, and Hank the host!!
It was instantly apparent that this was a genuinely 'eclectic' collection of old, dear friends. [Recall that 'eclectic' means stuff that doesn't really belong together, but somehow (maybe just magically) does!!] Garp knew them all but not through the silly English game of grief and grime! [Apologies to the really ardent duffers!]
Moreover, who knew how they knew each other; i.e., various and seemingly obscure reasons, some still unbeknownst to Garp (although he learned or relearned many items of ancient history, some long ago forgotten). [It will take a massive dose of truth serum to pry some of them out!]
Another quick observation is that the competitiveness has not been lost, at least not on this band of brothers. Fifty years ago we battled for bunks, bread, beans, beer, and babes, elbowing our way into the memories of classmates, friends, and enemies plus just about anybody else who happened to cross our paths.
The first days' round was played on Sam's course (Grand Harbour) ending with a welcomed, catered dinner coordinated by Linda at their spacious, 9th-hole home. The following three days were played at Hanks' set of PGA courses (Ryder, Wanamaker, and Dye) at Port St. Lucie with each evening a blend of palaver, poker, pool, and pastries at Hank and Carole's similarly lovely (Ryder 2nd-hole) abode.
Drinks and meals the latter three evenings were at three different local pubs! The stories ranged from (some rehashed and embellished) Manlius, prep school, cadet days, grad school, Army, Viet Nam, and retired life, but little talk of 'chicks.' Overheard one morning at breakfast was that the only chicks we could muster had to be in assisted living! [Wipe that smirk off, Mister!] BTW, Bake gave an excellent, factual, and revealing talk on the conflict in Iraq. Well done, Charlie!
One of the most important reasons for such gatherings is that our ranks are now thinning with increasing frequency. Two beloved brethren who attended earlier affairs recently 'shuffled off this mortal coil' - Kenny King and Jack Keane. Mike described his last visit with Ken, and several others expressed similar tearful condolences.
Now for some statistical analysis of this very august body. Garp's handy-dandy spreadsheet (which he never leaves home without) yielded that the eldest of this bunch was Hogie (who looks fabulous and played well after some life-threatening medical moments a couple of years ago) and the baby of the bunch was the Berserk-man hisself!! Speaking of which, Gene and Trent have been nominated for Commendation Medals for playing with quite debilitating orthopedic problems, and Manuco a Purple Heart for unstoppable bleeding from an encounter with the thorny concealment (precious little cover out there) while himself loaded with analgesic (aspirin, for the guys in the last section).
The Dunes traveled the farthest to attend, and, obviously, Sam and Hank were on their own home turf. About one half live in-state (FL, that is). BTW, Fyfe loves Starbucks ice cream; so buy stock in that US coffee house before it makes plans to expand in the UK!
Also teased out of the data was the fact that two of guys are called "Sam' but not named as such; and two are named 'George' but hardly ever called that. Manuco's real, given names are 'Manuel' (that's MAHN-WELL for the non-speakers) and 'Angel' (AHN-HELL), and Tom's is 'Julian.' Over half of the guys had dads in the military with five dad grads (Brisach, Crosby, Hall, McManus, and Remus) and several granddad grads (plus uncle grads). Two of us (Trent - '88 and your humble correspondent - '87) have offspring grads.
Five of this crowd were born in the great state of New York with Garp the only one born in the Deep South! [Imagine that - with a name like Gablione, "who'd a thunk it?"] Two were born in DC, but no two others were born in the same state - a Pareto-like distribution? [Google it!]
As for cadet companies represented, most (12) were 1st Regt. Three were Fun-One folk and five were Alpha-One (with some B-1 cross-overs) - and the Mickers (who also recovered from a recent stroke) having grown to 'tallest of the pack!' [I wonder what he's eating - and, wow, can that boy eat!!] A broad mix of Army branches were represented with CE (3), SigC (2), Inf (3), FA (5), Aviation (1), QM (1), and ADA (1). [If the numbers don't add up, blame it on Excel!!]
Here is an interesting discovery by 'back-of-the-envelope' Factor Analysis: most prominent among Army O-6ers (6) were Cadet Sergeants while Cadet Lieutenants most often retired as O-5s (3). [Turn about fair play?] On balance, there were a total of nine Army retirees, but no Generals present. Observed there: our class had no 4-stars!
The average number of marriages of the group is 1.8, and the average number of offspring is 2.7 (most marriages - 3 and most offspring - 4). [Don't even ask how such were calculated as they are SWAGs - you know, Smart Wild-Ass Guesses] Gene claims prize for most grandkids (11, 1 step) but Garp has most great-grandkids (2, although step). [Brisach recorded first valid reclama]
OK, OK, the scores: A format was drawn up that provided TEAM competitions (with either 3 or 4 players per team), and each team received the sum of the points per round (there was no blind draw for a 4th score for a threesome). [I'm cornfuzed!] The points were awarded as follows: 1 - bogie, 2 - par, 3 - birdie, 4 - eagle, 5 - hole-in-one, and double-bogie - pick it up! Team scores were reported as +2, +4, -1, -3, etc., and the winner(s) with the highest number.
I am told that Hank had 4 rounds in the 70's; Powers shot 4 in the 80's; Baker, Hogarth, Kouns, Hall, Caraballo, McManus, Nobles, and Blackstone posted scores in the 90's; and Brisach, Hidalgo, and Fyfe found themselves over the century mark. Crosby was ambulatory with no card!
Thanks, guys, for the several corrections! Selah!!