It was really way too hot for mini-golf. My octogenarian Dad quit at Hole #9. But the rest of us forged on. I had selected this 19-hole outdoor course for its “Windmill” obstacles. I didn’t want the real golf challenge of fake putting greens. I wanted the goofy attempts to get your ball across the stagnant water hazards and through the jury-rigged metal contraptions that, if you hit your ball just right, would carry it down and around and drop it into the cup for a hole in one!
Our game, however, was interrupted when two tiny boys, maybe six years old, came busting onto Hole #15, just as we were sinking our putts. They were at the higher level of the course, rolling their balls into the gutter that wound under an old wooden shed, and then hopping down to our lower level to watch their golf balls come rolling out—right onto our field of play.
“Where is your mother?” I asked, unable to resist. Looking around, I saw no adult with that panicked “lost child” gaze on his/her face, zigzagging across the courses, calling out a child’s name. I did see a few parents mindless talking on their cell phone while their children cheated on their par. But nobody was coming to lay claim to these kids.
“My mother had something else to do today,” replied one of the boys. And with that, the urchins scampered back onto the upper course to repeat their routine. All this time passes, but still no parent surfaces. We play through.
Several holes later, I notice my 30-something son staring back at Hole #15, befuddled. Those kids were still there, still playing; now with an adult male and an even-older woman both trying to talk the boys off the green. No grabbing them by the arms, swatting their butts and dragging them kicking and screaming to the car. Just quiet begging and pleading— without results.
Even worse, it turns out that I’d seen Grandma sitting nearby on the fake rocks (in the real shade) all the while her wards were wrecking havoc on our game. But she never budged. My son was flabbergasted. It’s parenting episodes like this that make for the best birth control.