My buddy John’s face lit up as if he had just made a 25-foot putt out on his favorite golf course.
“Oh, golly,” he said as he twirled his new possessions through his fingers. “Oh, golly.”
These were a little special for an avid golfer like John, I guess. They came from The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews with this famous course’s insignia stamped on them.
OK, for you non-golfers, a ball marker is a flat object — usually circular — and about the size of a small coin. It is used to mark a golf ball’s location when the ball is lifted from the putting green, often so as not to impede another golfer’s shot. (Hey, my wife didn’t know.)
John is a guy who carries around a ball marker in his pocket like I did with a buckeye when I was as a kid. I did it for good luck. “I don’t do it for good luck, though,” John admitted. “I just like having one in my pocket.”
He’s a weird dude but most of my friends are. I asked him what he would do with them. “I’ll give them a baptism out on the course and then I’ll put them in with my collection (of ball markers),” he said.
Yes, he has a ball marker collection in a nice little glass case. I guess it is a tidier hobby than collecting divots he has taken with his five-iron.
I am always amazed at the enthusiasm in which some people pursue their little collections and how much they mean to them. I have a sister-in-law who collects all kinds of pink piggies. Another friend has a great collection of frogs of all textures — metallic, glass and rubber. Then there was my one fraternity brother who kept a jar of belly-button lint — I think most of it was his own.
I’m sure you know people — maybe you are one of them — who collect coffee mugs or shot glasses at different vacation destinations.
I remember when my mom took me to the movie, “The Long, Long Trailer” starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz and how she collected a rock from each of the 50 states while touring the U.S. in a trailer. Of course, they couldn’t make it through the Sierra Nevada Mountains with all that weight until “Ricky” had to toss the rocks over the cliff.
On my own recent journeys as a travel host, I have watched a lovely woman named Thelma collect thimbles in Britain to add to her vast collection. (Thelma and her thimbles — I love that alliteration) We had to wait on the bus in Wyoming until Marsha bought a saucer set — she gets one in every state she visits. At Gettysburg this September, Carol got up early so she could buy another miniature cannon to add to the ones she and husband Jerry already have on their mantle back home.
But didn’t most of us (at least the guys) collect baseball cards as kids and then moved on?
Well, maybe I didn’t. You should see the great baseball cards I have from 1959 — including all the Cubs — that I’ve collected in recent years.
I guess I’m no different than John and his ball markers. Well, maybe a little different. At least I don’t kiss my baseball cards.
Retired columnist Bill Moor writes a weekly column for Community. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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