Bear Scrawl

I couldn’t get close to the same spot today. The wait was interminable, and several times I was certain he had slipped past me. Finally, he walked out of the clubhouse, two shoe boxes under his arm, and dropped them into the limousine’s open trunk. His face reflected unhappiness, but when his much taller son said goodbye he pulled out a wad of cash and asked if he needed some money. “No, dad.”

I approached and asked for his signature, but he silently turned away. The cheap little vinyl autograph book I extended toward him was not going to leave empty because my main intent that day had been to get Jack Nicklaus’ autograph on page one.  I wasn’t this nervous in 1967 when I asked my hero Mickey Mantle for his autograph. So I sucked in a big breath, took another step forward and again extended the opened book. “Jack may I please have your autograph?” He took my pen and signed page one, and was gone. A voice called from the porch as the car drove down Magnolia Lane, “Mister you sho’ was lucky, `cause he was not a happy man.”

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