Saying Thanks to Those Who Have Served

The weather report was that the temperature would be in the mid-80s, but on the golf course it seemed as if it had reached about 90 degrees, with high humidity. It turned out to be the hottest day of the year; which further explained why it was a challenge to walk the 9 holes on this hilly course. I also forgot to bring water.

I did not intend to physically exert myself, because I was only interested in playing a relaxing round of golf. It seemed that walking would be easy, and that idea was supported by the finding that the two men I was playing with, Chris and Bob, both of whom seemed to be a few years older than me, had already decided to walk the course. So, at first, all seemed fine.

Things changed, however, on the 6th hole. We were on the putting green when Chris took a long pause before hitting the ball. I thought he was just composing himself prior to his shot; but after finishing he said that he waited to make his putt because he was feeling light headed.

Chris was the most talkative of the three of us. Early in the game he sought to engage me in conversation and to tell me about his golfing experiences in Las Vegas. Chris noted that the temperature reached 105 degrees on the day he played; therefore, he was not concerned about today’s heat, even though it was humid. Chris said that although he did not have to deal with humidity in Las Vegas, he did not believe it would be an issue today, given that he handled the 105 degrees without a problem.

Chris told me that he hopes to retire soon, and that he owns his own business. He also said that he plays golf for free on the NYS course we were on, because he is a disabled veteran. I do not play golf often, but when I do, and when I am pared with someone I did not know beforehand, I usually limit the chatter to golf topics. I am not saying that I am opposed to talking about other issues; it is just is not my first inclination.

I have to admit that when Chris mentioned about being a disabled Veteran, it elicited a fondness toward him.

After the experience on hole 6, Chris walked to the 7th hole and sat on the bench. The heat and humidity had gotten to him. Chris said he was puzzled by this development, citing how he did not have this problem in Las Vegas. He did not seem in distress, but he was having some difficulty; so I offered him an aspirin. I always carry a few aspirins with me, in case they are needed. Chris first declined my offer, but within a few seconds he changed his mind. I gave him the pill, accompanied by some words of encouragement that the aspirin will make him feel better, as it will thin out his blood. I trusted that Chris would have told me if he was not allowed, for medical reasons, to take the medicine.

After a few minutes Chris said that he was done golfing for the day, and that he was going to temporarily remain on the bench, and rest. He said he would soon walk back to the clubhouse.

Chris was reassuring that he would be fine but I noticed, as I walked ahead with Bob, that Chris had not started his walk toward the clubhouse. As luck would have it, I was able to get the attention of a groundskeeper who was driving by in a golf cart. I told him about Chris and that he was likely still sitting at the 7th tee box, and that he would benefit from a ride back to the clubhouse. The groundkeeper initially responded with a defensive reaction, stating that he just come on duty, and that whatever I was referring to had nothing to do with him. I re-explained myself, without getting annoyed, and the man eventually understood what I was saying. He then drove off in the direction toward Chris.

About 10 minutes elapsed and there Chris was, sitting alongside the ground keeper as he drove him back to the clubhouse. As Chris passed, he waved as a show of thanks. He seemed OK.

I believe the aspirin probably helped him, and since he had not started his walk, the arranged ride was also needed. I do not know for sure if I saved Chris from a grim fate, but it is very possible. I was largely a stranger to him and we probably will not ever cross paths again. Therefore, for the most part, I was an anonymous helper. Chris, on the other hand, helped countless people through his military service, and paid a price for doing so. He did not know the people he helped, but I was one of them; and I am glad that I could return the favor to a small degree.

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