The Long Battle for Supremacy of the Western (Golf) World

By Bill Borel and John Borel

Brother Bill and Brother John, The Dueling Cavaliers

Brother Bill and Brother John, The Dueling Cavaliers

(C. Hedge:  Some of my earliest memories are my two uncles, John and Bill, and their competitions to outdo each other.  Gramma was a huge part of it  (“Mom always liked you best!”)  With gentle prodding from our author, Bill Borel, Uncle John agreed to share  a bird’s eye view of their latest escapade.  After fifty years, the two are spending a week unescorted, mostly unedited, of golf in Sunny California.)

Round One: 

Bill: (To Cathy)   Since you ordained me as your author for “Slice of Life” I thought I would run it past you. The reason for the trip is to have fun and to reunite for a week of golf and reflection. Our path will take us to visit our two sisters, Joan and Mary. We will drive for two days and listen to John’s classical music, and Bill’s pop music. If you cannot use it there will be no hard feelings, and probably would save our brotherly relationship. Thanks, Uncle/Cousin Bill

John: Whether or not the drivel coming from the wrangling of your two over-the-hill uncles will meet your standards for publication is a serious question, and I leave it entirely in your capable hands. I’ve been horn-swoggled into this escapade.   Love, Uncle J.

P.S. On second thought My feelings remain that to make this a wrangle is unnecessary .–we’re just out to have a pleasant get-together and some golf.

Bill: Fine with me. I started to worry also that it would occupy too much of our energy. It might have been fun. But to sit down daily and write a story would defeat my original goal of creaming your ass at golf. So, maybe at some point we can recapture your defeated look as you hand over dollar bills to me; but total non-commitment is the theme of the day. Sorry Cat.  Uncle Bill

John: That would require a photograph to capture my happy face; words could not suffice.

Bill:  You mean you will be happy to hand money over to me?

John:  I have to apologize. In my doddering,feeble old age, I sent the email before I had a chance to add: “It is a happy face because I will have trounced you, collecting scads of dollar bills, using my super handicap.”   And I have to add that my furious emails are due to my two crowns and God knows what other dental cruelties are impending. That and water in my ear. Perhaps it is all apprehension at having to face up to victory after a lifetime of seeking consensus where there are no winners or losers.  Love, Jb

Bill:  Cathy. Do not be fooled. Your uncle John is just faking it to weezle some extra strokes from me. He was encouraged to whine by your grandmother who let him get away with everything.

Cathy: Ha!  I thought that was reserved for the baby of the family!

Bill:  I knew I had stepped too far with that mother thing. Properly humbled I know your mother will stick up for me…I think. So it is left for Palm Springs and seven days of great golf and fun.

Uncle Bill in his armor

Uncle Bill in his armor

Round Two: 

Bill:   Kind of an exciting little video. Our tee time for Sunday, Nov 10th is 10:44. This will give us time to get acclimated to the heat, hit a few practice balls, sleep in a little, and have breakfast. Maybe even take a half hour lesson on chipping and putting if an instructor is available.

John:  Hearty men don’t sleep in when away from home. No need for lesson on chipping, putting….doesn’t do any good!   By the way I played at Saratoga Lake yesterday in 40 degree temperatures and sand on the greens, and I three-putted birdie shots….but I had a birdie and scored 98!  I’m back, bro and my handicap is high!
Don’t worry, I’m easy.

Bill: Understood. Still think one round of golf on Sunday plus hitting a few will fill out the day…. As for quality of golf, I think we are pretty close. We were in Alabama and not much has changed with my game except I need one l club longer on shots now.

John:  …I see through you. I do not have any club longer than a driver, but it no longer gets me over the modest ravines it used to get me over. Still a 25 handicap because I do not report most of my miserable scores. But your plan is good, and I am sure you can teach me a thing or two.

Bill: If I recall right, we were tied until the seventeenth hole at The Senator. And if you weren’t honest you would have won. Still makes me laugh.

John:  Well, don’t forget, Señor. I have been out 12 weeks with shingles and then pacemaker, and I am spending the weekend in THE BIG APPLE chewing on one side of my mouth (I am having a root canal done on Monday when we get back). Call it what you will, it requires grit and determination to even get out and walk those hilly courses in 40 deg. temps and still get a birdie. I guess it is general deterioration and rot.

Bill: …. I went to the driving range yesterday and forgot how to hold the club. Do you grab the end with the big knob, or the one wrapped with leather? Lost any confidence I have been trying to build up by watching instruction videos.

John:  That’s a crock. You practically played professional football and won championships. I had to forego any sports because of my frailty. It was disgusting to learn from a clerk at the Apple farm today that he hits the ball 250 yards, and I talked to him a couple of years when he started and he couldn’t even afford golf clubs…and he’s 70.

Bill:  If you get a chance go to a golf store and pick up a free glossy magazine on golf courses in Palm Springs.

John:  We don’t have golf shops in Saratoga Springs. Just golf shops at golf courses. I’ll try to go to the net. Just had a root canal today.

Bill: While they were in there did they suggest having a brain canal too?

John : Touché Brer Rabbit. No, you have left me speechless and empty-headed, and I cannot tell you whether they did or didn’t. The Dr had lost his wedding ring. I tried to give some advice from my vast investigative experience in finding lost objects, but that seemed to annoy him, and I don’t remember anything after that. When my head started aching, I called the office and the receptionist told me to take one ibuprofen and one Tylenol, and if it still hurts tomorrow, well, it will still hurt.  If I remember anything more, I will let you know. Jb

John (To Cathy):  Don’t let my brother know, but it’s not as bad as it sounds. I’m very tough. But thank you for thinking of me. The best thing is that the water sound in my ears (NOT WATER ON THE BRAIN,BILL) has disappeared…. Oh, and I forgot, my knee pain has gone away.Of course, now I must concern myself with high cholesterol and a painful stroke and eventual death or gangrene. …But I will fight my hardest to keep my sly brother honest in the coming days.  Love,  Uncle J

John (To Cathy): When I battle Bill (The Animal) on the plains in Indio, where I suspect there will be much weeping and simpering and feigned bravado, as he shakes the rocks weirdly from his left ear and cries Uncle (or Brother), out will come some used Bridgestone golf balls.

Bill:  As Grandpa Arnold used to say, “Ye Gads” what a bunch of tripe…or something like that…at least the Ye Gads part is right. Now we are into rocks! Is that like throwing stones? and that followed up by all that mush trying to ply on my sensitive side. What’s with that?….The only stones I am familiar with now days are little square ones you freeze and put in your scotch glass. No Brother, your obvious effort to soften me before the attack will only prepare me more for your first assault. Do not be fooled dear young niece; he prepares his foil as we speak. But, he knows he was always my hero so I will not, repeat, will not give into his superior charm and intellect.  Love Uncle Bill  P.S. Two can play at that game.warriors big

John: (To Cathy Jean)  Oh how ingratiating!  The final sentence he says something almost nice. Anyway, it was “Ye Gods and little fishhooks.” Well, I HAVE to be nice, because I have to depend on my little bro to pick me up and take me around. …. But I’ve got bigger problems than that. I’m likely to wind up in chains and may never get to the airport. You see I’m planning to bring out a couple of my old Afghan sabers that have been sitting in my closet, since Phyllis forbade hanging them on the wall, even in the bathroom, or storage room or garage. And I would like to see them stay in the family, so I’m bringing them.  The thing is I have out them in the golf bag with the golf clubs, and my bags are likely to be x-rayed.

P.S. Sorry. I fell asleep writing the memo below. I tend to not sleep well at night when I have regular coffee after dinner and undistributed Halloween chocolate before going to bed. I was just going to end up by saying it’s been nice knowing you all.  Love,Jb

Bill: Insist you get your one phone call.
Bill:  Hey hey hey. There are more forms of communication than ipads….And I did remember the little fishhooks but for the life of me I never knew what that meant or had to do with anything. Being wiser, and older…much older…than me, perhaps you can explain it to me and to Cathy for future generations.

Cease Fire: 

John:  (To Phyllis): Hi Phyllis,  Wish you were here. We enjoyed a gourmet dinner of homemade spaetzle and chicken, cabbage rolls and multi-tiered cake, prepared by Steve…here in Yreka. Mary…she was at 110 percent. They treated us like royalty. Wonderful introduction to Steve’s book and his story of family and country.  Bill was in very good behavior, although he did rehash that worn joke “when you had your root canal, did you consider having a brain canal?” I was in awe today of both  Joan and Mary for having tried parasailing THREE times in Mexico. What do we have to do?! ….We return to battle tomorrow after this brief ceasefire.


Your wayfarer husband

P.S. The long battle for supremacy of the Western World continues.

Round Three: 

John:  11/9 Hi P.   We got in late last night and went out for a bit of Mexican food.  Beautiful resort….We are headed out in a few minutes for our first golf. I’ve determined, and Bill agrees, that he is a compulsive “re-arranger.”  He has to change where anything is placed to make it acceptable to him.  I’m a good time manager, so we are giving ourselves monikers. He is the Shape Shifter  and I am the Time Bandit. I told him he could just do all the work….Love,Me

Mt. ShastaJohn:  Hi P and Danelle,  We passed Mt Shasta at sunrise and today we watched the sunset after 18 holes at Desert Dunes at Indio. Bill won $6 from me, (but he spent $10 on beer) but it was my fault for trying to imitate Keegan Bradley (I hit a putt too hard after trying to stare down the ball; and got a bogie.) We both made it over a treacherous par 3. Bill is just now saying (over a beer) “the last couple of holes I think I figured it out,”….oh man, is he a dreamer! WE’RE FREE.

John:  11/10 Bill and I played Desert Dunes, a Robert Trent Jones designed course in a natural desert setting with mountains framing the horizon and vast fields of white windmills dotting the distant landscape. We played nine holes with a couple from Canada, Tim and Carol – he being an actual golfer. We were in awe. Bill gave me five strokes. but I still lost $2 on the front and $2 on the back and $2 overall score. I should get more handicap strokes! Then he tried to kill me by taking me to In and Out Burgers. “I didn’t say they were good burgers,” he said. “I said you would have an experience”. One good thing….eating the burger solved some of my constitutional problems. …

81° Sunny
Indio, CA, United States

old duffer

Uncle John

Bill: We met this old timer at desert dunes and he let us take his photo.

John:  On Nov 10  Below is Bro Bill’s first entry (after three days) in Cathy Jean’s blog. You can tell it is lopsided and heavily biased against his weaker older brother. Traveling with him reminds me of the old Chinese proverb. “May your life not be an interesting one. ” Neither one of us, of course, can remember any details or names of things without looking them up on Google. (By the way Danelle, without you around, I should secretly advise you that Bill is quite messy and leaves things around, like shoes, used tissue papers, newspapers, napkins, maps and anything else he has laid his hands on. And I don’t believe he makes his bed, though I haven’t actually documented that fact.) But we are having a ball. Don’t tell him I revealed all if this.

Bill:  Day 3 of the golf reunion of brothers John and bill.
It is Sunday morning and I am pleased to write both brothers are still alive despite a saber fight in Seattle and a sneak knife attack by John in Yreka…. Lunch at Joan’s changed our bad luck to good with only a minor skirmish and no blood. The ride from Eugene to Yreka was uneventful as long as I closed my eyes when John was driving. I do not tell everyone how well we were treated at our lovely sisters homes. Thanks to them and to God for giving us such a great family.

But two brothers do not always make good decisions together. We said, “Why not go all the way from Yreka to Palm springs in one day? After all on the GPS it is only a 12 hour drive.” And it would have been if we didn’t make a mistake and end up in the middle of LA traffic on Friday night rush hour traffic. Concern about gas meant leaving the freeway… at an exit that had no gas station. Finally at the far end of north Hollywood we did find three pumps in a corner station named USA gas. Of course they did not have a restroom.

Back on the freeway, or, stop and go way, we made it to east bound interstate 10. There are no rest stops in the middle of LA. Desperate by now and as the traffic cleared a little we found a deserted business park with dark hidden corners. Relieved we jumped back on the freeway, drove a mile and saw a sign saying, “Rest Stop, one mile”. It’s true. Eventually we made it to the resort in Indio, checked in and tried to find a spot to eat in a town geared for geriatrics who go to bed at 9. A fast food taco was the best we could do..

But we have reservations for a golf course, the sun is out, the resort is fabulous, and I know brother John will be no match for my superior golf ability.

More later.Uncle Bill

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8 Responses to The Long Battle for Supremacy of the Western (Golf) World

  1. Nice set of family. Hope I also have the best uncles in the world. : ) Golf is a great family bonding.

  2. Francie says:

    I feel like I have just bathed in delicious “Borel love” reading this post!! I can’t help but admire the connection that brings smiles, humor and quick for two terrific uncles! Thanks for sharing your story here… a delightful read and one for the books!!

  3. Phyllis Bader-Borel says:

    Somehow these two brothers/uncles sound familiar to me, perhaps from a 17th century novel. I have a suspicion that underneath the sword and knife play they are really good friends and not nearly as bloodthirsty as they seem, but perhaps the competitive spirit rings true. Deep down they are up for a good time together. I hope they will keep writing, for I’m checking every day.

  4. Celeste says:

    Hahahaha, “brain canal”. That’s my kind of humor! So glad your were able to capture this momentous occasion for posterity.

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