July 25, 2012
I plan to dedicate a few rounds during my upcoming Hike on Monday, July 30. I feel this directs the attention of the day of the hike to the proper people who are struggling or have struggled with challenges 24 hours a day. Here is a brief description of those dedications:
One of my favorite persons I met when I attended the University of Texas was Bruce Loethen. We met as students in the School of Architecture and had a lot of great times together including the first trip for both of us to New York City to see all of the great landmarks. It was probably a little like a Beverly Hillbillies episode as we walked for miles throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn. Many years later, Bruce was snoring in the back seat of my car as my wife and I set out for the airport to begin our honeymoon, and to unload him at the airport for his journey back to Houston.
Bruce made his pledge the same week his father-in-law, who battled diabetes his entire life, passed away. His father-in-law, was Don Bruhl Jr., of Marble Falls, Texas. Don grew-up in Llano, Texas and eventually became a certified public accountant until his retirement in 2010. He is survived by two daughters, Tina and Dona, whom is Bruce’s wife.
Bruce made it clear that Don's greatest passion was golf. Because of the Texas climate which is conducive to year around golf Don would brag to Michigan relatives at Christmas time how he had just gotten off the golf course. During his golfing "career" Don carded multiple holes in one. Bruce sent me a picture of Don’s urn and commented that he sure hopes there is a golf course in heaven for Don. Judging from the urn I would say Don had his priorities right while here on earth. The urn is supported on both sides by stands that look like golf clubs. On top of the urn serving as the handle to remove the top is a golf ball!
My first round is dedicated to Don Bruhl Jr. who seemed to enjoy life on his terms by not letting diabetes hold him back.
Philip Young is an accomplished author who has specialized in producing research and in-depth histories for golf clubs blessed with classic golf courses (www.goldenageresearch.com/). He is the author of “Tillinghast: Creator of Golf Courses,” available through Classics of Golf.
Phil was one of several persons I contacted through my email address book and his response was especially poignant. Phil admitted he has been approached by many worthy charities including others participating in the Hundred Hole Hike, but he agreed to contribute to my cause for a couple of reasons. Phil was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2007 shortly after his triple by-pass surgery. Unfortunately, the illness has prevented him from playing much golf; he hasn’t sufficient strength for it. Phil wasn’t your average golfer. In his twenties he was a scratch player and accomplished this while playing the Bethpage Black course on Long Island, which has hosted the United States Open. So, Phil pledged to HHH as an acknowledgement of my son’s condition and as a way to declare that Phil is determined to overcome his own illness so he can play more often the game for which he has considerable passion.
I believe another reason Phil pledged was to acknowledge the parents role in supporting their children who have been afflicted with disease or disability. Phil and his wife are the full-time caregivers for their two mentally-ill adult sons. When making his pledge Phil wrote to me and asked me to tell Sam that, "this one's for him AND you”, which I believe recognizes the team effort required by the entire family to face the challenges presented by such circumstances.
My second round will be dedicated to Phil, and my hope is that he will soon be able to experience this great game more as he remembers it when he was an accomplished player!
My final round will be dedicated to my son Sam. Up until his diagnosis in October 2010, at age 17, he excelled in academics, basketball, and music. After his diagnosis none of this changed; he determined to keep working hard at everything he undertook. He has never showed to us any bitterness or self-pity and he has been especially determined to take charge of his condition himself. I saved the last round for him because my expectations are that it will be physically challenging; maybe at some point during the round I may even want to call it a day. Because it will be dedicated to him I hope I have the fight and determination in me to keep going, the same fight and determination he has in him. I know at some point the physical stress will end and I can relax and recuperate and get back to normal, but he will never be able to return to the way things were before October 2010; he will always have that pump with him, always have to count carbohydrates, always have to prick his finger and touch his blood to the test strip, always have to be proactive with his diabetes to try and avoid the devastating effects of the disease. Sam and all of the persons who have been afflicted by disease, injury, and debilitating conditions can never just stop, rest and return back to their old selves, so I hope that last round I can suffer just a little bit for them. No matter how insignificant my gesture is I hope it can be meaningful for that brief time.