Mar 25, 2012

Guaranteed gator at the green

Better than guaranteed, it was a cosmic truth:

Come rain or shine someone was always on – or approaching – that putting green.
Can you see the putting green?

At least that was the case whenever my brother and I drove by it with our mother when we were kids. The golf course was called Winters Run, named after the stream that ran through it, and a club to which one of our neighbors father belonged. This particular hole was set off from the rest of the course, on the lee side of a giant clapboard barn, and close to the windy back road that led into town. Like clockwork it drew our attention and like clockwork it never failed:

Someone was always on that green.


But why?

I could go over the technical merits here, but why bother:

Cosmic truths are not made to be questioned.

View of boardwalk at HP Williams Wayside

Thirty years later:

A visitor approached me with an inquisitive look on his face: “Where are all the alligators?”


We were HP Williams Wayside in Big Cypress National Preserve.

Of the many reasons that many reasons tourists stop at this particular spot, to see alligators is probably the top. “The water’s still too high,” I explained. “They’re all still dispersed in the swamp.”


“But we were here same time last year and it was full of them?” the visitor went on.

I shook my head understandingly. “That’s because last year was a record spring drought. Everything was dry except for this canal.”

Seeing putters at that green and at least one gator
at HP Williams are all but guaranteed

“But don’t worry,” I continued. “If you want to see a gator, I can guarantee you a gator. It’s right over there across the canal by the corner of the bridge.” I said pointing toward it, around two hundred feet away. It wasn’t the biggest gator, only five feet long, but a gator is a gator. I went on to tell him, and a few others standing nearby on the boardwalk, that “seeing at least one gator is guaranteed here at HP Williams Wayside,” describing it as “a virtual cosmic truth … or your money back.” (Note: admission is free).

I considered telling my story about Winters Run but decided to pass.

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