(Did you ever rent a car and find it so perfect in every way, that despite its high mileage, you actually wanted to keep it, no matter the cost? Hold that thought!)
My friend, Jake, inherited a couple of million dollars from a rich uncle, after he graduated high school.
If it were me, who knows if I would've succumbed to the temptation to just 'bum' off the interest and never work.
Jake didn't succumb. He went to college, graduated with honors, played varsity football, baseball, and golf.
Now, the golf was ten years before we'd ever hear about Tiger, so playing it must've been a personal pleasure for Jake, and he took his best friend (me) under his wing and taught me the game.
Currently, we are both near 'scratch' golfers.
Jake hated to move away, but a golden opportunity beckoned him, soon after graduation.
He was right to go for it. Today, he's worth about 20 million!
I'm just a working stiff, divorced, no kids, but I still have a passion for golf (like Jake), so when he announced he was coming to town on business, I used up whatever favors I had, and arranged for a foursome at a famous country club in Westchester, N.Y., replete with caddies, dinner, and an exclusive offer for him to stay at their club as a hospice guest.
The whole thing cost me about $2000.00 for one round of golf, and Jake knew I would never allow him to spend a dime. He was MY guest, so he didn't insult me by trying to 'chip in'; but he knew this was way over my head, money wise, so he promised to have me out to his club for a reciprocal, some day soon.
As fate would have it, only six months later I called Jake to tell him I had just bought a new car off the internet and that I would be flying into Dallas/Fort Worth airport in a few days to pick it up.
He offered to pick me up, but I told him that the dealership would be doing that, so he told me to meet him at HIS country club, some TPC where the PGA tour plays.
I jumped at the chance, surprising the auto dealer by collecting my golf clubs at the luggage gate and later 'christening' the trunk of my new Eldorado with them. (The car wasn't brand new, but this deal was sweet, $3000.00 below wholesale.)
When I pulled into the parking lot of Jake's club, I was proud that my old Sentra wasn't there to embarrass me, among the Mercedes, Jaguars, Rolls, and other Cadillacs that occupied most spaces.
Jake had called ahead and had the 'red carpet' just waiting for me: Valet parking, valet EVERYTHING, right down to polishing my golf shoes!
I knew Jake would do me one better, and this was starting out awesomely.
After an iced tea and a change into something more climate worthy, we headed for the first tee to meet a couple of tour pros who were getting in a practice round for the upcoming tournament (on the PGA tour).
The starter broke the bad news to Jake: The private jet had to detour and the two pros couldn't make it.
With an apologetic look, which Jake mirrored, the starter announced that there were two LPGA tour pros that were scheduled right behind us, and would we mind making it a foursome?
Jake turned to me, knowing my distaste for women golfers, but these were pros and there was no chance they'd hold everybody up, so I enthusiastically agreed.
When we were introduced, I didn't recognize either of the names or faces, and it dawned on me for just a moment that Jake was setting me up!
But when the women drilled their first drives right down the middle almost up to our drives, I canned any thought that they weren't pros.
Jake seemed to be playing his ball in a peculiar manner, always ending up near this one girl's ball.
Since he was a major 'player' in college, with women lined up to date him, I thought I detected an infatuation on his part, and my belief was confirmed when Jake asked to switch partners at the turn, with a wink.
Meanwhile, that left the door open to attempt to charm the cute blond that I now rode with, her name being Penny.
I didn't notice any ring, or even a break in the tan on her ring finger, so I asked Penny why such a beautiful girl wasn't already married.
When she spoke more than the few words we had exchanged at our introduction, my heart melted! Out came this wonderful Texas 'twang' with just the right amount of cheerleader mixed with wounded puppy!
She told me that playing the tour left little time to meet guys, with all the travel, and she had to be extra careful of 'leeches'.
I made my move.
I told Penny, "I have to return to New York soon, so if you're game, I'll play you for dinner."
She smiled a disarming smile, then told her friend, Cissy, at the next tee, "Teddy wants to play me for dinner, can you believe it?"
Cissy laughed at me and said, "I hope you brought your AMEX card!"
Jake whispered something to Cissy and she followed up with, "Hey! Knock yourselves out. Jakie here and I have our own match going."
Penny suddenly got real good!
She won the next three holes and I was in danger of being embarrassed, but I mounted my own charge and we teed off the final hole, all square.
When my par putt lipped out, at 18, and Penny only had a four footer, I was devastated!
But she uncharacteristically missed her putt, too, leaving our match even.
After Cissy and Jake holed out, Jake announced that he was the host here, and HE would be picking up dinner, and would the ladies care to join us?
His club was every bit as sumptuous as Westchester and the ladies were perfect complements to us.
Penny liked to listen to classical music, just like me, and she even preferred midnight swims, which was my specialty.
As the night wore on, and I got some great vibes from Penny, I hoped that time would stand still. I couldn't bare to part company with her.
But I was never as smooth as Jake, and I was not yet even booked into a motel, much less familiar with the surroundings.
Penny saved the day.
She emerged from one of those 'john' meetings that women are famous for, and told me that it looked as if Jake was hitting it off with Cissy, and would I mind dropping her off at her hotel, when the evening ended, here at the club?
I flushed with anticipation as I agreed, and I secretly prayed that she would invite me in, or failing that, at least let me taste those full pouting lips, as we parted. (I'd be 'cranking' to her image for months!)
When that final parting beckoned, Jake instructed me to see the night porter when I returned to the club and he'd fix me up with lodging for the night.
(For the long trip home, I had thought of a little detail like bringing with me a scent hanger for the mirror of my new Eldo, and I always used Norwegian Pine scent.)
When Penny got into my car and we were just under way, she sniffed and turned to me, saying, "I don't believe this! You have my favorite car scent: It's Norwegian Pine!"
She opened the glove box and in there were two CDs with a note: "The previous owner had left these."
She popped one into the player and what do you think happened? Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's perfect tones came alive from four speakers!
"Oh! Pinch me: I'm dreaming!" I almost said aloud.
Any thoughts that I was REALLY dreaming abruptly dissolved when Penny's hand sort of fell onto my thigh, just above the knee.
My 'Sir John Thomas' immediately snapped to attention, and before the ride was through, I knew that Penny had found something she liked!
.... There is more of this story ...