Keeping up with the Jones: Any given Sunday

By |  March 11, 2020 0 Comments
Photo: Seth Jones

Photo: Seth Jones

As I write this, it’s been two Sundays since the Kansas City Chiefs won the Super Bowl. It was a long time coming, that win against the San Francisco 49ers. We went crazy here at my house. My old friend Bart hugged me so hard he picked me up right off the ground. There was champagne, fireworks, everything.

And yet I wonder … will the following Sunday be more memorable in the long run? Allow me to recap.

Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, 6:30 a.m. – Grab a couple magazines, a 5-Hour Energy drink, and hit the road. It’s a four-hour drive to my first stop, and if I want to be back in time for dinner, I have to get moving.

8:15 a.m. – I’ve heard a lot of people complain about how boring it is to drive through Kansas. Those people must be driving east-west across the state, because driving northeast-southwest via I-35 takes me through the Flint Hills, which I view as one of the most beautiful stretches of highway around.

9:40 a.m. – Oklahoma has a lot more wind turbines than the last time I was here.

10:15 a.m. – I pull up to my first stop, a hospital in Enid, Okla. An old friend of mine, Travis, who is one year older than me, recently suffered a stroke. Fearing the worst when I entered, I was relieved that he looked good, but he was wheelchair bound. Thankfully, he was upbeat, and after a few serious minutes, we were our old selves, joking with each other. It was an emotional goodbye. As I walked back to the car, it started raining. I couldn’t help but feel deflated to see my friend this way. What a stark reminder about how uncertain life is, every minute of every day.

12:50 p.m. – I’m at my next stop on my one-day road trip. I’ve arrived in Stillwater, Okla., at the home of Mike Kenna, Ph.D. The two of us have been in discussions about him joining the staff of Golfdom as the magazine’s research editor. Call me old-fashioned, but I like to meet with people in person, preferably over a meal or a drink, and close a deal with a handshake.

We’re off to a good start. Mike’s first words to me? “How’s Travis?” We discuss family and friends before getting into business following lunch at Stillwater CC. By the end of the meal, I’m reaffirmed that we found the right guy to lead our research section in the magazine (more on Kenna joining Golfdom here), and my mind is racing with thoughts of what Mike could bring to the magazine.

1:50 p.m. – Mike and I close the deal with a handshake in his home office. His lovely wife takes a photo of us together in his office. Time to get on the road again.

2:15 p.m. – I’m at the What-a-Burger in Stillwater because I never miss the opportunity to bring What-a-Burger home to Adrianne and the kids.

4:45 p.m. – I stop in my hometown of Mulvane, Kan., just to say a quick hello to my best friend, Mike. Dad taught me this rule: Never drive by when you can stop by for a quick hello. We’re on Mike’s back patio when he looks up and says, “That’s a big bird!” I look up and say, “Dude, that’s a bald eagle!” We both excitedly watch this majestic creature fly directly overhead. We’re kids again.

5:30 p.m. – I stop in Wichita to put flowers on Mom and Dad’s graves. Another reminder of the uncertainty of life.

8:05 p.m. – I pull back up into the driveway, later than I hoped, but with two sacks full of What-a-Burger cheeseburgers. The wife and kids and I sit around the table, and I tell them all about my day, my visit with Travis, with Mike, with Mike. It was a busy, productive, memorable day.

10:30 p.m. – I settle down and try to go to sleep. I need to be in Cleveland in a few short hours. My journey is unending, but rewarding.

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