Two and half blocks from my house, there lives an old man. On the outside, he’s a typical, unassuming, grouchy-in-appearance old man. He wears a hat that proudly displays his devotion to the United States Navy, he wears pleated slacks and loafers, he wears aviator sunglasses. All commonplace amongst many male senior citizens, which would lead you to believe he is just another generic geriatric.
But you would be wrong. Because this old man drives a golf cart.
There is a golf course within walking distance of here. But as near as I can tell, this old man happens to own his golf cart. He owns it. He drives it around town, one leg allowed to hang out of the left side of the cart, his foot dangling less than an inch from the gravel. There are no golf clubs, he wears no cleats, he just… drives his golf cart around town.
The police officers drive right by him, many of them smile and wave at the old man, which leaves me to wonder; Is it illegal to drive a golf cart on a public street? I’m not implying I would like to drive a golf cart down the 405 in L.A. traffic, but am I allowed to get my cart on in small town Minnesota? It may be the size of the town, it may be the age of the cart owner, it may even be a combination of both, but I’d like to know who I have to talk to about owning my own golf cart. It’s listed amongst my life goals now.
During the long winter months, he’s nowhere to be seen. I imagine golf cart tires don’t handle icy roads too well. (I’ve no idea what he does with the golf cart when it snows. Maybe he has a special golf cart tarp, maybe he has a shed where he keeps it, I don’t know.) But as soon as the weather warms up, the second the ice and snow melt, you can hear the distinct whine of his golf cart motor as he crawls down the road at what could be no more than five or ten miles an hour. And it strikes me at that point… I actually miss that sound.
The old man is nice enough. He’ll nod in your direction if he sees you, a greeting I feel is as warm and fuzzy as he’s willing to get with strangers. I’ve even seen him go so far as to wave at children. And I’m sure he’s done many things in his many years worth mentioning. He was probably in the Navy, he may have actually saved lives. He probably has children and grandchildren, of whom he is proud, to whom he may very well be a hero. I’m also fairly certain he has a name.
But I will never know him as a war veteran, I will never know him as Frank, or Bob, or Bill. I will always know him as “Golf Cart Guy”.