A father vowed to play Pebble Beach with his three boys. Two years before he died, he did it.
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Everyone has that magical place, the spot their eyes need to see or their foot needs to step just once before they take in their last breath.
I need to peer over the rim of the Grand Canyon.
I have to look up at the Eiffel Tower.
I must hear the roar of the engines at the Indianapolis 500.
I want to walk the Great Wall.
For my entire childhood and all of my early adult life, I heard my father say one thing, without hesitation, the words never changing, the conviction only growing as he got older.
I am going to play Pebble Beach with my three boys.
He said it over and over, to me and my two older brothers, Chris and Alan. He said it to neighbors when he sat for summer nights on the back deck, to lifelong friends at his Thursday night golf league, to strangers on the barstool next to him. When he'd say it to us, we agreed, every time, that we would make this happen. We would talk about standing on the 18th tee, the Pacific looming up the left side, hugging the coast in what the Scottish poet Robert Louis Stevenson is said to have called "the most beautiful meeting of land and sea in the world."