Like so many other mornings this summer, Madison began the day clinging to sleep. She despises waking up only very slightly less than she despises going to sleep. This is the kind of conflicting logic that led to the robot uprising in A.I. Once Madison was coherent enough to say something to me other than “Can you close the blinds?” or “I’m so tired,” she asked if we could do something fun today. I took the bait and asked her what that might be. “I want to go golfing,” she said. I scowled. Bayview is a long way away. But then I remembered Jungle River.
I had never actually been to Jungle River despite growing up in Aiea and visiting Toys R Us a million times. I’ve looked on Jungle River’s unimpressive signage many times and probably uttered “Meh,” nearly every time. It did, however, beat driving to Kaneohe and since Madison had to get her TB test read, we’d be in Aiea anyway.
Madison loves golf because of a number of factors. First, the concept is simple enough: hit the ball into the hole. Second, swinging the golf club and hitting the ball is in that sweet spot for her where it requires some skill, but can be done well enough. Finally, Madison adores mini-golf because she isn’t bound by any of the rules of golf. She routinely uses her hands and feet to touch the ball. She stops the ball if it starts rolling away. My personal favorite, though, is when she misses a ramp or bridge or pipe completely, chases after the ball, then carries it back only to place it directly in front of said ramp or bridge or pipe. He truest joy on a mini-golf course is hitting the ball into something.
There was a moment during our round – about three minutes in – when rain came down pretty hard. I quickly put away the camera and took refuge with Madison under a large tree. “What happens if it rains?” she asked. “We get wet,” I said. “No, I mean about golfing,” she said. I often forget that she is not able to pick through my sarcasm yet. Yet. “I don’t know. Hopefully it stops raining,” I said. Luckily for us, it was just a passing shower. The side effect, though, was that it made the area extremely muggy. I cursed Oahu’s weather conditions and longed to be back in southern California, up until I saw the national weather report this afternoon showing triple-digit temperatures along the west coast. I’m good.
Mad swings hard and has no real idea where the ball is going. I suspect the length of the club and the weight of the club head makes it difficult for her to hit the ball accurately, especially from the tee position, because she often swings and drills the ground behind the ball. The club then bounces up and over the ball. I’ll give her credit: she rarely misses the ball completely to the left or right.
Because her club head drags, though, she often hits the ball wide right. It happened twice today that she went oppo and her ball landed in the bushes. The first time it happened, I was ahead of her. I saw the ball roll off the green into the dirt area. She bent down, extended her hand into the brush, but hesitated. She pulled her hand out, then looked at me. I LOLed. I knew she wouldn’t want to get her hand dirty. I knew I’d get that look from her. “I’m not going to get it,” I said. She made that noise she makes when confronted with an undesirable situation like having to finish dinner without the possibility of dessert. It sounds like a mix of fear and panic.
Once she retrieve her ball and found that no spiders, geckos, roaches, or dinosaurs bit her arm off, she had no problem getting her own ball out of the rough whenever it found itself there. Phew.
It wasn’t all bad, though. Madison actually sank a couple of clean puts from a few feet out from the hole. Her finest moment came at the hole featuring the remains of a dinosaur. The first section played uphill with the possibility of three different holes. Since we didn’t bother looking ahead, we had no idea what the lower section of the hole looked like. Madison placed her ball at the bottom of the hill and took one of her massive cuts at the ball, sending it to the highest level of the hill and into the hole. We did not know what would happen next. “Go look where it goes!” I shouted. Excited, Madison raced up the hill. “No! Down there!” I said, pointing to the walkway. She juked herself out trying to course correct and almost fell down. I heard the ball hit the bottom of the cup before she got down there. “Did it go in?” I asked. “Yeah, yeah!” she shouted. “It went in all by itself.” FULL DISCLOSURE: Madison’s golf partner did not score a hole-in-one today.
Aside: We just got back from dinner at CPK at Pearlridge. On our way to the restaurant, we walked past that canal adjacent to CPK and Sears. A while ago, I told Madison that cats cruise in there, so every time we walk by, she stops to see if she can catch any cats down there. She saw one cruising today.
On the way back to the car, she started singing “Cat Can-non, cat can-non,” to the tune of the Beastie Boys’ “Brass Monkey.” First, let me just say that I absolutely lost it when she did this. Singing things to the tune of “Brass Monkey” is a time-honored Higa Family tradition shared by Paul, Matty, Lynnette, and myself since at least the period when I regularly imbibed alcohol. Anyway, I started singing along because the visual in my head of an actual working cat cannon thrilled me beyond words.
“What if I shot a cat out of a cannon and it hit you in the chest?” I asked Mad. “No, it’s not a gun,” she said. “Yes it is,” I said. “That’s what a cat cannon is. I know what a cat cannon is,” I said. “No, it’s shaped like a “U” and the water goes in it,” she said. “Like a gutter?” Lynnette said. Madison didn’t say anything. I don’t think she knows what a gutter is or that she can find her dad’s mind there. A few seconds passed. “Oooooooooooooooooooooooh!” I said. “Did you mean cat can-yon, Mad?” “Yeah, yeah,” she said from the back seat. She picked up her singing, this time with the “Y” audible.
Best daughter. That best daughter. Best daughter, daughter, that best daughter.