The Tie That Binds


Growing up my father was constantly on the road. Whether playing or commentating, his work rarely seemed to be in the New York area. When he was around, he was larger than life. When away he left a great void. I was lucky enough to live in an area and have an extended family where there was no shortage of surrogate fathers. My uncle Hank always looked after me with care. My future stepfather was everyone's favorite. And I adopted a man to be my uncle long before my mother's second marriage made it official.
Lou Guiney was my friend, protector and teacher; my uncle Lou. In a small person's world where everything is intimidating and the attention of a grown-up is food for confidence, he always had a smile, or a joke or the scariest story you've ever heard. He always noticed you and took time to show his interest in your life. When I drove to the Crystal Palace on his lap, I thought I was the coolest kid on the face of the earth.
Years passed, families moved and grew and my time with Uncle Lou became scarce. As a teenager my interests changed, but we could still talk about golf. When we spoke each year at Christmas I would search his eyes to see if my stories were boring him. If they were he never tipped me off. When the conversation turned to golf we told each other how our games were faring and what we each thought of the tour pros. I again had common ground with Uncle Lou.
More years passed, and yearly Christmas dinners at 1510 turned into an occasional funeral or wedding. While our contact became less frequent, my fondness for him never diminished. I recently heard that he saw me on The Golf Channel, and was so proud. It struck me that through this game I again found a common ground with a man who had bolstered me during my formative years.
I have often thought about playing golf with him at a glorious club somewhere. Age and responsibility have made me wonder whether I'll ever get to spend a day on the course with my Uncle Lou, but still the game draws us together. The care, attention and support that we all receive as children make us the men and women we are today. With that in mind, I want to thank my Uncle Lou. Thanks for always being there.