Everyone has an Arnold Palmer story. Everyone. I asked them. They told me.
They have stories about chance meetings, smiles, winks, rounds of golf, dinners, drinks and handshakes. They have stories about seeing him on TV do this and in person do that.
Of all the people I asked – and I asked everyone – I couldn’t find one person who had one bad thing to say about Palmer, which was surprising considering I’m pretty certain he must have crossed someone at some point.
Must had shunned an autograph seeker, must have stolen a girlfriend.
Not that I care. I don’t care if people love him more than milk chocolate or find him phonier than a televangelist.
Don’t care that he won seven major championships, 62 PGA Tour events and has a tournament bearing his name.
But I do care that he cares. Cares enough to create the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and Women, and the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies.
For five weeks my wife stayed on hospital bed rest at Winnie Palmer, in Orlando, Fla. She then delivered our twin daughters. Malin was born June 11 at 7:12 a.m. She was 10 weeks premature and weighed three pounds. Mallory was born at 7:23 a.m. She weighed 2 pounds, 14 ounces.
You’ll never feel more helpless than when you see a doctor hold your children in one hand each, knowing you can’t do anything for them – and you can’t take them home.
For another five weeks they remained in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Winnie Palmer. They developed, gained weight, and received the best care imaginable.
Now, it’s possible things would have worked out just fine had we gone to another hospital.
But I don’t know this.
This I do know: Today, as I woke up, Malin, now closing in on 10 months old and 18 pounds, stood in her crib, clutching the bars and mumbling baby talk. Her sister, now 17 pounds, was on her knees in the adjacent crib, holding onto the wooden planks and returning the blabber.
When they noticed me, they both smiled and laughed, as they always do when I get them out of their cribs in the morning. And I fought back the tears, as I always do when I see them smile and hear them laugh.
That's my Arnold Palmer story.