Thinking of Palmer and letting the mind wander


Driving frees the mind. Without a tether, you allow yourself to think and consciousness streams. You jump off at a starting point and you have no idea where you’re going or how you’re going to get there. And if you don’t know where you’re going any road can take you there. That's in a song.

No music now. Just silence. Silence helps.

Tell me about Arnold Palmer. And so we’ve jumped.

Well, there’s lots to say. Tell you about Jack Nicklaus. He’s the greatest ever. Tell you about Tiger Woods. He’s the most dominant ever.

But Palmer? You can’t encapsulate him in such brevity. You can’t define him in simple sports terms.

That song. That line in that song. The one by Langhorne Slim: "When you’re alive you’re alright, when you’re dead you’re a saint."

There so much emotion in that line. He empties himself when he sings it. It’s a truism, most of us will be more fondly recalled in death. We achieve a higher acclaim in passing.

But Palmer? Not Palmer. Has anyone been more appreciated in life than was he?

Not celebrated. Not admired. Not envied. Yes, he was all these things. But appreciated. Who among us has been appreciated more in our living years? Muhammad Ali? Possibly later in life. But for so long, by so many, who?

This road is dark. Why aren’t there any other cars out here? Is everyone asleep?

Hopefully the girls are asleep. When the news came there was only time for a quick goodbye.

It wasn’t a surprise, the news. It wasn’t expected, but it wasn’t a surprise. It was a call to action. Kiss the kids goodnight and hit the road, there’s work to be done.

That’s the personal connection with Palmer. Not the work. Well, yes, the work. Of course, the work. But the kids. That’s what makes this personal. It’s not the career, the handshakes, the encounters, the interviews, the one-on-one moments. Blessed be to have all these. But it’s those girls. Those two girls born five weeks prematurely who didn’t weigh 6 pounds combined. Those two girls who spent another five weeks in the NICU at Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies. Those two 8-year-old girls who now dance and cheer and argue and sleepwalk and confound and amuse.

It’s them. That’s the forever connection to him. A connection that doesn’t exist with any of those others. It's personal. With him, it's personal.

We knew we’d be here at some point. We hoped for more time. We always wish for more time. These thoughts have long been deferred. But now …

Where are we? We’re here. We’re here? How did we get here so quickly?

How did we get here so quickly?

Tell you about Arnold Palmer? Tell you about thankfulness. Tell you about prayers answered. Tell you about love.

Love. You know, love stories are never fully told. The story, as you see it, always ends and allows your mind to wander, your imagination to begin.

And because it’s love, you imagine the best.