Not long ago, as summer dawned, my wife Wendy and I were discussing our looming 20th wedding anniversary.
“So, Old Baggage,” I said, affecting the accent of a toffee-nosed English aristocrat, “where exactly would you like to go? Sky Miles and hotel points are the limit!”
“Oh, no,” she came back with feigned horror. “I thought we’d seen the last of that old boy!”
Needless to say, I was pleased when madam suggested motoring down to a lovely old hotel and sporty golf course in South Carolina where we celebrated our 15th anniversary some years ago. Among other things, this plan also meant I could forgo the ruinously expensive bone-china soup tureen or platinum jewelry traditionally prescribed by the ruthless arbiters of wedlock style in favor of a nice dozen golf balls of her choice.
But first, friends, a brief word of explanation.
Referring to your dearly beloved as “Old Baggage” does not come without certain risks to domestic harmony and possibly life and limb, though in this instance it was one of those affectionate inside jokes that long-married couples share to remind themselves of their matrimonial journey through the fairways and thickets of life.
While participating in a mixed foursomes tournament during the annual R&A autumn meetings some years ago, you see, we got paired with an elderly English couple straight from the page of P.G. Wodehouse – a crusty old RAF Colonel and his long-suffering wife, Edyth, who spent an entire trip around the Duke’s Course in St. Andrews tossing colorful insults at each other.
“Alright, Old Baggage, put your considerable rump into this shot!” the Colonel urged his bride as she addressed her approach shot to the second green, a short four-par. “No half-way measures, girly! Give the old wedge a solid knock!”
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