Their drink of choice during the hot, windy summer months was “Salty Dogs” (gin and grapefruit juice); in the winter, when the biting north wind chilled them to the bone, it was “Peppermint Sunshine” (vodka & peppermint schnapps). They had been members of Smoky Hill Country Club since the beautiful west Kansas golf course was built in the early 60’s. 11:30 AM was their assigned tee time 365 day’s per year. If the temperature was above freezing and not raining they were there. Each player in this “Geezer Foursome” had his own golf carts – each cart was a true reflection of the owner’s personality.
This story is about Big John and his beloved white toy poodle, Beau Jacque. Where ever Big John went Beau Jacque was there.
Beau had his own place on Big John’s Red EzGo. His seat and/or bed (whatever), strapped securely on the seat on the cart. It looked more like a over-sized catchers mitt than a dog’s bed and was lined with a soft white sheep skin. Beau Jacque owned his spot on Big Johns right hip and never made a move off the cart without the verbal or visual approval of his master. He protected the golf cart from anyone who ventured too near – like mother hen protecting her nest. His warning, to potential invaders of his space, started with a low growl but quickly turned into a fierce snarl and barking that would make any guard dog proud.
Beau, who thought he was a hunting dog, loved to ride the Smokey Hill fairways with an attentive watch for the meadowlarks who made the prairie their home. When he spied a potential prey, Beau would whine and prance frantically back and forth on the seat, but he was only allowed off the cart on Big Johns command. At the nod of his head or the flick of his finger, Beau was off. “He’s quick as a rat and twice as nasty,” Big John said one day when his beloved Beau actually caught a, too-slow-to-react, Kansas State bird.
This love affair lasted 13 years. Beau probably played 2,500 rounds on Smokey Hill.
When Beau was called to the great golf course in the sky, Big John and his, Geezer Foursome, buddies buried Beau along with his sheep skin on Smokey Hill CC. Then drank a special toast to the mighty little guy – Peppermint Sunshine.