Par Tube

My father was a pretty good golfer.  He played on weekends and in weekday 9 hole leagues.

Back in the day, golf grips were leather-wound. The constant abrasion of tossing in and pulling out the different clubs would cause grips to unravel. And thus – one would have to pay to have clubs re-gripped every couple years (or try to play while squeezing the unraveled pieces).  

Around 1950, my father had an idea. He bought some paper tubes to put in his golf bag. Each club had its own tube — to slide in and out. And – voila! – no more abrasion!  And thereby – no need to have grips reattached!  Within weeks, friends and strangers would ask where he got the tubes in his bag.  So my dad went out and bought 2000 paper tubes – and a rubber stamp that said “Par Tube.”  He hand-stamped each tube with the red ink logo and offered a local sporting goods store the new “golf tubes.” The owner said he would take the tubes on consignment but if they didn’t sell – he said my father would have to eat them.   

Within weeks, the sporting goods store called and needed more tubes. And the PAR TUBE was born.  A distributor began selling them to other sporting goods stores.  And my father began to moonlight.  Tannery by day – Par Tube by night. . . . .  

In the mid-1950’s, the owner of Chicago Paper Tube & Can Company at 137 South Albany (the tube maker) called my father.  The owner – Mr. Lyons – wanted to retire and he offered to sell the company to my father.  And my Dad – who had twenty years service at Chicago Rawhide – made a switch – and invested every penny he had – to buy and run a business he knew nothing about.  And he made it grow.  And he made it glow. . . .    

Swing Thoughts

I like to golf. I’m okay at it. Not great.  I play two or three times a week – and I have a 17 index that’s moving down.   My attitude on any given day can affect my game.  The reason is that golf is 65% mental. And 35% mental. . . . .

Upon addressing the ball (“hello ball“), I employ an instructive word I learned from a John Jacobs Golf School in Litchfield Park, Arizona.  The word is “GASP.”  GASP stands for “grip” “aim” “stance” and “posture.”  These are not swing thoughts.   These are the preliminary steps that you take to get ready – to strike the ball. 

It is once I have my grip, aim, stance and posture lined up and ready – that a mantra from Captain Chesley Sullenberger’s miraculous landing on the Hudson River comes to mind.   As the plane begins its descent to the river, the flight attendants are calling over the intercom “HEAD DOWN – STAY DOWN.” 

And that – is my single swing thought.   If I can remember it. . . . .

The Great Hash Brown Cook Off

[A tasty repeat from September 10, 2013]  Donna and I spent a long weekend in Park City, Utah, with some good friends. One evening, we planned to make dinner and dine in. Soooooo I volunteered to make my world-famous hash brown potatoes. No big thing. Well, my friend Jack said “I make hash browns too. Why don’t we have a cook off?”  I thought hmmmm . . .  a cookoff.  With that, the gloves were down, the aprons on and the skillets ready. We went to Fresh Market where I bought some large (ideally organic) yellow potatoes (I used 8) and two large yellow onions. I was stoked.  Jack bought similar ingredients. We went back and fired up the stove.

I halved, then thinly-sliced the onions.  I washed the potatoes and pitted any “eyes” or rough spots (gotta be perfect).  Then cut into small chunks.  I put the onions and potatoes into a large fry pan with olive oil then covered on low heat.  The object – to cook the potatoes slowly by steaming them with the onions.  I stirred frequently.  This is a slow process – taking 45 minutes or more.  Gradually the potatoes softened and the onions began to darken.  I added garlic powder, pepper, salt and a little Italian seasoning.  Then I tossed in a large spoon of butter.  Mmmmmmm . . . . When the potatoes were ready, I turned up the heat and took off the top to do a little pan roasting for perhaps six or seven minutes.  At this point, well done chopped bacon is an option. 

The result was wonderful.  Jack’s offering was a counterpoint to mine.  He first boiled the potatoes and chopped them small and tossed in with finely-chopped onions.  He used butter only.  His were more traditional flat hash browns with the delicious buttery taste.  Mine were chunky and more of a roasted potato dish.  The gathering happily devoured both.  No winner was declared.  It was a toss up!  🙂   

1089

You will have people saying “how in the world did you do that?”

Let’s say you are sitting with some friends.  Or better yet, children or grandchildren.  You volunteer to predict a four digit number. And you write it down on a card and turn it over.

You ask someone to write down three single-digit numbers without repeating a number. Then have them reverse the numbers and subtract the smaller from the larger.

You take that number, reverse it and add the two numbers together. The total will be “1089” — the number you wrote down on the card. 

The good news is that – whatever the first three numbers are, the end result is always “1089.”   And no – I don’t know how it works.   Unless I take off my socks and shoes.   And even then. . . . . .