- Some Call It Luck - Chapter 64by Jim Wile
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Some Call It Luck
: Some Call It Luck - Chapter 64 by Jim Wile
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A brilliant and beautiful but insecure, nerdy young woman befriends a going nowhere older alcoholic caddie. Together, they bring out the best in each other and collaborate on a startling new invention

Recap of the last 9 chapters: Dana Griffin (nee Padgett), who was Abby’s chief tormentor all through grade school, finds herself in Altoona, Pennsylvania. She is a good golfer and joins Kettle Creek Country Club soon after moving there. While practicing one day, she sees a young redheaded girl practicing as well who reminds her of a young Abby. She then reminisces about her relationship with Abby back then and how poorly she had treated her.

Dana is invited to have lunch and play golf with a woman she met on the practice tee. At lunch the next day, who should show up to have lunch and play in the foursome but Abby, who is also a member at Kettle Creek. It’s been 20 years since they’ve seen each other, and although they are cordial, they are also rather cool towards each other. Dana learns from the other ladies in the group how successful Abby is at her job and how good a golfer she is, having won the ladies club championship the previous year.

Dana finds out that the young girl she saw practicing on the range is Abby’s daughter, Claire, who seems to be struggling with the game. She is having trouble learning the golf swing, which leads Abby to the idea of a new invention: a golf suit training aid that will swing for you to give you the proper feel of the swing. She tells Kenny about it, and they decide to invite E.J. and Eddie over for lunch and to bat the idea around. The team is onboard with the idea, and over the next few years the golf suit is created.

Now it’s time to try it out on a guinea pig—Claire. She has terrific results with it, and Dana notices the vast improvement in Claire on the practice tee. She sneaks into the locker room and steals the suit while Claire is in the shower. Abby is irate when Claire tearfully relates that she has lost the suit.

At home Dana puts on the suit and figures out how to use it. Over the next two weeks she practices with it.

The first day of the club championship is over, and Dana is in the lead, two strokes ahead of Abby in second place. On the second day, Abby is paired with Dana. Both play well, but through the 7th hole, Dana has picked up another stroke and is 3 ahead of Abby. She is swinging very well, and Abby has a suspicion about this sudden improvement. She soon realizes that Dana has the suit on, which is cheating. Dana falters at the end and barely ekes out a 1-stroke victory over Abby, but Abby chooses not to say anything just yet. Abby plans to get the suit back from Dana and will confront her that night.

Abby calls Dana and reveals that she invented the suit and wants it back. She goes to Dana’s house and finds it hanging on the door knob. She takes it home, and the family is relieved she got it back.

Dana reflects on her life and decides she can’t continue on the way she has been. She calls Abby up and bares her soul to her, apologizing for stealing the suit and cheating and vowing to confess to the club what she did, then resign. Abby implores her not to do that, and they meet for lunch at the club the next day and discuss it further. Abby again tells Dana not to resign and later leaves without knowing the final decision and with the possibility that they would become friends.
E. J. Budrowski
Two years later
October, 2006
Over the next two years, Abby, Kenny, Eddie, and I continued improving the golf suit. We had developed four different prototypes in that period, and we all agreed that the suit was now ready for full-scale production.

I had married Susan four years ago, and she was now part of the group, lending her prolific talents as a paralegal to help Abby research many of the legal aspects of the business side of things. Abby was in the final stages of securing a sizable loan to pour into a new branch of Eddie and Kenny’s golf equipment business, as we planned to manufacture the suits right here in Altoona.

During this time, I was promoted to associate professor of computer science at Penn State. I had earned a PhD a few years ago and I’m hoping to become a full professor in the not-too-distant future.

I’m 58 years old now, and the happiest I have ever been. Who could have foreseen the turn my life would take the day I pulled the Lucky 1 out of that pond? I feel like the lucky one to be in this place in my life now, and with that feeling came an idea.

I called Abby up and told her there is something I want to do tomorrow, and that I would love to have her company for it. I also suggested that we could play some duplicate bridge together afterward. She readily agreed.

The next day, I picked her up at her home in Altoona, and together we headed up to DuBois. When we got there, I drove up Astor Lane where I turned into the entrance to Brentwood Country Club. I drove up the long entry drive, around the circle in front of the clubhouse, and parked in one of the parking lots. We got out and looked at the old clubhouse together.

Neither of us had been back in many years, and we marveled at how unchanged it looks since we’d last seen it—still mammoth and beautiful with all the flower boxes beneath the Tudor windows, overflowing with an assortment of red and white geraniums. The huge maples that border the edges of the clubhouse were turning bright gold and red, and the view of the front is still spectacular.

We made our way back through the caddie yard and were about to go in the back door of the Pro Shop where Tony Colosi used to have his office when an old man came out to greet us, and I was amazed. It was Tony, and he is still here! He must have been about 75. I couldn’t tell if he’d lost most of his hair because he still had on a red baseball cap, and there was that half-smoked cigar still in his mouth. Some things never change!

“Can I help you folks?” asked Tony in that unforgettable high, scratchy voice of his. He didn’t recognize me, and why would he? I little-resemble the mostly scruffy-looking caddie I had been back then. Abby hung back a little as I stepped forward.

“Hi, Tony. Great to see you again!”

He looked at me, puzzled. “Do I know you?”

“Yeah, it’s E.J.”

“E.J?” he said with a blank look.

“Yeah, Tone, it’s me—E.J. Budrowski.” I laughed at the sudden look of astonishment that came over his face as he finally recognized me.

“Jesus Christ! E.J! What’s it been, twenty years? You don’t look like, well… what you used to look like back then.”

“I know. A little older and wiser, I guess. You look the same, though.”

He kept staring at me and shaking his head. “Never thought you’d amount to much. So, what have you been doing with yourself?” He smiled and put a hand on my shoulder.

“I went back to school. Joined the golf team at age 40. Studied computers, and now I’m an associate professor of computer science at Penn State.”

He kept shaking his head and smiling. “My God, E.J! Who’d believe it? So, what brings you back to Brentwood?”

I motioned Abby forward. “There’s something I told my best friend here that I wanted to do when I got here. In fact, you might remember her—Abby Payne? She was Abby St. Claire back then.”

He looked at her closely. “Are you that cute little redhead that worked at the snack bar a few summers? You and him are best friends?”

“Hi, Tony. Nice to see you again, and yes, we are,” she said as she put out her hand to shake. He took it in both of his.

“She’s the one who helped me turn my life around,” I said to him.

He just shook his head and said, “Will wonders never cease?”

He kept shaking his head and puffing on his cigar. Then he put his arm around our waists and guided us into the Pro Shop where we chatted for a while.

At a pause in the conversation, he said, “So what can I help you folks with?”

“Hey, Tone, would you mind if we walked out on the course for a few minutes? We won’t bother any groups.”

“Nah, don’t worry about that; sure, you can go. Why don’t you take a cart?”

“No, that’s okay; we’d like to walk.”

“That’s fine. Just stop in here again when you come back.”

“Sure thing, Tone. See you in a bit.” We left him, still smiling and shaking his head, and headed out the front door and down to the back 9.

“He’s hardly changed at all, has he?” Abby asked me.

“You’re right about that.” Like the clubhouse and Tony, the golf course hasn’t changed much either. Some of the trees are taller than I remembered, and some are no longer there, but the greens and fairways and bunkers look pretty much the same.

We made our way down toward the 16th hole. We had to cross a couple of fairways and pause while golfers played through before we crossed, but eventually we ended up at the corner of the dogleg 16th where so many years before I had hit those two remarkable shots.

“This is the place,” I said to Abby, “where I made those two holes-in-one all those years ago.”

“Doesn’t look like a green anymore,” she said as we looked toward the old 18th green. Evidently, they had stopped maintaining it and let it grow wild, and now it is just some wild, un-mowed grass in the middle of a bunch of trees. The saplings that had been in front had grown into mature birch trees, and there was hardly a hint that there had once been a green there.

“I guess there is one thing that’s changed around here after all.”

“I can think of something else,” she said, cryptically.

“Like what?”

“Like you. Look where you started—a downtrodden caddie—and look where you are now—a beloved professor of computer science.”

“Well, now that you mention it, I can think of another thing—you. Look where you started—a shy, unsure-of-herself young girl—and look at you now—a confident, talented inventor and entrepreneur. I guess we’ve both been lucky.”

“Lucky? Is that what you think we are?”

“Well, it was certainly lucky I found that old golf ball. I’ve often pondered what that was all about. Was it fate that I found it? Could it have been put there to be found by me? If so, by whom and why me? Could there even have been some magic in it? I’ll never know for sure, but I do know that if I’d never found it, I might have remained a drunk the rest of my alcohol-shortened life. Finding that ball was certainly lucky for me.”

“Finding that ball may have given you the spark that you needed to get out of your own way,” said Abby, “but you pulled yourself out of the muck and made a success of your life. That wasn’t luck; that was hard work.”

“Well, how about you? You were born with brains and had wonderful parents who taught you all the right values. Isn’t that lucky?”

“I admit that part is lucky, but I deserve a lot of the credit for taking advantage of those innate qualities. I read books, I studied things, I built things, I practiced a lot, I didn’t waste hours gossiping on the phone with friends, like Dana probably did. I didn’t have many of those anyway, but that’s beside the point. I guess what I’m saying is that luck certainly plays a role in our lives, but I think it’s what you do with that luck that makes all the difference in whether or not you succeed.”

We moved on then. It wasn’t my goal to replay that hole today. It was fun to revisit the site, but I had something else in mind. We made our way over to the pond on the 15th hole and around to the spot where I had pulled the old ball out of the water. The back 9 was pretty empty now. It looked like we’d passed through the last group of golfers back on the 16th hole, and there was no one else around at the time. The shadows were getting longer as daytime passed into evening. The air was still, and the only sounds we heard were a few birds and the occasional croak of a frog on the far side of the pond.

As we stood there looking down at the spot on the edge of the pond where it all started, I reached in my pocket and pulled out the old golf ball. I studied it for the last time. Maybe it was my imagination, but I could easily read the label, Lucky 1, which no longer seemed so faded, but quite legible to me now.

“You know, Abby, I keep thinking of what Eddie once said to me about luck. He said, ‘Was I lucky to have beaten Kenny in the club championship all those years ago? Maybe, probably, but in the grand scheme of things, that didn’t amount to a hill of beans. More important to me than winning a club championship was that I met my best friend, Kenny, that day.’ He made a good point. Maybe real luck is finding those few people, of all the thousands you come across in your life, who you really connect with and consider your true friends. Finding the ball may have set things in motion for me, but I couldn’t have succeeded without your friendship, and that’s a fact. In the end, I guess that’s why I consider myself lucky.”

“You’re making me cry here, E.J.”

She put her arm around my waist and her head on my shoulder then and, in a reverie, we stood there staring at the pond for about a minute before I slowly lowered my arm and dropped the ball into the edge of the water. You could just make it out beneath the surface. We looked at it in there one last time, looked at each other, then turned around and, arm-in-arm, walked slowly back to the clubhouse. It was time for someone else to find it.

Author Notes
For all of you who have been following the story, wherever you came in, I want to thank you so much for staying with it and for all the reviews you have given me. Your feedback has been excellent and has helped me greatly to improve the novel. I have taken many of your suggestions and made a number of revisions to the story. I really appreciate the thought you put into your reviews.

I have made many friends here at FanStory through sharing this novel with you. I have plans for another novel, but I haven't started writing it yet, so it may be a year or two before I would be ready to share it with you.

However, I'm thinking of sharing a novella I wrote back in 2016 that was the forerunner to Some Call It Luck called Lucky Eddie. It is narrated by Kenny Payne and is about his friendship with Eddie Phillips. Abby and E.J. are also in the story. There is more golf in that story than this one, since I wrote is as primarily a golf novel then, so I'm not sure it will have quite the same appeal, but I will try to make it as understandable as I can to non-golfers. It's only about 1/4 the size of Some Call It Luck, and it may be a few weeks before I start posting it.

Once again, thank you for all of your reviews and input. We don't normally read novels a chapter at a time as we do here, and reviews are for each individual chapter. If any of you have any big picture reviews of the story as a whole (or as much as you have read), I would appreciate anything you have to say about it.



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