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Monologue by Henry C. Byrum

Byrum, Henry C.
Byrum, Jeanette
Date of Interview: 
Overcoming Obstacles; Relationships with People and Places; Childhood Adventures; Stories and Storytellers
Henry Byrum talks about learning to play golf; he also tells a story about a family golfing trip.
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Jeanette Byrum interviews Charlotteans to collect stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
Interview Audio: 
HB (Henry Byrum): My name is Henry C. Byrum, Jr. I'm also known as Butch. My favorite stories of my youth are stories that are funny. I'm going to tell you a story which is actually a true story, an adventure I had one time with my father, my younger brother, who was five years younger than me, and a friend of ours. When I was a young boy still in high school, about 15 or 16 years of age, I decided to learn how to play golf. And I bought my first set of golf clubs with gold stamps that my mother had saved up and I was able to talk her into giving to me. I bought that set of clubs and I brought them home and I began hitting golf balls around in the yard. Well my brother, who was five years younger than me, he was left-handed, I was right-handed, he started playing golf with my right-handed clubs too. And we would do this from time to time, knocking out a window along the way every now and again, or knocking a shingle off the house when we would hit it with a golf ball. And our dad used to laugh at us and make fun of us for hitting a little golf ball and walking and hitting it again, never, never catching up with the ball, only to catch up with it and hit it. Well one day he decided he wanted to play golf too, so he started fooling around with us in the yard, hitting golf balls with golf clubs for a right-handed golfer, he was also left-handed. Well this caught on with him, he was probably 55 years old at the time. And he decided after a year or so just puttering around in the yard that he'd like to play golf. I remember when my mother got him his first set of golf clubs. Left-handed golf clubs. She bought them at a church auction for five dollars, uh, some preacher was, was selling the clubs. Well he bought those clubs and he began playing golf and we would play golf from time to time, but it came about, uh, 1976 or so when I moved from where we lived, down near Waxhaw, North Carolina to Alabama to go to graduate school. My wife and I had come home occasionally on the weekends, uh, when it wasn't a holiday. And when I'd come home, my dad would always want to play golf. Well we came home one weekend and my father had this great idea that we should get together with a friend of ours down the road and go play golf. And my father had a particular golf course he liked to play, it's, uh, the name of it was White Plains, down near Pageland, South Carolina. We'd played down there many times before but he wanted to go play golf in Pageland, South Carolina on this particular day, I remember it, it was a pretty Saturday morning. We agreed to meet at my mom and dad's house where my wife and I usually stayed when we would come home from Alabama. My brother was married and lived elsewhere. We agreed to meet at, uh, my dad's house that morning to go play golf. Well my brother shows up and he, he tells my dad and I he'd be glad to drive to the golf course. Well my dad goes in the house to get his shoes and get his other things together leaving my brother and myself to load up the golf clubs in the back of my brother's car, which just happened to be a Ford Mustang. Well it became readily apparent that all those golf clubs wouldn't fit in the trunk of that small car, so my brother came up with this wonderful idea about how to deal with the situation. I suggested we take a different car, but he had a better idea. His idea was to remove the spare tire from the trunk of his car and prop it up against the side of the house, and then of course the golf clubs easily fit into the, into the vehicle. So he did that. I asked him if he was sure about what he was doing and he, he reassured me he was very confident because, um, because the, um, the car, according to my brother, anyway, had brand new tires on it and there was no chance at all that we could have a flat. Well, my dad comes out after we have the clubs loaded and we get in the car and drive down the street to the neighbor's house to pick him up along with his clubs. Well in the process of loading his clubs into the back of my brother's car, my brother raises the trunk puts his keys down inside the trunk, loads the golf clubs, and then proceeds to shut the trunk locking his keys inside. That should have been enough of an omen for us to realize that this was not a day that we were intended to play golf, but, of course, we were much smarter than that. So for the next, uh, hour or so we, uh, removed the back seat from my brother's car in order to get into the trunk so he could get his keys. We finally were able to clear a hole large enough for him to squeeze through, grope around in the dark, and finally get his hands on his keys. We then spent the better part of another hour putting the seat back in his car so we could all ride to the golf course. But we finally finished that, got everything done, loaded up, and off we went to Pageland, South Carolina. We got to the golf course that day, it was a pretty day, we played 18 holes, no problem. Decided, "What the, what the heck, while we're here let's go ahead and play 18 more," so we played yet another 18 holes. Well at the end of 36 holes it was getting later on in the evening, but it was a summer day and it didn't get dark until later so we decided, "Oh my goodness, since we're here and we don't get to do this very often let's go ahead and play nine more holes." Well I enjoyed that nine holes, it was the best nine holes of golf I ever played in my life. I shot even par, I had seven pars, one bogey, and one birdie. Well we finished up and as we concluded our day of golf it was getting late in the day, it really starting to get close to dark now. By that time, having played some 45 holes of golf, we were all pretty tired and extremely hungry. We turned in our golf carts and our keys at the pro shop, loaded up in my brother's car, and headed off down the road. My brother was driving, I was sitting in the front seat in the passenger, on the passenger side, my dad and our friend were sitting in the backseat. They were talking as we rode down the road and my brother and I was talking occasionally as we rode along. We got about a mile or so from the golf course and now it's getting dark. And my brother turns over to me and says in kind of a hushed voice, Butch, Butch! I think, I think I've got a flat tire." Well of course I knew he was pulling my leg and I was extremely hungry and very tired but then I said, "Man, just hush and go on, let's get home I am starving here. I need something to eat." He said, "Wait a minute." He said, "I'm telling you, I'm telling the truth. I really think we have a flat tire." I said, "Oh my goodness." Well at the first place he could he pulls off on the side of the road. Well my dad wanted to know what's going on. And my brother said, "Well, we just have a little problem with the tire on the front of the car." He wanted to take a look at it. So my brother and I got out, walked around to the front of the car, and sure enough on the driver's, or on the passenger's side, the front wheel was as flat as a flitter. It was absolutely gone. Well I looked at my brother and he looked at me and I said, "Well, I'm not going to be the one that has to tell him, you're going to have to do it." Well my brother didn't much like the idea but he shuffled off around the side of the car back to, uh, back to the side of the car where my dad was seated. I just stood around at the front of the car. I, I heard the window roll down, I didn't hear much of the conversation, I couldn't hear the voices what they were saying, but after my brother was there for a couple of seconds I heard, "What do you mean [laugh] you don't have a spare tire?" My dad couldn't believe what had happened. He said, and the next thing I heard was, "Where did you say it was?" Well, needless to say, I understood he wasn't real pleased with the situation. Well, my brother and I then had to hike a mile or so back up to the golf course and call the two people who were just as delighted about our dilemma as my dad was. That would be my mother and my wife, ?cause we had to ask them to drive about 45 miles to Pageland, South Carolina to bring us my brother's spare tire. They weren't real happy about that but they, uh, they agreed to do it. So when we got back up to the car, my brother and I decided maybe the better part of valor would be for us just to wait outside instead of sit inside. The weather was nice and we felt like the temperature would be a lot cooler outside than it would be inside. So we stood outside for a while, it's a good thing we did because after about an hour, we saw a car go by, through an intersection where we were, and we realized it was my mother's car. Well my brother and I then had to run most of the way back to the golf course to catch up with the car because my mother and my wife had never been to Chesterfield County, South Carolina. They didn't have a clue where the golf course was and they're just riding down the road. Fortunately, we were able to yell and scream enou-, loud enough so they pulled over and stopped. And as I said, they were totally and completely, uh, happy about having to bring that tire down there to us. And we, uh, we rode with them back over to the car. My brother and I put the spare tire on his car. But to tell you just how disgusted my dad was he told us as he climbed into with my wife and my mother that he was going to ride with them because he knew that car had a spare tire in it. I never will forget that story, uh, I told that story many times, but the funniest thing I ever heard was when my brother walked around to the side of that car and he leaned over and the next thing I heard was, "You did what?" It was, it was hilarious. We laugh about it now. It wasn't funny that night but it certainly was funny the day it happened. We went back to Pageland golf course many times after that and played golf, my dad, my brother, and our friend. But I can guarantee you one thing, we may not have had all the golf shoes we needed or all the golf balls or all the golf clubs, but we always had a spare tire.