Buying a birthday gift for your six-year-old granddaughter can be a challenge. It has to be thoughtful yet selfless. However, if it happens to be beneficial for you too, well that just makes it perfect. Right?
"You bought Leila golf clubs?" my wife said, as I put the huge box on the table.
"Too cool, huh? I also got her a subscription to Golf Magazine."
"She hasn't even started first grade yet. She can barely read."
"I'm going to read it to her. Check out this article on power putting. Tell me she's not going to be excited about that."
My wife looked beyond the magazine to another large package standing near the door. "What's that one?" she asked.
"Oh, that. Ah, that's a Cobra 454 titanium driver with a 10.5 degree loft and a 55 gram mid-kick graphite shaft."
"Looks a little big for Leila."
"See, the thing is I knew Leila with her new clubs wouldn't want to go to the golf course with someone who has an old dinged-up driver."
"Tell me you didn't buy Leila clubs just so you could justify golf magazines and a new driver," my wife said.
"Don't be silly," I said. "But you know how kids are. It's all about image with them."
Before she could formulate any more of those kinds of thoughts, I tucked in my John Daly signature golf shirt, put on my Greg Norman anti-arthritic magnetic bracelet, grabbed my Jack Nicklaus Cabretta Leather All-Weather Golf Glove, and my Arnold Palmer long-bill, fast-dry logo cap and headed for the front door, grabbing my new driver on the way. "Just gonna try it out. I'll be back in time for the party," I said.
Several hours later the big moment came. Leila opened the huge package and she and her friend Darya took turns trying to lift the big box, all the time giggling like, well, little girls. Then they abandoned it and went to play with a makeup set and some new clothes some other parents had given Leila for her birthday.
"Did you keep the receipt?" my wife whispered.
"Won't need it," I whispered back. "She just needs to learn a bit more about the game that's all."
I waited until the guests had gone, then Leila and I went into the house and turned on the television to women's golf, which I knew she would like.
"That's Paula Creamer," I said. "And Natalie Gulbis and Lorena Ochoa and Becky Morgan. Some of the newest stars on the LPGA."
"They're pretty," said Leila.
"Some of them are also models," I said.
"I like their little outfits."
"Me too," I said.
"Whose little outfits?" my wife asked. "What are you watching?"
"Ah, we're watching golf. Big tournament. Leila's learning a lot."
I quickly switched to men's golf. "That's Tiger," I said. "He's the best in the world."
My four-year-old grandson Charlie came in to see what was going on. "Where's the tiger?"
"He's Tiger. That's his name. Look, he just got a birdie."
"The tiger ate a birdie?" Leila asked.
"No, see a birdie means one under par. An eagle is even better than a birdie."
"Do tigers eat eagles, too?" asked Charlie.
"What in the heck are you teaching these kids?" my wife asked.
She grabbed the remote and turned off the television. "So this was so you could justify a new driver -- and justify watching more golf on TV, too, is that it?"
I was shocked. "Of course not. This is all for Leila. Matter of fact, I plan on spending a lot of time with her at the golf course. We'll probably have to go two, three, maybe four times a week when she gets the hang of it."
My wife's eyes narrowed.
That's when Patrick came in. "Leila and Charlie are playing with her new golf clubs out near the pool," he said.
"See," I told my wife. We all headed out back, arriving just in time to see Charlie and Leila engaged in a very serious game of... sword fighting. Charlie was wielding a nine iron and Leila had the driver.
"What are you doing?" I asked.
"Charlie's the birdie and I'm the tiger," Leila said. "Grrrrr."
"Did you keep the receipt?" my wife asked for the second time that day.
It's not easy being a selfless grandfather.