The Schmid Golfing Family of Uruguay!

With Carla & Gregor Schmid and their daughter Priscilla.

With Carla & Gregor Schmid and their daughter Priscilla.

One of the most delightful days of the “Journey to Olympic Golf” was New Year’s Eve Day, December 31st. It was a day right out of Steve Martin’s 1987 comedy movie “Planes, Trains & Automobiles.” My version was more spiritual and would be called “Ferry, Buses & a Taxi.” It started in Buenos Aires, Argentina and ended at the incredible New Year’s Eve celebration in Punta del Estes, Uruguay. The highlight of the highlights of that day (there were many) was meeting the Scmid Golfing Family (most of the family) at the Golf Club of Uruguay in Montevideo, Uruguay. The video interviews speak for themselves and the message is clear that the spirit of family and golf is alive and flourishing in Uruguay!

CLICK here for Video Interview with Carla & Gregor Schmid.

CLICK here for Video Interview with daughter Priscilla, a junior golfer.

The 12th green, note the two approach shots! The picture does not do the view of the water justice. It is spectacular!

The 12th green, note the two approach shots! The picture does not do the view of the water justice. It is spectacular!

A life-changing moment occurred for me during the round of golf that afternoon with a mystic former diplomat. Her name was  Rasha and we were walking to the 12th green. The Golf Club of Uruguay sits on a perched corner of land surrounded by water. One end vista overlooks the steepled 1700s city of Montevideo while the other end is coastline forever with nothing but water in between. Seeing the vast water it occurred to me that this was the first time in nearly three months that I had seen the Atlantic Ocean and felt a twinge of homesickness for Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida far to the north but on the same ocean.

Satellite view of Rio de la Plata, courtesy of Wikipedia. To the lower right of the brown river is Buenos Ares, Argentina.Tthe white star upper right is Montevideo, Uruguay.

Satellite view of Rio de la Plata, courtesy of Wikipedia. To the lower right of the brown river is Buenos Ares, Argentina.Tthe white star upper right is Montevideo, Uruguay.

The wise and articulate Rasha corrected me stating that what laid before us was the Rio de la Plata (River of Silver). It is the widest river in the world at 140 miles wide at its mouth with the Atlantic Ocean and separates Uruguay from Argentina. Punta del Estes (Point of the East) was another 83 miles to the north along the forever coastline and that is where one finds the Atlantic Ocean.

She was right, I was wrong. She was a humble Swede, me a male American so of course I had to counter with something of intelligence. I looked for the late afternoon sun in the southwest sky  and pointed with authority over the vast waterness confidently towards where I knew Buenos Aires to be. After all I had woke up there and it was simple geography and geometry. Then she said something that I will forever remember and let it impact me for the rest of my life.

“No,” my sincere host said, “the sun is in the north.”

The Monserrate Sanctuary high above Bogota, Colombia.

The Monserrate Sanctuary high above Bogota, Colombia.

Then  she pointed ninety degrees to the left of where I had pointed and though I could not see it I knew that was the correct direction of Buenos Aires. I realized at that moment for the first time in my life that things I take for granted and to be fundamental to my way of life could be askew, even possibly the exact opposite of what I know to be true. At the same moment I was driving up the mountain at night to Reunion in Guatemala and experiencing the fiery red lava flow of a volcano. I was at the Monserrate Sanctuary high above Bogota, Colombia. The location of the sun, so simple a thing, so prominent a thing in my life wasn’t were I thought it could be.

What else may I have miscalculated in my life? Assumptions of childhood, relationships and pursuits of my life? Why did this brief interchange, something so easy to discount, laugh about and forget  stay so central to my thoughts ever since that final afternoon of the old year? I guess we don’t really need to factor in the exact location of the sun as we go about our daily proceedings but maybe the sun is a good place to start when we look within to our attitudes, perspectives and view of life. For one it is always shining down somewhere in the world. Secondly even if it is a dark and raining day it is still shining above the clouds. There is always hope for later today and tomorrow and I hope I never forget that sunny afternoon revelation so graciously given to me by Rasha of Uruguay.

 

 

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