Family is described in many ways and depending on the person, could include non-blood relatives. Family provides a sense of belonging for most people and being within a golfing family, the central theme to inclusion is golf. However, if we were to examine our lives, I bet most of us belong to many families at the same time. I know I do and on any given day, a different family member will pop in and out of my life.
The most interesting aspect of my families is that some relationships need to be fostered and others not so much. The common bond allows moments that when a person pops into our lives, we pick up right were we left off. This is true for your high school or college friend, a work mate, or someone you met on the golf course. The strength of the bond is not always based on interaction, but on a common experience. Recently, a had an encounter that was unforeseen, but very much welcomed.
Some of you many or may not know, but I spent 33 years in the Royal Canadian Air Force. During this time, I have met many amazing people and my military family is very large. Our bond ranges from training, serving, and living together for long (and sometimes short, but intense, periods of time).
On a recent vacation, my wife and I traveled to Bournemouth, UK, for a wedding. A close friend of ours was getting married and she asked us to share in her special day; so we made plans and off we went on another adventure. After visiting Dublin, Ireland, for a few days, we made our way to Bournemouth and the celebration.
As one of the few Canadians, or so we thought, making the trek to Southern UK was fun and we were interested to meet the other Canucks at this celebration. The day before the wedding, there was a gathering at a local pub so all the distant travelers and family of Michael and Kathleen could become acquainted. This was a great idea because I met some amazing people and talk about lives, travel, family and of course, golf.
As I made my way around the room, I had introduced myself to just about everyone when I encountered one of the guests. His name was Dominic Digiovannantonio; after a quick double-take, I asked him his name again. His unique name immediately caught my attention because I went through the military training system in 1984 – 85 with a Dominic Digiovannantonio. As it turned out, it was this same person! After 32 years, in which our paths had never crossed, we happen to meet at a mutual friend’s wedding in Christchurch, UK! What are the odds!
Surprised by this chance encounter, we quickly covered the 32 years and found that much of our lives ran in parallel and our experiences had a fair bit of common ground. He introduced me to his wife, Gabriele, and I re-introduced Dominic to my wife Teri. I say re-introduced because my wife Teri was also in the military those many years ago and conducted training at the same place and time as Dominic. It was a moment out of the twilight zone! We had a wonderful conversation and it was great to catch up with a member of my military family.
Families are amazing things. Our chance meet with Dominic and Gabriele show that being blood relatives does not always constitute being part of a family. As I stated earlier, I belong to many families. My golf family continues to grow and as I meet more and more people, some will stay and others will fade away. Regardless, the common thread is golf and I am grateful for the opportunity to grow bonds with like-minded people who share my passion for hitting a little white ball around a course of lush green grass.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!