By Bob Bridge
Paul Mitchell glanced my direction as his golf ball rested several feet from a pond fronting the putting surface.
Talk about limited options. The only path to the green was directly in front of him, a lifted shot onto the green.
“Do you think I can make it?” he inquired.
I didn’t hesitate. “Sure,” I said as I added a nod of the head. “Just do it like you see on TV.”
He rested the iron on the grass and struck the white sphere.
I knew, almost immediately, the shot required more trajectory. Just before the ball was about to splash into the pond, I shouted, “Skip!”
Lo and behold, it did.
The ball ricocheted off the pond’s surface and flew another 10 yards before threatening to splash again.
“Skip!” I shouted, this time with a tad more gusto.
And, it did.
The ball reached the bank, took a healthy hop, and rolled to within a few feet of the cup.
He looked my way and flashed that scintillating smile.
“Heretofore,” I happily proclaimed, You shall be called Skip Mitchell.”
We lost Mr. Mitchell on Christmas Day. He lived to the ripe age of 97 and impacted an immeasurable number of humans during his duration on this planet.
His official send-off was spirited and soulful, thanks to the inspiring words of Pastor Larry Dalton, family members, and friends Bill and Clarence Brown.
It is an understatement to say he harbored a firm, philosophical rudder. He was a kind, good man with exemplary morals.
In an era when so many young folks appear hopelessly untethered from reality, men such as Mr. Mitchell are worth their weight in gold.
Among his many professional pursuits, he served as a gifted educator and a successful entrepreneur.
Paul Mitchell was earnest and steadfast, never one to jettison principle for popularity or convenience.
My mother once defined him as the authentic Southern gentleman.
I described him as Bedford’s “sharp-dressed man.” He rewarded me with a charming smile and whispered, “Look sharp; be sharp.”
Mr. Mitchell exuded a quiet self-confidence. He was undoubtedly a self-sufficient and multi-faceted fellow.
Ever encouraging, he convinced you to deliver optimum effort in each task you undertook. Make no mistake, he was a magnificent, mannerly mentor.
When addressed, Mr. Mitchell, stared directly into your eyes. He cared what you had to say. He granted you his undivided attention and made sure each person he engaged felt special.
This unselfish man oozed common sense, humility and a healthy accumulation of useful knowledge.
A positive person? He was unquestionably a can-do guy. He could detect a sliver of light and convince you it was the sunniest day in the annals of meteorology.
And, he could make a Titleist ricochet off the surface of a pond.
I bid you a fond farewell, Skip. How blessed I was to call you my friend.
Bob Bridge welcomes comments at 812-276-9646 or email@example.com.