Elaine Soloway's Caregiving Series: All For One, One For All
It’s a perfect day for golf. The sun is shining and the temperature is in the 70’s. There is no wind. Although I’m not a player, the weather delights me because it means Tommy will be hitting the links with his three friends.
This is Tuesday, the day of the week I cede responsibility for Tommy to the group I call the Three Musketeers. I fancy Barry, Hal, and Marshall as characters from the Dumas novel because the way they care for my husband, their motto must be “all for one, one for all.”
I’ve driven Tommy to the golf course, and paid for his round and the rental of a pull cart. After he rolls his clubs onto the practice green, I take a seat on a concrete bench to await the arrival of at least one of the Musketeers.
While my love for the Musketeers could be considered self-serving because they give me a day off, Tommy enjoys their personalities. Each player adds charm to their game that keeps my husband entertained for hours.
Barry is the first to arrive. He is an artist, retired high school teacher, and devotee of dancing and jazz. “You’re here!” Barry says as he approaches my bench. His golf bag is slung over one shoulder like artillery. Sometimes, he can stop by our house to pick up my husband for their weekly outing. But today, other appointments interfered. “Don’t worry, I’ll bring him home,” he always reminds me. All for one.
“Not a problem, I can drop him off,” I tell Barry. I’m sincere. I enjoy this small respite on the concrete bench. I enjoy seeing each Musketeer arrive from the parking lot. But mostly, I enjoy watching my husband on the putting green. His stroke looks perfect — careful, slow — as the ball slips through the grass and drops into the cup.
I never join the foursome on the course itself, so I can’t ogle Tommy’s swing. But, I know he still lives by his mantra, “hit ‘em straight.”
“He’s still the best golfer in the bunch,” Hal, aka Tiger, assures me. Hal is a retired advertising and sales promotion executive, which accounts for his proficiency as the Musketeer’s organizer. He sets up tee times and starts the round of phone calls to alert the players. Hal’s acted in local theatre — a talent that surfaces when he narrates his latest joke.
The third Musketeer, Marshall, is a retired attorney. He’s the young-at-heart and the eternal optimist in the group. In Marshall’s eyes, the glass is always half full; sometimes overflowing.
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