Tales From the Tall Grass: Hey where did ya get that?

So I’ve been thinking of starting something a bit new here at Frank’s Place. Bearing in mind that I’m of the lazy sort, this was a decision I’ve been mulling (read procrastinating over) for a while now. Tales From the Tall Grass hits a few key buttons for me. It combines golf and writing. It occurred to me as I walk the fairways of the myriad of course I play, I run into and meet a lot of people.

As it turns out those people have stories. Even if they don’t think they do. And as I said I’ve only been mulling the idea of writing those stories. For one it would require some actual skill. I appreciate the compliments I get for writing Frank’s Place, but that’s just personal stories about the life of my kids and my role in their lives. Writing and articulating another person’s story is something all together different. Needless to say I was on the fence about all of it. Yeah I know, we should all have such tough decisions.

Well today cinched the deal for me. I played a rare Saturday round this week and met a pretty cool dude. What he was carrying finally convinced me Tales From the Tall Grass should be a thing. This thing won’t really be about golf aside from the rare bragging about my own game and some back-fill when the story requires it. No, these stories will hopefully be about the people I meet as a result of golf. And you’re in luck. The first installment begins now. Hope you like it. I know I do.

Tales From the Tall Grass: Hey where’d ya get that?

So a Saturday round of golf due to Friday rain allowed me and my weekly golf partner, John (his story coming in a later installment), to meet a fellow walker named Tom. Of course I’m not referring to walkers as in the zombie apocalypse, but to the rare breed of people who still walk the golf course instead of ride a golf cart.

Saturday’s are much busier and Tom, a walker, was paired up with me and John, also die hard walkers. We exchanged the typical pleasantries before teeing off and away we went. Tom and I hit uninspiring shots that missed the green to the right. As we approached we noticed the two golf balls in close proximity to each other. As is customary in this situation you ask the other guy what ball he’s playing, as in what brand. So you don’t hit his by mistake.

Tom says “I’m hitting a Titleist Pro-V1 #6”. For clarification, the ball is made by Titleist, the type is Pro-V1 and it’s stamped with a #6. And that was very odd in that I was playing the same ball, #6 stamp and all. Tom said “Well I’ll switch so we don’t confuse them all day.”

No need I said, mine has a Frank’s Place Logo on it so we should b…. “So does mine.” came Tom’s reply.

Ah wut?

Be like Tom.

A lifetime memento to be sure.

“Yeah see? Frank’s Place franknfran.com.” Tom said very nonchalantly, as if balls with that logo are so common it was no surprise to him that we both had one. Well it was a surprise to me. I had those balls made in January with a gift card I received for Christmas. I had a dozen made and up to this point had only lost two or three.

When Tom saw mine with the same logo he asked, again in a matter of fact tone, “Hey where did ya get that?” I had them made bro. Frank’s Place is my web site. It’s a blog I write about being a stay at home dad, and now a back to work dad.

“Well what do you know I just met Frank!” Tom was so excited I almost hated to mention it to him. No bro, you just met Frank’s dad. He was still enthused. John and I looked at each other for the next two holes with the same What are the chances expression. So now it was my turn. “Hey Tom. Where did ya get that?”

“Right here on number 15. It was behind the green just into the tall grass.” The right here he was referring to was Dead Horse Lake golf course in Knoxville. It’s sort of our home course. As soon as Tom said where he found it I knew when I had lost it and the plethora of vulgarities that followed my exhaustive search and subsequent penalty shot.

So started the conversation with Tom the walker. It’s a great story to lead off with because Tom is also a talker and has an interesting story. The least of which; in the 80s he used to work at they very place I just started working, Y-12 National Security Complex. He worked wit people in the 80s who are still there today.



Now Tom builds energy scrubbers. It sounds like an extremely complicated process. Here’s a diagram just for your own edification. But don’t ask me. I tried to listen to the explanation right up until my head hurt. Needless to say the world needs these things and smart dudes like Tom build them. So it’s safe to say the world needs guys like Tom. And not only is Tom producing for society, he’s passing that legacy on to the next generation.

An engineer by trade, Tom’s son and only child followed in his footsteps. Tom’s son is on the robotics team at his stem school and is due to attend the University of Tennessee next year. I showed my intelligence for the robotics world when Tom relayed a story of the robotics competition his son is in, for the third year running. The competition is basically a skills, agility, and capabilities test for the robot and a challenging gauge of creativity for the robotics teams who make them.

Gettin it on Battle Bots style!

Gettin it on Battle Bots style!

The robots must navigate an array of obstacles and either assault or invade a castle. Here is where my genius comes in. I blurt out, “Like battle-bots!” You know, that show on Saturday mornings, where all these teams bring their killer robots into the arena, close them in a plexiglass cage and let them fight to the death. It was an awesome show. But, Battle-Bots is sort of like what WWE is to the sport of Greco-Roman wrestling. Kind of the same but not really close to the same.

Tom’s kid was on a team making robots that actually accomplished something other than bludgeoning another robot into the scrap heap. Once the castle scenario was done the robotics teams would join forces, trying to match their weakness with two other teams’ strength’s and continue the competition. I’m clearly not doing the topic justice. I can’t get the theme song from Battle-Botts! out of my head. I should have included it so you could be enjoying the endless loop yourself.

Anyway, Tom was thrilled about it as he should be. He had some good stories from the golf course himself. He’s experienced just about everything from a torn muscle that came completely detached from the bone to a hole in one; the holy grail of golf and golfers everywhere. When Tom tore his hamstring clean off the bone, his bros marked their balls right there in the fairway, got Tom to his car, pointed him in the right direction and went back to finish their round. Eight months later Tom tested his busted hammy on the ski slopes. That is an awesome story right there.

I would expect no more or no less treatment from the dudes I golf with. Hell it ain’t like I’m a surgeon and can fix him up. That’s what hospitals are for. But I am a golfer and the round won’t finish itself. I won’t show you a pic of a torn hamstring cause damn! I just googled that and now can’t un-see it.

All in all a good time was had by the three of us.

Tales From the Tall Grass. Yeah this might be a thing.

Sound off with thoughts on the first installment or the whole idea in general.



Growing up: It sucks man.

Daddy they’re Triangles, not Tri-angu-lees! That’s silly!

How long before she graduates to the real thing?

How long before she graduates to the real thing?

Thus marked the moment it all started. She’s growing up. Can’t stop it. Don’t really want to stop it. I don’t think. But I was hoping to hold onto the vocabulary for a little while longer. I mean she’s pronouncing things properly now. How long before she’s a know it all teenager who hates her parents?

I will say we are finally to a place where the experiences with Anne Marie are starting to be similar to that of her older brother. Her early entrance into the world, subsequent 6 month stay in the NICU and another 6 with a heart monitor, followed by a year of isolation from germs sort of robbed us of all the experience we built up with Frank.

And I will say his transition from Panfer! to panther and from Hippothomas! to hippopotamus marked the beginning of the end of his toddler-hood. So this isn’t without precedent. Still sucks though.

A friend even warned me about it. Preschool will cause them to speak properly he said. They’ll lose that fun, funny way of saying things he said. They’ll seem older he said. He was right on all counts. Is there anything cuter than Hippothomas? No. Not even close. The only difference here is Frank never has corrected me when I say it the old way. Once he started to pronounce it correctly he just moved on.

The girl on the other hand… The first time we read the series of books called Bob Books it was a level 1 set where I was introduced to Seth the Square, Sally the Circle, and Tanner the Triangle. Although with that literation you would figure Sally the Circle would be Cecily the Circle. But hey who am I to judge.

Anyway these are the books she wanted me to read to her for nighttime. I gotta say after the first run through I needed to spice things up a bit. I mean not for nothin but the Bob Books are very short, zero plot lines, devoid of suspense, and almost no character development. Sally was the only one who got to stretch her story line a bit when she got upset during a game of hide and seek. She got so flustered she held her breath and lost her circular shape and was thus indistinguishable from the rest of the foliage.

It wasn’t until Seth and Tanner broke down crying because they couldn’t find Sally, (even though they were so close had either one of them sneezed Sally could have handed them a tissue), that Sally released her breath and returned to her circular shape. She then became visible to Tanner and Seth.

Not to go all Sigmund Freud here but Sally clearly has some self worth issues coupled with a need for attention bordering on the pathological. Who the hell can hold their breath until they lose their shape? If it was that easy to not be round I’d still be holding my breath. And don’t even get me started on the shallow brain pans of Seth and Tanner.

Won't need me for this much longer.

Won’t need me for this much longer.

Regardless, save that one particularly interesting volume, the rest of the books are quite boring. So I would amuse myself by reading in different voices, attempt to do it in a few different languages where I know some words. As it turns out, Ach tung! Seth kommen zie hier!, which is my father’s loose German for Come over here Seth!, doesn’t go over well for bedtime stories.

I did try singing one of them once. But my voice makes Jesus cry so I had to stop. Then I struck comedy gold when I began changing the syllables of the words or pronounced them phonetically when I could.

So Tanner the Triangle became Tanner the Tri-angu-lee. Sally became Sally the Circ-u-lee. She roared with laughter. The kid has a phenomenal belly laugh. Even at two years old she could bust a gut laughing. And it only took one time for her to start calling any circle or triangle by my made up phonetics.

The kid is a riot. Well I should say, was a riot. I used the tri-nagu-lee on her the other day and got, “Daddy they’re Triangles, not Tri-angu-lees! That’s silly!”

My little girl is not very little anymore.

Kommen des Alters, es saugt. 

(Growing up man, it sucks.)






Back to Work: Don’t they know it’s Masters Week?

So as y’all may or may not know, I went back to work in October of 2015. It’s been an adjustment for sure. Aside from leaving the kids I’ve been raising for six years in the hands of Mrs Frank’s Place, I had to learn new stuff. After all, these people are paying me. With American money no less. I feel obligated to at least learn my new job. So I started adjusting.

First there was the time thing. I went from thinking about getting up around 7am to bolting upright at 4:30am so I can shower and be rolling to the J.O.B. by 5am. Then there is the whole not staying up till 1 am anymore. It’s not like I didn’t foolishly try that. But I keep passing out around 9:30 in the pm. I mean what’s next, taking my place in line at the Shoney’s early bird dinner buffet trough. As I write this at 11:30 in the pm on a Friday night, I am struggling to stay awake. And that’s as I’m actually hitting the keys!

Of course there was driving again, in traffic, in the dark. I had forgotten about the skills, or more accurately the lack there of, Knoxvillians posses behind the wheel. Gas pedal on the right, fast lane on the left, lets get it straight people.

If that wasn’t enough, I had to adjust to working and playing nice with people again. Well, if I’m being honest, I never worked and played well. So it wasn’t so much adjusting again as it was initiating adjustment. And surprisingly it turns out people are pretty cool. In fact it may be the main source of satisfaction of the job. (Yes some of them read this.)

But as it turns out the largest adjustment would involve, not surprisingly, golf. Going back to work would mean an adjustment to my golfing. Although not as much as I had anticipated. One of the things that made this particular job attractive was the 4/10 schedule. Friday’s off! Golfing would be unharmed. Golf watching on the other hand…

C'mon Frank, keep practicing. I'll make this look good.

C’mon Frank, keep practicing. I’ll make this look good.

This would be the first time in 7 years I would not be home for Masters Week. I know! The horror right!? No scheduling would save that. I could watch the Drive, Chip, and Putt competition on Sunday but then would be radio silent until Friday. That would mean missing the player interviews on Monday and Tuesday, State of the Game speech by the Pres of Augusta National on Tuesday, the Par 3 contest on Wednesday, and the ceremonial tee shot and entire first round on Thursday.

I may have to quit. I mean, do they know it’s Masters week at work? Worse even, do they care? Not sure I could work with a bunch of godless golf heathens.

Now I know what some of you are thinking. Just take the week off. Look I’m an addict, but I ain’t stupid. No way I could justify taking 4 days off to sit around and watch golf. I can justify it in my mind all day long. But I don’t live alone. Burning my vacation for golf watchin may not be good politics currently. Someday…

No an adjustment had to be made. Since there is no way to watch a millisecond at work (Don’t they know it’s Masters Week?) DVR would be my friend. Well more like a step-sister I can’t stand really. I’ve never been one to watch live events on tape after I know the results. Also the advantages of DVR, mainly buzzing through commercials, is lost on The Masters. There are only two sponsors, usually AT&T and Coke. The commercials are very limited.

In 2003 Martha Burke and the National Organization of Women (NOW), protested Augusta National’s men only policy. To do that they targeted AT& T and Coke. Augusta responded by shielding it’s main sponsors by having no sponsors for that year’s Masters. You know what that meant? Yep, a commercial free telecast. Almost 12 hours of uninterrupted golf at The Masters. I’ve been a big Martha Burke fan ever since. My e-mails to her asking for another protest go unanswered to this day.

But if that little episode doesn’t make you love The Masters then I imagine you must be a communist. Augusta National literally said, “We don’t need outside money to run the biggest tournament in the history of the sport. Watch if you want or don’t, but we still playin golf.” It’s one of the endearing aspects of The Masters. Meanwhile The Masters has expanded to Sunday to Sunday coverage and an app that shows the entire week including a live camera on the driving range. Martha Burke on the other hand… She Gone.

So no buzzing through commercials and I already know who won the Par 3 contest. Alas better than nothing. Plus I did have a floating holiday to spend, so I was home on a rare Thursday to watch the broadcast on ESPN and the 3 live streams on themasters.org. Yes 4. And yes I had a monitor going for each one. Peep a little glimpse of golfing greatness.

The struggle people, it is real.

The struggle people, it is real.

Yeah that’s my setup. I ain’t ashamed. We all need a hobby. But now I have a J.O.B. too. So I’ll have to adjust. Maybe not for too long though. Presidential candidate John Kasich, Republican Governor of Ohio, has offered that the Monday after the Super Bowl should be a national holiday. He now has my vote.

I mean how long before Master’s Week is declared a National Week of Jubilee?