After the Game Revised

Chapter Fifty~Nine

"I apologized to Ronald today at lunch and I already apologized to Charles yesterday. Why do I have to go see Dr. Barnet?" Sean asked as we were driving over to Phil's office after school.

"Because you're not fixed yet," I said as I gave him a smile and poked him in the ribs. "Besides, it's too late to cancel now."

When we arrived in Phil's office, Mrs. Gallagher was glad to see Sean.

"We haven't seen you for a while. I've missed you," she said as she gave him a big smile.

When I looked around the room I noticed Mark and Charles' coats on the rack. I guessed that Mark had called to book his appointment before I did that morning. We sat down and after a few minutes Mark came out of Phil's office, followed by Phil with his arm around Charles. It looked as though everyone was in good spirits as Phil was his usual jovial self. When they got closer, I noticed Charles' eyes were a little puffy and red though.

"Is this that big tough guy you were talking about that flattened that kid in your game on Saturday," Phil said with a big smile.

We all laughed, including both the boys. Charles was limping a bit, but his leg was much better after he got the ice on it when he came home from the hospital.

"Remember, you use lots of facial muscles to smile. It's good exercise, young man," Phil said to Charles as he patted him on the back.

Charles obviously got along with Phil very well and he gave him a big smile in return.

"Well let's get to work, Bulldog. I'm sure you're hungry and want to get home soon for dinner. I know I do," he said as we all chuckled as he put his arm around Sean and led him to his office.

"I'll give you a call this evening, if that's alright," Mark said to me as Charles walked out the door ahead of him.

After about 45 minutes, Phil called me into his office. When I sat down beside Sean, he looked OK and didn't seem to be too upset.

"As I said before, Al, I'm not going to talk about any specifics that Sean and I covered. But, I can say that we've had a good talk about the situation with Charles and we made a lot of headway."

He told me that Sean had opened up to him and that they were getting to the root of some of his issues. He also said that he was recommending some more weekly sessions.

"I can tell you that you've got a smart, caring and sensitive son here, Al, with a strong moral code and sense of ethics. I told him I was very impressed that he opened up to you and Dana and I've encouraged him to continue keeping the channels of family communication open. I told him that despite the fact that you're an old fossil, you remember what it's like to be a teenager," he said as he chuckled.

On the way home in the LX I wanted to seize on Phil's opening up the topic of communication.

"I want to echo what Dr. Barnet said about continuing to talk with Dana and me. You know we're good listeners and we don't want you to feel embarrassed or afraid to talk to us."

"Yah, I know," he said as he smiled at me.

I asked him if things were OK with Charles and Ronald and he said that they seemed OK. Ronald was still a little tentative, as he was really hurt by the comment.

"He finally shook my hand after Charles and Pieter said I really meant it when I said I was sorry."

He said that Charles had told Pieter about him apologizing, as well as the incident with Carson and that Pieter forgave Sean. I then asked him if he had seen Carson at school and he said that he wasn't there all day.

"Carson's friend from his team came over to our table at lunch and told us he's real sore," Sean said.

The friend said that his neck and right shoulder were still bothering him. I asked him if there were any repercussions such as threats and he hesitated.

"He just told me to keep my head up next game."

"And what did you say?"

"I didn't have to say anything, cuz Pieter stood up and told him that he and Carson better not pull any dirty stuff again."

When we got in the house there were wonderful smells coming from the kitchen. Dana had made some of Sean's favourite dishes.

"Jake and I have been cooking up a storm," she said.

They had made Chicken Kiev, broccoli with Asiago cheese sauce, roasted miniature potatoes with herbs, a big Mediterranean salad, and apple crumble for dessert. We were all full after we had finished.

After dinner, the boys went off to their rooms to study, as they both had an in-class Business exam the next day. They would be off for the next three days as the formal exam timetable started on the Wednesday until the end of the week. Both boys were finished writing on the Thursday and would be off on Friday.

"What did Phil have to say?" Dana asked as we sat in the living room finishing our tea.

I told her that he wouldn't go over specifics, but I felt that the session was a good one.

"He encouraged Sean to keep talking to us," I said.

Just then the phone rang and it was Mark calling. I motioned Dana down to the Media room and put the phone on speaker, so we could both hear and talk. The boys were up in their rooms and couldn't hear us downstairs.

"I've got a pretty mixed-up son here. Over the last two days, we've gone through the gamut of emotions from Shame, and fear that he'd let me down and I was mad at him, to self-pity. The session with Dr. Barnet today was a gut-wrencher, but it was productive. I guess you noticed that Charles had shed a few tears," he said.

He told us that Phil had talked to Charles alone and then brought Mark in for the last part of the session. He said that he had given Charles some perspective on sexuality and told him that there was a spectrum not a bunch of pigeon holes. He also said that Phil told him that sexual orientation is not a matter of choice and made it clear that the counselling sessions would focus on helping Charles discover if his true sexuality was gay and if so how to deal with it.

"I'm not sure if he thought I expected him to turn Charles straight or not, but I told him that wasn't why we were there. He also told us that Charles' feelings today may be different in a year or so and that emotions were pretty volatile in the teen years and often evolved over time. He talked to him about homosexuality, heterosexuality and bisexuality. He then told Charles that his feelings would never be wrong and above all be honest with himself."

Mark went on to tell us that when he finally found out Saturday evening what had happened at the dance-a-thon, Charles told him how sorry he was and that he felt stupid.

"After I got over my initial shock, I gave him a big hug and told him there was nothing to be sorry or feel stupid about."

He also told us that Mark in Calgary was a big help to him and they were on the phone for almost two hours.

"I think that was the one thing that finally calmed him down, because he was much better afterwards. Mark and Josh are very special young men. Charles is already talking about how much he's looking forward to next summer at camp and spending time with them, even though Mark told him he had a boyfriend," he said as he chuckled.

I was really glad to hear him chuckle, as it appeared he was coping with the situation very well under the circumstances. He told me that he had been in touch with Ronald's parents and they already knew about Ronald's sexuality and the gay relationship with Pieter deBoer's brother, Karel. They were very understanding and supportive parents who were both teachers in another board of education.

"They've been through the initial shock before, so they were a great help giving me their perspective," Mark said.

Mark then went on to say that he was going to have to adjust his thinking as to the dynamic between Charles and Ronald.

"I have to remind myself that this isn't just a couple of good buddies spending time with each other. This is a sexual relationship," Mark said with a sigh.

Phil had told him that even though the threat of a teenage pregnancy wasn't present, the boys were pretty young for the emotional demands of a sexual relationship.

"He told me the issue of chaperoning was as important as it would be in a heterosexual relationship."

I could tell Charles came out of his room and he wasn't free to talk, so we agreed to end the conversation.

"Mark, anything you need or want us to do just ask. Dana and I are here for you," I said.

We went upstairs to the living room and about twenty minutes later, Sean came out of his room and he sat down in the chair beside us. Dana and I were watching TV and Jake was still in his room.

"Did you get your studying done for tomorrow?" I asked.

"Yah," he said as he sighed.

"Did you want me to ask you any questions to review the material?"

He said he was OK and confident he was prepared. Dana and I could tell by his body language that there was more coming.

"You're not here to watch the movie with us, are you," Dana said as she smiled.

"I just got off Skype with Melissa," he said.

He told us that she had been very angry with him when she found out what he had said to Charles. He hadn't been responding to her texts on Saturday after he got home from the dance-a-thon and she finally called Josh to see if he had heard anything from Sean. Josh had just finished talking to Sean and he was reluctant to say anything, but he finally told her what had happened.

"And is she still angry with you?" Dana asked.

"We're sort of good now," he said, as he let out another sigh.

He said that Melissa had called Charles on the Sunday after he came in from the hospital and he had told her what Sean had done in the game and about the apology.

"I feel really bad that I hurt Charles and Ronald and that so many people were mad at me."

"Have you told Melissa about your past?" Dana asked.

"No!" he blurted out with a look of horror on his face.

We were sure that Melissa's parents hadn't told her about the details of his past and we were pretty sure he hadn't talked to her about specifics. We weren't sure if Josh knew and if he did whether he had said anything to her. We were confident, knowing Josh, that he would use good judgement.

"One of the important things in a good relationship is not to keep secrets," I said.

We told him that at some point, if the relationship continued, he should open up to her. We were confident that she would be mature enough, given what we had seen so far, and that it would strengthen their bond not push her away.

"I don't want to do that," he said as he had calmed down, but still had an anxious look on his face.

"If it's because you think you'd lose her, I don't think that's the case. It's obvious you're not ready yet, but when you are, Dr. Barnet or your Dad and I can help you with the words to use," Dana said.

"Just give it some thought. I think you'd be surprised that it'll be easier than you think," I said as I smiled at him.

He shook his head yes, which was a good sign. He paused for a few moments and we knew he wasn't finished.

"What else did you want to say, Son?" I asked.

He told us he was still having a little trouble accepting a gay relationship and that he kept thinking back to the abuse he suffered from Maury Greeves. He told us that Dr. Barnet had helped him understand that what happened to him and what he was feeling really wasn't connected to the relationship that Charles and Ronald had.

"I want to hang with both of them, because I like them and they're friends, but it still freaks me out thinking of them holding hands or kissing."

I decided that this was a good time to address something that I had let slide in the past.

"You don't have to answer me if you don't want to and I don't want to embarrass you, but what were you feeling when you and Jake were fooling around when you first had sleepovers here?"

He paused and blushed a little as he didn't realize I knew what they had been doing.

"That was different," he said.

"Don't take this the wrong way, Son, but some people would say that was gay behaviour. I never said anything, because a lot of boys your age experiment like you and Jake did."

At the time I was really unsure of how to handle the situation, as I hadn't dealt with sexuality issues with my girls, as Lorraine took care of that. As well, it had been a long time since I had parented a teenager and I was feeling very rusty and really unsure of myself, as I had no one to share the problem with.

"We weren't kissing or anything like... you know," he said as now the blush was getting a deeper red.

"I'm sorry I've taken you out of your comfort zone, Sean. I just want to say that I'm OK with what you did. There are a lot of straight men that did exactly the same thing you and Jake did when they were your age," I said as I gave him a big smile. "I also want to tell you that it wouldn't have mattered to me if you and Jake were gay. I told you that I would love you no matter what and I meant it."

I got up and went over to him and put out my arms. He got up and I gave him a big hug which Dana joined.

"Do you feel a little bit better?" Dana asked.

He gave us a smile and shook his head yes.

We had a practice at 4 p.m. on the Wednesday, even though all the boys were in the middle of writing their exams. Sean and Jake had written two exams that day and their remaining one was in the afternoon on Thursday. Ice time was at a premium and we had to take what we could get. We were going to work on more skill development and body checking. After we had them skate around the ice for ten minutes with the pucks, we did some stops and starts, which was a high-tempo drill that involved the boys skating full speed and stopping when the whistle was blown. They then reversed direction and the process started again. They hated the drill as they were exhausted when we were finished. I was kinder when I ran the drill than Rickie was, as he was merciless.

"How come we have to do this every practice," Sean whined after we were finished, as he gasped for air.

"Because I'm a sadist and I like to see you guys suffer," I said as Mark, Rickie and I laughed. "Maybe I should let Rickie run the drill next time."

"Geez, shut up, Burger. Rickie's a maniac," Pieter blurted out.

All of the boys voiced their approval of Pieter's remark and Rickie gave Pieter a swat on his behind with this stick.

"I'm running the next drill, girls, so let's go to the other end of the ice," Rickie said with a sadistic grin on his face.

Mark and I were staying where we were with Jake and the rest of the team were going with Rickie to work on a contact drill. It was basically armed warfare, where the puck was shot into the corner and two boys raced in after it. The goal was to see who could come out of the corner with the puck. They were confined to a fairly small area near the boards, which meant they had to 'cycle' with the puck, or jostle with each other, until one of the boys got loose.

While we were working with Jake, there was lots of hooting and hollering coming from the other end. I figured the boys would like the drill and it sure sounded as if they were having fun.

We finally finished and went to join the other boys. When we got to the other end Rickie had set up a competition and it was down to the finals with Charles and Pieter left. Despite the size difference, I wasn't surprised that Charles was left as he was a pretty good stick handler and was very adept at manoeuvring in small spaces.

"That's no fair. Pieter's way bigger than I am," Charles started to whine.

"Are you ready, Depew, or are you going to let the big guy win by default?" Rickie said as he got ready to shoot the puck into the corner.

The two of them went at it for about thirty seconds with Pieter trying to pin Charles and take away the puck. Charles was at his evasive best and managed to avoid much of Pieter's attempts to crunch him. In the end, Charles squeaked by Pieter and emerged victorious. Everybody cheered and Rickie held his arm up in the air like they did the winner in a boxing match.

Mark and I were really happy to see Charles smiling and laughing again. I was also very encouraged to see Sean skating beside him as the two of them were having a great discussion as they left the ice.

"I'm glad to see the two boys doing some fence mending," I said to Mark as we gathered up the pucks and other coaching gear.

"I am too. Charles was devastated, not so much by the meaning of Sean's comment, but more for the fact that he thought he would be losing him as a friend," Mark said.

After the practice, we gave out the team jackets and ties we had sized up and ordered for the boys. We wanted them to look good when we played in tournaments and the boys were excited that they would look like a rep team.

We had our first tournament the next weekend in Orangeville, Ontario and I had chartered a bus for all the boys and coaches. I had also reserved rooms in the Best Western for the boys, because it was a two-day tournament that started on the Friday night and ended on Saturday. Orangeville was about two hours away and the Friday game was too late to be driving back to town and then coming back early the next morning. Most of the parents were staying overnight on the Friday and they had booked their own rooms.

"We don't have our team sponsor anywhere on the jacket," Rickie said as he looked at his jacket.

"The sponsor is anonymous," I said as I gave him a big smile.

The jackets were a black Melton with leather sleeves and our team crest on the back. Each boy had his name stitched on the left front, his position on the left arm and his number on the right arm. The tie was also black with grey stripes and the team logo on the bottom with the name of our hockey association.

We collected the parent permission forms from the boys for the trip and everyone except a boy named Brandon brought them. He was a happy kid, but was a 'space cadet' and he told us some garbled story as to why he didn't have it, which made no sense to Mark, Rickie or me.

"Brandon, did you give the letter and permission form to your mother to sign?" I asked.

"I don't know," he replied.

"Who's picking you up after practice?" I asked.

I knew pursuing the conversation any further with him wouldn't go anywhere and that I needed to talk to his mother or the adult coming to get him. Brandon had three older sisters and a single mom, who was the Vice President of Marketing for one of the large banks in Canada. She commuted to Toronto most days as that was where the head office was. Much of the time the sisters drove him to practice or games as the mother's time was very limited. She really tried to be involved with him and was very supportive, but unfortunately because of the situation couldn't give him the attention he really needed.

"I think my sister's coming to get me," he said with that vacant look I got most of the time from him.

He really was a smart kid and a reasonably good hockey player, but was very immature and a real dreamer. As well, because of the female nature of the household he lived in, he was missing the male influence in his upbringing. He was babied at home as there was a very large gap in age between his sisters, who were 26, 22 and 20. The parents had broken up when he was eight years old and despite the fact it was amicable, the father was also a busy person running his financial planning business and didn't get to see Brandon as much as he would like.

Finally the younger sister showed up to get him and I asked her what happened to the permission form.

"We never saw a permission form. Brandon just told us about the tournament and none of us could take him and stay overnight on the Friday," she said.

I told her that didn't matter, as there were a few of the boys whose parents couldn't make it on the Friday night, but were coming up on the Saturday to see the games and take the boys home. I told her they would be well supervised.

"I have a bus chartered for the Friday for all the boys and coaches, that's leaving after it takes us to the morning game on the Saturday. The boys are going home with their parents after the tournament," I said as I pulled out an extra copy of the letter and permission form that we sent home.

She had an exasperated look on her face and asked "Brandon, what did you do with the original?"

He just looked at her with that blank look and shrugged his shoulders.

She quickly read the letter and said, "I'll have my mom sign this and drop it over tonight to your house."

Later that night, his mother dropped over with the permission form.

"I really must apologize for my son. I don't know where his head is sometimes," she said.

We invited her in for a few moments and I told her some of the details that were in the letter we had sent home. She was a little concerned with the overnight stay, as he had never been on a sleepover at another boy's house. I told her that there were two boys in each room, and that we would pair him with a roommate that he was familiar with. She said that she would be able to make the Saturday game, and that maybe his father would be able to come as well.

"His father was the one that got him interested in hockey in the first place. I'm not a real fan of the game, but Brandon likes it and I try to support my son as much as I can," she said as she sighed.

Dana said that she could sit with her at the games, as she was closer in age to us than she was to most of the other parents.

By now the boys had joined me in the hall as well as Dana. She then went on and told us that he didn't have a white shirt, which is something we were insisting the boys wear and wouldn't have the time before the game to take him shopping.

"He could go with us to the mall next week after school," Sean said with a big smile as he looked at me. It was news to me that we were going, but I returned his smile, as I was getting used to the unscheduled trips with the boys.

She was a little reluctant, but she was glad that Sean and Jake wanted to spend time with him as he didn't have a lot of friends.

"We had meant to take him shopping a couple of weeks ago, but we all got too busy and put it off," she said.

"My son, the fashion consultant, would be glad to help him pick out some things," I said as I patted Sean on the back.

We told her rather than sending cash, to give Brandon her debit card.

"He's never used one," she said.

"I'm sure my boys can show him how they work," I said as Dana and I chuckled. "Just send a list of things he needs and the boys will take care of the rest."

After she left, Jake said, "He really needs a lot of stuff. His mom dresses him like a little kid."

"The kids at school sometimes tease him about it," Sean said.

I was really proud that the two of them were willing to take him under their wings and help him out. As well, I thought this was a good time to show them the room pairings that Rickie, Mark and I came up with earlier in the evening. We had Jake and Sean together and Charles and Pieter were in a room. I showed the boys the rest of the pairings that we had come up with, to see if they thought what we had would work.

"Can Charles and I room together?" Sean asked after Jake and he had looked at the sheet.

"Are you sure?" I asked.

"Yah. I asked Charles after practice and he's Ok with it," he said with a smile.

I was very proud of this turn of events and put my arm around him and gave him a squeeze. He had certainly come a long way over the last few days.

"Ray and I want to room together and maybe we should put Bandon with Pieter," Jake said.

I thought that was a great idea, as Pieter was fairly mature for his age and would look out for Brandon.

Between studying and writing their exams, the boys were packing and getting excited about our male bonding weekend away in California to play Golf. This was the present they had given me for my birthday.

"Boys, I know you've thought of everything, but just to be sure, why don't we go over the arrangements," I said at dinner on Thursday.

We wanted to check everything as they had already made a mistake that Marty helped them correct after the birthday party. He pointed out that it would've been impossible to play Pebble Beach one day and drive to Torrey Pines the next day. He helped them rebook the second day on the Spy Glass Hill course, one of the three golf courses in the Pebble Beach complex.

They told me we were leaving from Pearson Airport in Toronto at 9:00 a.m. on the Friday, as they would be finished their exams. We were arriving at the San Jose International Airport in the early afternoon and then driving to the Lodge at Pebble Beach, where we were staying for the two nights.

"And are we picking up a van or an SUV at the airport to drive to the hotel?" I asked.

There was a very long pause as the two of them looked at each other with looks of panic. Dana put her hand over her mouth to stifle her laugh.

"How about if I go online and see what I can do, boys. I think an SUV would be a good choice, don't you?" I said as I smiled.

On Friday morning Dana drove us to Pearson in time to get checked in and go through security to get on the flight. The boys had booked enhanced Economy, which had fewer seats and more leg room that the regular Economy. The flight was uneventful, with a stopover in Denver and we arrived in San Jose at 1:30 in the afternoon. After we picked up the Lincoln Navigator that I had rented, we were on our way to Pebble Beach.

We arrived at the Lodge at Pebble Beach and went to the front desk to check-in. Sean came forward when it was our turn and announced his name, since he took care of booking the hotel.

"When your grandfather gives us his credit card information, son, we can get the three of you checked in," the clerk said as he gave Sean a big smile.

When Sean finally figured out what was going on, he was a little perturbed.

"I'm Sean Burger, and here's my credit card," he said as he pulled his Visa from his wallet. "And that's my father."

The clerk was embarrassed and apologized profusely. I just smiled and told him it was an honest mistake.

We had a great room that had a king-sized bed for the boys and a queen-sized for me.

"Look at the fridge and snack bar. It's got some great stuff," Jake said as the two of them looked at the junk food and pop.

"We're going out for dinner soon, boys, so don't get any ideas about loading up on that stuff. We can stop at a convenience store on the way back and get some semi-nutritious stuff," I said as I closed the fridge door.

We had dinner in the Stillwater Bar & Grill on premises and stopped at a convenience store to get some snacks and then came back to the room. We were pretty tired from the trip and we had a 9 a.m. tee time the next morning at the Pebble Beach course, so we turned in shortly afterwards.

The next morning we were up early and had breakfast and drove over to the course. We were there early enough to shop in the pro shop. The US Open was being played on the course again the next June and they had lots of souvenirs. The boys had to have a hat and I bought them each a shirt. Jake took care of getting us set up for the round and once again he ran into the same problem Sean did in the hotel the day before as the assistant pro thought I was Jake DiStefano, their grandfather. He apologized and was very respectful to Jake as he got us checked in.

The boys were in awe of the surroundings and the fact that they were going to be playing on one of the most famous courses in the world. We were joined by an older gentleman named Ted and the two of us were riding together while Sean and Jake rode in the other cart. Ted was from Texas and he was in San Jose visiting his CASA child, who was in the process of being adopted.

After I explained that the boys were my sons, not my grandsons, he said with a big smile, "I admire your resolve. That's a quite a commitment to make at your age."

"I never had grey hair before I adopted them," I said as the two of us laughed.

"Now remember to relax and just play your game," I said to the boys as we got out of the carts at the first tee.

We had a very relaxed an enjoyable game, as the four of us got along very well. Ted loved being with the boys and joined in on the considerable trash talking during the round. He was also very patient as Jake told him about our life back in Canada in detail, as well the fact that this was my birthday present from the boys.

"Well, I feel I know you three very well," he said with a big smile, as he came back to the cart after Jake had regaled him once again when we had finished the 14th hole.

"As you can see, Jake is not the shy and retiring type," I said as we laughed.

When we got to the famous 18th hole, I could tell the boys had been cooking up something. We got onto the tee box and they were hanging back talking softly to each other. Finally they came over with big smiles on their faces.

"How about we have a small bet on this hole," Jake said.

"Yeah, if either one of us beat your score on this hole, we get to have coke and any junk food we want for the rest of the trip," Sean said with a big smile. Ted and I laughed, and I agreed.

"This sounds familiar, though. Didn't you guys pull this on me in Ireland?" I said as I laughed.

Just before I was to hit my drive, Jake said, "Oh yeah, I forgot. We each get a stroke."

Unfortunately for me, the two of them had some great shots and both of them had a bogey six. I had ended up in the sand trap in front of the green and couldn't get close enough to the hole as I blasted out and ended up with a bogey as well, but because I gave them each a stroke, they beat me.

"Uumm. We're going to have a big Coke with lots of ice for lunch," Sean said as the two of them were laughing away after I missed my par putt.

We all took our hats off and shook hands on the 18th green. Ted then took our camera and snapped a picture of the three of us standing around the flag.

"You boys remember to be respectful to your dad when you start beating the stuffing out of him on the golf course," he said as we all laughed.

As we were going to the cart, he said, "I really enjoyed this round. Those are two fine young men, Al and I'm sure they'll bring you many moments of pride and happiness."

We said goodbye to Ted in the pro shop as he had a plane to catch to go back to Texas and couldn't join us for lunch. As we were going into the restaurant, I thought I would enlighten the boys on what they were about to drink.

"Boys I just want to tell you a couple of things about Coke, not that I'm meaning to spoil your enjoyment of it," I said with a devilish grin.

I told them that I used to clean my car battery terminals by pouring a can of Coca-Cola over them to bubble away the corrosion.

It didn't have any effect, as they gleefully guzzled down a couple of Cokes for lunch. After we had finished I had a surprise for the boys that I didn't tell them about beforehand. I decided it was time to let them in on our evening's activities.

"Boys, there's a reason I told you to bring your hockey team jackets on the trip. You always want to be appropriately dressed for the occasion," I said as I gave them a big smile.

I then told them we were on our way to San Jose to see the Sharks hockey team play the Anaheim Ducks. They were thrilled.

The boys were as proud as punch as we entered the HP Pavilion, the home of the San Jose Sharks. They got some looks as people noticed their hockey jackets. It was a great game and it was a treat to watch a real hockey team, rather than the Leafs, for a change. The boys were in their glory as they had some more Cokes, nachos with cheese and a large salty pretzel.

At one point Jake let out a loud belch after he had finished his second Coke.

"Oops! That was an accident," he said as the two of them laughed. Not to be outdone, Sean joined him in an equally loud offering.

I had the last laugh, as during the next period they were up twice to go to the bathroom, missing some of the action.

"Too bad you boys missed that last goal," I said, as I smiled as they came back from the washroom.

The next day we were on the Spy Glass Hill course early and had another fun round. Like the day before, we all were about 5 strokes above what we normally played back home. It didn't matter though, as we all enjoyed the experience and spending the time together. After playing 36 holes on two tough golf courses in the span of two days I had stiffness in my back and was dead tired. Despite that I felt great, because my boys and I had been together.

"I want to thank you two for a wonderful birthday present... and for being such great sons," I said as I put my arms around both of them.

The flight back was uneventful and quiet, as we were all tired. We touched down at Pearson airport and Dana was waiting to pick us up.

"Well you guys look like you had a great time," Dana said as we piled into the RDX.

Sean and I were reasonably quiet on the way home as we were both tired, but contented. Jake however got his second wind and had to tell Dana every detail about the weekend. Dana glanced over at me at one point and we smiled at each other, as we were driving away from the airport.

When the boys came in the door from the school bus on Monday, it was obvious Jake wasn't a happy camper.

Pebble Beach

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