It's a Friday, February 15. Get home at 5:15. Check the mail. A bill. Some junk mail. A large manila envelope. Nothing outstanding, so I go and change my clothes, grab a beverage, and sit to sort through it. I evidently can purchase a new mattress, no strings attached, that will change how I sleep forever. I owe Verizon something, including the bogus taxes and fees they tack on. I have a large envelope from Golf Digest with a hand written address to me. Wait. What? I don't have a GD subscription. Did I renew over Christmas? Did someone give me a gift subscription? Did I get one for attending a golf show? I'm confused. Why is it hand written? What is this? Inside is a letter addressed to me, dated yesterday. With RE: Rounds Around the World : Scotland/Ireland. Ok...time to read some more. "Congratulations! You have been selected as the winner, pending verification, of the Rounds Around the World: Scotland/Ireland sweepstakes." What??!!! Me?! Really?! Holy...
So I read it again. I stand up. I read it one more time. My wife is on the phone with her mom and I'm inching towards her. I tell her to get off the phone. She ignores me and keeps talking. I tell her to get off the phone. She halfway waves me off. No, I'm throwing the fastball here. Get off the phone. "Wait a minute mom, Brent is trying to tell me something..." "GET OFF THE PHONE. WE'RE GOING TO SCOTLAND AND IRELAND!" "Yeah, Mom, I gotta go." Click.
My heart is racing. My mind is running. I'm floating. I didn't even read past the first paragraph. She takes the letter and reads it. I take a huge drink and try to ensure the dogs that I'm not mad at them. On the second page, there is a contact name and number. Time to call. Of course, it's after 5pm on a Holiday weekend Friday. Didn't expect an answer, but it was worth a shot. Didn't get a live person, just left a voice mail. Hopefully she'll call me back. Soon. Hopefully. Because I will NOT be sleeping.
The trip is for two people. A golf trip, including airfare, hotel room, greens fees, a meal here and there. I'm going to be playing The Old Course. And Ballybunion. And Kingsbarns. I'm going to be in the Old Grey Toon. And Ireland. With my wife! We got married on St Patrick's Day. We attend and set up as a vendor at Celtic festivals. We both have heritage in both Scotland and Ireland. Not much, but enough. This can't be real. Only hiccup: she doesn't play golf. No, it's not worth her learning just for this trip. We'll just have to figure it out.
Inside the package was a few things that needed to be filled out by myself and travel companion. As part of this was a form that needed to be notarized and returned within 5 days. Business days or straight days? Monday is a President's Day. Sunday, no mail. And getting a notary at 5:30 on a Friday? Wait, the Banks have notaries on staff. We will just have to go get the forms filled out and sent back certified mail on Saturday. If things get wonky, I'm only out $5 or so. Time to google the courses, towns, weather, whisky, beer, weather, courses, weather.
It's finally Tuesday at lunchtime. My phone rings. It's the letter writer from Golf Digest/Conde Naste. She politely introduces herself and I tell her about receiving the letter.
"I just have a few questions. Is this real?!"
"Um, yeah, it's real."
"Ok, good. Am I the only one? It says pending further verification in the letter."
"Yes, you are the only one. The further verification includes the forms that we sent. When you get a chance, just return them to us completed."
"They are on their way to you right now and should be delivered by 2. One last question. I want to take my wife, but she doesn't golf. That won't be a problem will it?"
"Not at all. That's fine. Any other questions?"
"Um, no. I'm going to Scotland and Ireland!"