Today, October 16th is my Grandpa, Neal Turner's birthday.
My Grandpa Neal passed away in November of 1980, just after I turned 15 and shortly after he turned 75.
We were close.
Right before or right as I was starting school, my mom went back to finish her college degree. I spent a lot of time with my Grandpa.
It was great.
Grandpa knew sports.
I liked sports.
We had a winning combination.
Grandpa would take me and my brothers to a golf driving range....SMITTY'S. I always wondered when we went, why did Grandpa get the bucket of balls that looked new, when we got the bucket of "has been" range balls?
Grandpa was like the "Norm of Cheers" at Smitty's. First named basis with Smitty himself! "Hey Smitty!" "How ya doin Neal?"
So many memories that there isn't enough space here in the BEST YEAR YET blog to write them all.
I love pancakes....because of Grandpa Neal. He made them the best (sorry Mom and Chris).
I loved HIS chocolate cake with 7 minute frosting (sorry Mom and Chris...yours is good, but just not quite like Grandpa's).
Every year at Christmas, he would get my brother and me a joint subscription to "The Sporting News."
He taught me how to respect the game of golf. One of my favorite stories, which I use to this day when talking to successful business leaders about the importance of coaching:
- I must have been around 8 or 9. We had moved away from Lincoln to Plano, Texas. We were back in Lincoln for an event and I was at my Grandparents home in Lincoln. I was doing what any 8-9 year old would do and was making noise in the living room. Grandpa had his eyes glued to the golf tournament on TV. As I was making noise, Grandpa "shussed" me. "Tim...shhhh...Jack's putting." I'm thinking, "Jack can't hear me!" This started my appreciation for the game that carried well after Grandpa left us.
- Fast forward to 2006. I love the Master's Golf Tournament and make plans, each year, to watch it...especially the final round. Well in 2006, it was the 20th anniversary of Jack Nicklaus winning the Master's at the age of 46. I was watching one of those "look back" shows that highlighted Jack's historic win. People thought he was washed up and was done. Leading up to that tournament, Jack wasn't playing real well. He was having a hard time hitting his tee shot straight. His son Jack, as his caddie at the time and he noticed that his dad was not doing a normal routine he had done for years when teeing up his ball. Jack told his son that he was right.....he made the change, started to hit his drive straight and the rest is, well, you know, history.
- The point is, even the best, need a coach.
- If not for Grandpa, I might not have learned that lesson some 30 + years later.
Grandpa always said "Tim is to have my ring." What better time than Christmas for you to get it. It was given to him by Bill Stessman, one of his very best and loved friends. Always take care of it, Tim, as it was Grandpa's favorite."
Man, I remember opening this up, that day, almost 37 years ago, and trying to read the card through my tears. Man, I missed my Grandpa....and still do.
So, today, I remember him and his legacy.
As I continue to journey through my BEST YEAR YET, I think I'll make it a point to be a NEAL TURNER and even a Bill Stessman!