Mulligans and Do-overs

Things I’d Like Another Chance At

By Jeff Salter

Well, in golf, a Mulligan is when you make a really rotten shot and are allowed to take it over (with no penalty). Of course, it was NOT allowed in official scoring, but with informal play you usually were allowed one do-over per round. When I still played golf, I often needed a Mulligan per round… and took it.

So, besides errant golf shots, what other aspects of my life could use a Mulligan every round or so?

I’ve certainly made my share of mistakes… and exhibited more than my share of poor judgment and bad behavior. Not sure how to characterize those – most having occurred during my impetuous youth – but they aren’t so much things I wish I could do-over as they were things I should never have done… period.

So I guess the angle I’ll pursue here is: “What might I have done in certain cases if I had not been limited by fears, time, or lack of resources?”

Flying Into a Hurricane

After my active duty Air Force hitch, when I was stationed with the 920th Weather Reconnaissance Group of the AF Reserve (Keesler AFB, MS), one of our unit’s missions was to fly into hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico. We had a few WC-130 aircraft, which were old even back then. They’re more commonly known as C-130s in their cargo roles, but ours were specially modified for this type mission.

I worked in that unit’s Information Office and was (one day) given the opportunity to accompany one of their missions. I no longer remember the name of that specific hurricane, or if it had even developed into one at that point. I knew they flew into a particular quadrant of the formation, took their readings, and then flew out a particular quadrant (possibly the same one they entered).

About six years earlier, I had witnessed the effects of Hurricane Camille even though we were about 90 miles away from Biloxi, which was devastated. So, while considering this opportunity – and they had to know right away if I was going – I declined. Basically, I was scared. Missed the plane ride of a lifetime… mostly because I was afraid.

If I had a do-over, I hope I would go on that mission.

Missed the Temptations

During my freshman year at Mercer University (Macon GA) in 1968-69, I experienced a lot of entertainers, speakers, and popular bands. Right on campus, free of charge for students. But one evening that I did NOT attend was when the Temptations performed.

I already knew their Motown music, and liked a good bit of it. It’s a bit of mystery, these 46 years later, why I couldn’t be bothered. Guess I just didn’t feel like dealing with the crowded auditorium and the jostle of the other students. Or, maybe I was just too tired and took a nap instead. Really don’t remember anymore. But I missed a heck of a show. The next day the students chattered excitedly about how entertaining the group had been.

If I had a do-over, I would go to see the Temptations.

No Gas, No Money, No Travel

For about eight months during 1973-74, I was stationed at McClellan AFB (Sacramento CA). We were a young family at that point, with a toddler. Folks, when I say we had to rub our pennies together before we spent them, I’m not exaggerating. Three of us living in California on about $670 per month was very difficult — the money always ran out before the month did.

Within a day’s drive of Sacramento were numerous national parks that my wife wanted to visit. I would have liked to see them as well, but everything cost money… money we didn’t have. To top it off, there was an OPEC oil embargo and national cut-back on gasoline consumption (among other conservation issues). In many states, including ours, gas was rationed: you could only gas up on either even days or odd days (depending on the numbers of your license plate). I think there was also a limit how many gallons you could purchase. Long lines to fill up, no matter which station you used or what time of day you went.

In California, Governor Ronald Reagan also closed all the gas stations from noon on Saturdays until early morning on Mondays. That was specifically to restrict recreational travel — and it worked. We could only go as far as we were certain we could get back on that same tank. Not to mention that we couldn’t afford to remain anywhere overnight.

If I had a do-over, I would possess more resources (dollars and gasoline) and take my wife to those places she wanted to see.


What about you? For what events (or opportunities) in your life would you wish to have a Mulligan?


About Jeff Salter

Currently writing romantic comedy, screwball comedy, and romantic suspense. Fourteen completed novels and four completed novellas. Working with three royalty publishers: Clean Reads, Dingbat Publishing, & TouchPoint Press/Romance. "Cowboy Out of Time" -- Apr. 2019 /// "Double Down Trouble" -- June 2018 /// "Not Easy Being Android" -- Feb. 2018 /// "Size Matters" -- Oct. 2016 /// "The Duchess of Earl" -- Jul. 2016 /// "Stuck on Cloud Eight" -- Nov. 2015 /// "Pleased to Meet Me" (novella) -- Oct. 2015 /// "One Simple Favor" (novella) -- May 2015 /// "The Ghostess & MISTER Muir" -- Oct. 2014 /// "Scratching the Seven-Month Itch" -- Sept. 2014 /// "Hid Wounded Reb" -- Aug. 2014 /// "Don't Bet On It" (novella) -- April 2014 /// "Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold -- Dec. 2013 /// "Echo Taps" (novella) -- June 2013 /// "Called To Arms Again" -- (a tribute to the greatest generation) -- May 2013 /// "Rescued By That New Guy in Town" -- Oct. 2012 /// "The Overnighter's Secrets" -- May 2012 /// Co-authored two non-fiction books about librarianship (with a royalty publisher), a chapter in another book, and an article in a specialty encyclopedia. Plus several library-related articles and reviews. Also published some 120 poems, about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos. Worked about 30 years in librarianship. Formerly newspaper editor and photo-journalist. Decorated veteran of U.S. Air Force (including a remote ‘tour’ of duty in the Arctic … at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland). Married; father of two; grandfather of six.
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18 Responses to Mulligans and Do-overs

  1. Patricia Kiyono says:

    I’m not sure I’d want to fly into a hurricane, and I certainly understand opportunities missed because of lack of resources, especially money. But giving up a chance to see the Temptations??!! Oh my. I’d be slapping myself silly if I missed out on that.
    During the summer of 2005 I went to London with my daughter’s theater class. It was a free day and I was sitting in a theater lobby resting (and waiting for some students who were out shopping) when a man came scurrying through the lobby. A woman followed him and badgered him for his autograph. He gave it and took off. If I hadn’t been glued to my seat I might have been there right behind the woman, getting Colin Farrell’s autograph!


    • jeff7salter says:

      When spotting celebrities, I’m more like you in that example — I don’t think it’s right to pester them. But I have been known to say hi, wave, call their name, or even shake their hands… but without impeding their progress.


  2. I can see why you would want to see The Temptations and go visit the parks. I didn’t know that gas was ever rationed. I have never heard anyone talk of that before. I find that interesting.
    You are pretty brave to want to go back to fly into a hurricane.


  3. jeff7salter says:

    The rationing was due to a big Oil Embargo during 73-74 (don’t recall the exact period). Calif. may have reacted more stringently than other states, but it was my impression it was all over. The OPEC had raised prices so high that our government refused to buy any from them. OR, I may have it backwards: maybe they refused to sell to us because we wouldn’t pay their prices. Either way, it created a LOT of anxiety for me, especially if I had to do anything more than commute to the base for my duty.


  4. Jeanne says:

    I have never visited England or Scotland, where my dad’s family lived. I probably could have done it during the two and a half years I was stationed in Germany, but it never seemed like I had both time and money at the same time. If I had the money, I was working, and if I was on leave, I was broke. Yes, I know leave was paid, but it never seemed like enough. If somewhere wasn’t close enough to drive, I didn’t go, although I did take a bus tour of Bavarian castles, since from the moment I found out I was going to Germany, I swore to myself that if I never did anything else while I was there, I WAS going to see Neuschwanstein Castle. Ludwig’s other castles were nice, and Linderhoff was okay (a bit too gaudy for my taste) but they all paled in comparison in my mind to the pinnacle of Neuschwanstein, which of course, was last on the list. I had been fascinated with that castle ever since the first time I saw pictures of it, and had always wanted to go there, and I have the Air Force to thank for giving me that opportunity.


  5. Kim Marcum says:

    I had the opportunity to join the Army during nursing school as an E3. I didn’t do it because my eldest daughter was just 7 at the time and I couldn’t stand the thought of not being with her. If I had a do-over I would have joined because I know now that you CAN be in the military and still have a happy family life. Wish I would’ve realized that earlier!! we could have traveled and done all sorts of cool things.

    And another do-over would have been to continue in school until I had my ARNP, or my CRNA. Leaning more towards the CRNA because I so loved watching surgery!!


    • jeff7salter says:

      I don’t know much about the military these days, but in times past, it was very good for people in specialized careers, like medical fields.
      And, yes, you surely would have been able to travel!


  6. Flying into the eye of a hurricane would be a phenomenal experience…and a very brave one. It would be a hard decision for anyone but a real dare devil, a test-pilot mentality.


    • jeff7salter says:

      once in a lifetime — for anyone but a Hurricane Hunter crewman.
      I’ve often wished I’d had the nerve to go with them that day.


    • Jeanne says:

      I probably would have done it! I used to be quite a thrill-seeker myself, which is kind of why I used to get myself into trouble. They’ve never managed to build a roller coaster yet that I would refuse to try! The bigger, taller and faster, the better, IMO.


  7. jbrayweber says:

    I’m not sure if I would fly into a hurricane. Maybe. Yeah, maybe. It’s just I’m afraid of heights, not hurricanes.

    There will always be shoulda, coulda, woulda’s. But to alter any choice we had made in the past would mean we wouldn’t be right where we are in the present. Still, I wonder what would have happened if I’d gone to Florida with a guy I was crazy in love with instead of going to trade school. Or what would have happened had I chose the college my parents wanted to send me to instead of that trade school.

    This question is too deep for me. 🙂


    • jeff7salter says:

      yeah, it’s a real mind bender.
      I often wonder how my life would have differed if I’d gone to college at Auburn instead of Mercer. And if I’d entered the Army instead of the Air Force. Or if I had dodged the draft altogether? And what if I’d not married before Basic Training?
      Boggles the brain.


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