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?