Way, way back when, when yours truly was a lowly student worker with the City of Coronado, I spent the summer of ‘76 sweating away as a golf course maintenance man, er, person, working for Superintendent Hank Vavak, a wonderfully jovial gent, large and in charge at good ol’ Coronado Muni, where I manned the mighty Toro twin-blade riding mower, bouncing and bopping between the fairways, ripping through the rough.

Our Toro rough-mower was fittingly fitted with a cage-like enclosure to shield the operator (...moi) from wayward tee-shots including ridiculous duck-hooks and garden-variety slices.  «Fore!»

I quickly learned to control “El Toro,” easily getting the hang of the powerful contraption, whipping around the myriad tree trunks without doing too much damage via nicks and cuts, all the while trying my level best not to miss a spot of rough. No biggie. No biggie, that is, until I tried to whip El Toro around a newly-transplanted, slender-trunked, baby oleander shrub doing its darnedest to grow up big and tall in the rough between the fourteenth and sixteenth fairways. Sadly, as I made a poorly-negotiated turn about its trunk, I cut my turn too closely, pun very much intended, mowing  down the poor little sapling in one fell swoop. Oops. Oh, the arbor-cide, you tree-killer, you!

I immediately made a bee-line for home base, mowing my way back to the maintenance shed located along the sixth fairway, where I dismounted from El Toro and marched straight into the boss’s office to confess my transgression and face the music. Mortified I was! (...was that Yoda?) What did I say by way of explanation? Where did I begin?  I began by telling my boss, “Mr. Vavak, I cannot tell a lie,” channeling my inner George Washington of cherry-tree felling fame.  Thankfully, Hank just laughed heartily at my obvious discomfort, knowing my faux pas would never happen again.  

Whew. Thanks, Hank.

VOL. 113, NO. 3 - Jan. 18, 2023

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