Otto Bare was a nice old man. So was his wife Hilda. She made delicious cakes.

Otto was a little peculiar in that he had wonderful eyesight when seeing things far away. I remember once we were out playing golf and I remarked about a herd of cows in the field beyond the course and he said they were being bothered by flies. He could even tell the sex of the flies from that distance. I doubt I could do that if the fly was inches away from me.

But seeing things very close was difficult for Otto. He needed thick glasses for that. He lifted the glasses on top of his forehead to see far away, and brought them down for reading and seeing close. A bit of a Mr Magoo in reverse.

I don’t play golf. I am bad at it. But Otto insisted we go out to his club. I followed him sheepishly whilst he played rather well.

At one point we were near the river. There were some ducks with their young. Some were very young; still covered in their yellow fluff rather than feathers.

With his glasses above his head Otto looked for his yellow golf ball. Some of the ducks moved away, but a little baby duckling, all lovely and yellow, sat there on the grass unperturbed by his approach.

He lifted his golf club in the air, swung it down at great speed and sent the baby duckling hurtling through the air in a rainbow trajectory. Up it went in a big arc only to land what seemed miles away.

Because he did not have his glasses on, Otto looked in the distance and said, “Hole in one!”

I was flabbergasted to see that poor duckling one minute sunning itself quietly on the grass and the next being whacked so hard as a golf ball to land a million miles away.

Otto put his golf club in the bag and walked towards the green.

I mumbled, “Otto … that was … that was … a little birdie!”

“No it wasn’t …” he declared, “it was a hole in one. Known as an ace in America I believe. Unlike your attempt at golf … a hole in about 300 hits!”

I said nothing until we approached the hole. He put his hand in and pulled out a totally dead baby duckling.

“Ha ha ha …” he laughed, “now that IS a birdie! Has been dead for a while judging by it being half-eaten by maggots. Now … where in damnation is my golf ball?”

Praise the Lord

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