I was 45 and visiting my relatives for a week in my hometown of Jacksonville, FL, during the spring of 1986. It was a trip to take a step back for a few days from a difficult marriage back in MIchigan. I wanted to sit on the beach of my childhood to contemplate and to gather my thoughts, the place I could pray and speak to the LORD about things. I was physically and emotionally drained.
My mother and my aunt and I were at Strickland's Seafood Restaurant in Mayport for lunch one of the days, and as I was standing at the lobster bar selecting appetizers to take back to our table, my back was to the person who was doing a little skip-skip-skip from behind me and swinging up and around to my other side and perching with his elbow on the bar looking right into my face with a smile as bright as the sun. He was a presence. It was Arnold Palmer!! His countenance and his tremendous magnetism made my day that day and made my whole trip. He has done something great for my soul to last me for the rest of my life and I will cherish forever the greatest modern American person there has ever been or will ever be.
I remember Arnie from the newspapers and television and his ,many, many commercials for so many great American products back in the late fifties and sixties. I wanted everything he promoted. He was America. America loved Arnie. And America loves Arnie, present and future tense.
We had been wondering often about Arnie after Augusta last year and had been wondering aloud several times recently if perhaps we would be losing him soon. We did not want that day to come.
And then, we were driving on MacArthur Blvd in Newport Beach getting close to home when we heard on the radio that Arnie had just passed away, and we have been glued to The Golf Channel 24 hours a day since Sunday, Sept. 25th. Thank you, Golf Channel, for the classy golf channel you are. Never lose what you have now. Please keep Arnie proud of you. We know you will.
Thank you for the singing of "America The Beautiful" and for Vince Gill's singing of his song for Arnie at the public memorial service in Latrobe this day, Oct. 4th.
God bless all the work you do. I will keep remembering to pray for you.
Newport Coast, CA 92657