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GUEST COLUMN: I am just like him

Deck Cheatham

Deck Cheatham has been a golf professional for more than 40 years. He lives with his family in Dalton.

“Therefore, we will not fear, even though the earth be removed and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea,” (Psalm 46:2).

I looked at him. My eyes scanned his ineptitude, his apparent inability to muster any human norm. His un-coordination was evident, his fashion awkward, his hygiene unimportant, I peered at my friend and in my silent conversation observing obvious differences from me all that surfaced within was — “I’m glad I am not like him.”

Low points are often pedestrian and sins can be cloistered in silence. I buried the encounter and moved on.

And then I am reminded, perspective is limited by what we know and believe. What we know is framed by experience, memory, impression. Youth is such an assurance, a confidence based on nothing but inexperi-ence doubt delayed. The young have only to surrender to the seasons of giving up and taking on. They have only to relinquish the giving and tak-ing our shallow desires demand. Fear is a quiet companion.

The seasons in the Midlands were subtle transitions. The South Carolina sandhills lie still like a close summer day, windless amid the loblollies and Spanish moss. Sandhill summers are oppressive, leaning on one’s civility and olfactory stamina. Fall arrives and winter follows with hardly a pre-amble except for an abatement in the oppression and the longleaf’s reluc-tance. Spring taps the natives on their shoulders, reminding them anoth-er summer comes.

Northwest Georgia seasons are different than the sandhills. Here, they are more defined like tides and moon phases, pronounced by tree buds and solstices and woolly worms. One can hear a north wind whistle through this piedmont. The maples relinquish their leaves on time, signal-ing that old trickster winter is lurking behind the autumn hue. The locals notice when the hornets hang low.

The good book says faith moves mountains. I have never seen a moun-tain move but I have sensed the season change in my silent conversations. I’ve noticed a little less self-assurance in them, a little more acceptance, too. The giving up and taking on are less subtle, more pronounced. Some mountains move geologically. A season demands its particulars.

I was piddling the other day, moving slowly, procrastinating and search-ing for motivation. I had a chore to do. There was a bookshelf to put to-gether, a kit. Opening the box confusion set in. Acquiescing to the instruc-tions I began. Step one — make sure the parts are there and the tools, especially a hammer, always a hammer. Starting, my ineptitude surfaced. I thought, isn’t it easier to buy ready-made bookshelves? I muddled for-ward.

I’m not inclined to cuss until I realize some factory worker packs boxes with a smirk. Or I hit myself using a hammer. Rudimentary and clumsy know no norm. And then, I thought about my friend and realized — “I am just like him.”

My season changed.

“Those who have ears to hear, let them hear” (Matthew 11:15).

Deck Cheatham has been a golf professional for more than 40 years. He lives with his family in Dalton. Contact him at