Remembrance Day

Many people are lucky to know one father, while I had two.  My second one was Golly Cousins and although I’d known him all my life, he didn’t become official until about the time I started Huntsville High.  My first memory of Golly was him teaching me words to a funny song (he knew many) while we were sorting my collection of used balls.  I had the used ball concession at the Downs from the age of four, Golly taught me the difference between Spaulding Dots and Dunlop Buttercups (dots are a quarter, others are 10 cents).  Not sure where I put all the coins, probably still buried in my fort behind #9 green.

Prior to “the war” Golly had been a pro hockey player from the age of 12 (“Orillia Terriers was the team, they gave us all jobs and that’s where I learned to cook, Sloan’s restaurant”).  He also played baseball from a young age, and in his later years was an OHL Referee.   And he had been a soldier.  He didn’t like talking about the war with anyone who hadn’t been there, but he did share a few experiences.  He landed on D-Day, June 6, 1944.  “Never fired a shot from that day until the end of the war.  My ammo pouches were full of Hershey bars and tea bags.”  His division (3rd Park Field Engineers I think) were near the first to land as they had to go ahead and post signs for the rest to follow.

One Christmas I gave Golly a book about the Canadian Army in WWII.  The first picture we came across brought some tears – it was of a group of soldiers wading ashore with bikes held high.  “Probably a picture of us as I think we were the only ones with bikes and I remember that one big house”.  But further into the book we found a picture of a signpost that Golly could remember painting.  I don’t think he ever opened the book again unless I was with him.

Golly’s best memories of “the War”.  While preparing for D-Day he went to Sunningdale Golf Club to see if he could play.  They said sure, but ‘ first you have to go looking for balls as we don’t have any due to the war effort”.  Golly found a ball, played 18 holes and returned the ball to the golf shop.  “They even lent me 4 left handed clubs” he recalled.  And he fell in love with Holland and it’s people.  “In Nymegin I painted thousands of shoes with army yellow sign paint.  Every kid had shoes with Canada on the side!”  My sister Valerie has made trips to Nymegin, looking for Hanky Crist and his yellow shoes.

One of my best memories of Golly was in 1976 when I asked him to join a team from Bayview for the World Pro Am at Pebble Beach.  As it was our second team and only one is allowed per club, we named the team Big Cedar Hack and Hunt Club with a Jarvis Street address.  The team from the National loved it!   One night as Golly’s team sat looking out over Carmel Bay from the XIXth Hole Restaurant, he turned to the Leon brothers and said “You know if I couldn’t live in Huntsville I think I’d like to live here”.   This was his first and only trip to the United States.

Golly’s biggest disppointment came the day he arrived back in Huntsville after the war.  He walked from the train station to his home at the east end of town, and nobody said a thing.  He’d waited three years to get home, and no one met him! 

Golly I miss you, and all the others who didn’t come back!  LEST WE FORGET !  I’m glad it’s now a Holiday, lets use it to remember.

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Gary Slatter

Venerable Canadian golf pro Gary Slatter discusses his opinions on the state of golf, golf course design and construction, teaching and more, based on a lifetime in the business.

2 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Hi Uncle Pro – I miss Golly too! He told me three WWII stories.

    The best had him crawling through a wheat field at night with red tracer fire streaking overhead, when he encountered what he assumed was a German soilder who as it turned out was also wondering “what the hell am I doing here”. After a long dramatic pause, both parties opted for a change of direction never to meet again.

    I have seem that picture of soilders wading ashore with bicycles held high. So Golly was one of those soilders! I am proud to tell others about the contribution of Canada in WWII and in particular Golly’s contribution.

    Here Here to Grampa Golly!

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