“You go get my club and ball. I’ll be at the golf course, okay dad,” said my three-year-old son, before darting without an answer toward the greens. He can’t contain his excitement. Finally it’s warm enough to hit the putt-putt course. And there’s still 15 free minutes before daycare starts.
What better way to start a day? Golf, grits and grins. A father-son breakfast, High Country style.
We’re at what my boy refers to it as “the Pancake Store.” It’s a restaurant in Boone off Highway 105. He calls it the Pancake Store because that’s what he usually gets to eat, a pancake. Though when the mood hits he’s partial to a half order of biscuits and gravy. Gotta raise ’em right!
We don’t go often. Maybe one or two times a month. The tradition started with my daughter, now 5. Prior to her going to kindergarten – and when the boy hadn’t yet started daycare – it was just she and I who would occasionally nab some pancakes. On one of our first visits, the waitress brought my daughter a special treat – a Mickey Mouse pancake. On the house! I’ve been a faithful customer ever since.
There’s more than food. The Pancake Store has an adjoining miniature golf course, plus an arcade. There’s skeeball, basketball, shoot ’em ups, race car games and an air hockey table. And there’s all operational at 7. After breakfast during the winter this is the room we while away the minutes before day care (8:15 a.m. sharp). This past snow season the boy got pretty good with his air hockey defense. His shot selection needs some work, and he tends to clench his fingers on the rail. But give him a couple years and he’ll be a grizzled pro. In your face dad!
Today, of course, it’s all golf. The winter was a long one and he can’t wait to walk some greens again. I keep a Little Tykes golf club and a ball in the car for this very event. I retrieve both and meet the over-anxious toddler at his favorite hole. It’s basically a two-level course, with an upper level connected to a lower by three PVC pipes underground. Hit a ball into one of the top three holes up top and it pops out of one of the three holes on the lower level. It never gets old …. at least for him.
We laugh around the course for several minutes, with just the sounds of birds and traffic around us. The course doesn’t actually open till mid-day, because, really, who wants to play golf at 8 in the morning? So I like to think of it as a special time. There are not too many places a father and son can spend an early morning running around some miniature links before packing it in for the day’s school and work. This is one of those places. I love calling the High Country home.