Issue: 41


Leaving Port

Watercolor & Casein, 9" x 12"


Morning Light

Watercolor & Casein, 22" x 15"






                                                                                                                                                       by Bill Hudson


                "The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity."

                                                                                                                    Ellen Parr (journalist) 



In the early 60's during my high school and college years, I lived 25 miles north of Baltimore in what was then the small town of Bel Air, MD ... population around 2,000. Bel Air was growing fast and shortly after our family moved there, the exclusive new Maryland Golf & Country Club was scheduled to open. My brother Ernie and I liked golf, wanted jobs, and heard that the 18-hole private course was going to need caddies.

We, and about 40 other guys our age, went to a couple of weekend training sessions conducted by the first Club Professional, Paul Haviland. And just that quick, we were certified caddies spending every summer morning sitting in the caddie room hoping our name would be called. There were a lot of caddies that first year, but the law of supply and demand soon left only enough to earn a decent income ... if you consider carrying one bag 9-holes for $1.50, or 18-holes for $2.50 a decent wage. On a "good day" a caddie could get in two 18-hole rounds of "doubles" (carrying two bags). With the usual 50ȼ tip from each golfer, that amounted to $6 per round or $12 for the day. Not bad for a kid in 1960. And one huge work benefit, Monday was "Caddie Day" when we were allowed to play the course for free.


Being 16 years old and a caddie at the "Country Club", I quickly learned a few things about life. There were three classes of people, and the "Hudsons" were definitely not in the upper third. I was carrying bags for people who arrived in expensive new cars like Avantis; they were doctors, lawyers, dentists, and business people who were accustomed to the amenities of the club. Caddies were far lower on the rung of life as evidenced by our 8-foot by 10-foot "caddie room" which was just a windowless, cinder block room with several wooden benches that we used to sit on while playing cards, reading, or playing "mumbley peg" with our pocket knives. These were the usual ways we fought boredom everyday ... everyday with the exception of one momentous Sunday.


There were two doors to our room. One solid wood door opened to the adjacent room that contained all the member's clubs. That door was never to be opened by a caddie ... only by the Pro, Asst Pro, or Caddie Master. There was also a front door that opened to the sidewalk about 5 feet away ... the same sidewalk used by all the club members to walk from the parking lot directly to the Pro Shop. Hence, anyone intending to play golf had to walk past our den. And that is precisely why we, in turn, were instructed to remain in the caddie room and not interface with the members. On any morning beginning at sunrise, there might be 10 to 15 of us waiting in there to be called by the Caddie Master.


Sunday morning was by far the best because one of the members would bring his incredibly beautiful daughter to play golf for a 7:30 tee time. The father always bypassed the drooling caddies and prudently elected to have his daughter ride with him in a gas-powered cart. But just to see that girl, who was maybe a year younger than myself, walk down the steps from the parking lot to our sidewalk and then walk past our caddie room to the Pro Shop .... well, it just took everybody's breath away. She was too beautiful to talk to. We just looked. None of us had the guts to even say, "Hi." She had long, wavy blonde hair that gently bounced when she came down those steps. And she had a sweet, angelic smile that you noticed even before you looked at her perfect legs that were modestly revealed, always with a new pair of Bermuda shorts. As she got closer you could somehow hear Frankie Valli singing in your head, "She's just too good to be true. Can't take my eyes off of you... " Wow, even though I needed the cash, I never minded being called to caddie a little later if I got to see "The Princess" arrive.


One Sunday morning in particular turned out to be far better than all the rest. Ernie and I had gotten there a little after sunrise, so we were about 5th or 6th in the caddie order. Saturday night had been a party upstairs in the ballroom for all the members and there were telling signs that it had been a big success. For instance, about ten yards from the front door of the caddie room, directly on the other side of that sidewalk sitting on the grass, was a large covered portable station of some kind. We had never seen anything similar to it before, but we all politely ignored it until Rick Pajak arrived reporting for caddie duty. I always laughed around Pajak because he was naturally curious, quick-witted, and found something funny with everything. To digress a moment and give an example of Rick's wit, I remember how we Catholic kids who were attending public high school had to also attend a weekly evening class on Christian Doctrine. Rick and I were in the eleventh grade sitting next to each other and talking during class, ignoring the teacher who was explaining every sentence in the Lord's Prayer. As the teacher got to the phrase "Blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus", he thought he'd embarrass us to get our attention by asking, "Mr. Pajak, do you know what a womb is?" Without even pausing, Rick said, "Yep, it's an elephant's foot .... WOMB!"


                       "Lead us not into temptation. We'll find it ourselves"

                                                                                                 Sam Levenson


Rick hadn't been in the caddie room for more than a couple of minutes before he was pulled by some natural instinct over to the covered object which he began exploring. We kept an eye out for members and the club pros. Pajak then completely disappeared. While he was under the tarp we gave a scout's warning, "Good morning Mr. Holland" as one of the members walked by. It was quiet and tense waiting another minute for Rick. But it was worth the anxiety seeing Pajak crawl out laughing and hoisting a plastic cup full of ... beer! It would have been funny enough if it had ended there, but Rick came back into the caddie room and while imitating some aristocrat holding his pinky finger out and telling us, "Twas quite the evening boys." he drank the entire beer. Then Rick broke the kind of news that has changed the lives of men for centuries ... there was a complete bar with a full keg under that tarp!


Pajak was not only curious, he was resourceful. He found a driving range bucket and rather than risk a herd of us being caught while crawling to the keg multiple times, Pajak went for us with the bucket. He came back with it full along with a supply of plastic cups. Now imagine that scenario repeating itself multiple times. At about 7am on what was quickly becoming a spectacular Sunday morning, two caddies (Fred and "Nine Iron") got the call to caddie a foursome. They reported to the first tee. The rest of us 14-to-18 year old caddies had polished off several quick buckets. And that pretty much explains what led to the next series of travesties.


"The Princess" had arrived and was walking down those steps toward us. Franki Valli began to sing. The Beach Boys joined in, "I'm pickin up good vibrations...." On that morning, somehow we all had the courage... No ... we couldn't wait to come out of that room and introduce ourselves. The youngest, smallest, caddie yelled, "Hey baby, nice legs!" Guys started whistling and calling her "Sweetheart." Another asked, "Whatya doin' tonight, honey?" She was startled, lost her smile, but remained composed while her dad gave us the stink-eye as they approached the Pro Shop. It wasn't good. Simultaneously, the Caddie Master "Harry" came running into the caddie room yelling he needed two more caddies for the first group. It seems Fred had just barfed on the first tee and "Nine Iron" tripped and fell with two sets of clubs and hurt his ankle. Harry assumed they had the flu and needed to be replaced right away. So off went two more, even less capable, caddies.


Fred had returned to the room. He smelled like crap. We asked him,"Hey, what happened?" He said his golfer teed off and hit a huge slice into the woods on the right. The golfer asked Fred, "Did you mark it, son?" Fred said "Mark it? Sorry sir, but ah, like, I never saw it." and threw up right there on the white tee marker.


Pajak didn't need courage on a normal day, but on that Sunday he re-defined the word. Pajak showed me a new Titleist golf ball. Then I watched his face change from a drunk-trying-to-think to a drunk-with-a- wild-ass-plan as he said, "Watch this!" In one unforgettable motion, he whipped open the "forbidden" door to the adjacent members-only room, threw that ball as hard as he could, and yelled "FORE!" As he slammed the door shut and sat down on the wooden bench next to me, we all heard that ball hit objects hard. The last sound was breaking glass as the Titleist shot from the room holding the member's clubs into the Pro Shop that "The Princess" had just entered with her already pissed-off dad. We heard the screams of a woman and the cussing of men. Then, just like Kramer on Seinfeld, that door flew open and an enraged Paul Quinn, the 6'5" Assistant Pro came sliding into our caddie room yelling "Who the hell threw that ball?" There was a short moment of silence. As we looked into each other's spaced-out faces pretending to find the guilty one, none of us could hold it any longer. We couldn't stop laughing as someone fell off the bench and spilled the remaining bucket of beer that was underneath. Quinn looked spent, but quickly and accurately assessed the situation saying "Holy s__t, you guys are all drunk!"


We were an immediate, unforeseen liability and they probably wished we could all disappear. But they couldn't fire or replace us. We were like a freakin' union and the club had trained us, housed us, set up a bar right at our front door, and might as well have served the beer to us themselves. Really, what could they have expected? Why, we had simply come to the course to work and save a little money for our very promising futures. Certainly there was no pre-planned intent to squander the day drinking "Bud" on tap. The Maryland Golf & Country Club had created this problem and they didn't want to share this unfortunate coincidence of events with our parents or the community.


Yes, we inebriated caddies were treated with dignity for the next hour or so. We were catered with food, water, cokes, and aspirin. They bandaged "Nine Iron's" ankle and removed all evidence of the portable bar. Their only instructions were, "Tell us what you want (no beer); we'll get it, and keep BOTH doors shut. DO NOT come out of that room!" The Caddie Master OK'd each of us for work as we came around.


In an insignificant time and place, Rick Pajak had proven that a strong curiosity and sense of humor can change the ordinary and boring into something amazing. I believe artists are thankfully driven more by that same kind of fervid curiosity rather than by ambition, money, or fame. If asked the question, "What would you do for a living if every choice brought an equal and adequate income?" .... I feel artists would continue to select art. "Perfection" is the enemy of "good enough" for many occupations. Not so for artists. Artists enjoy the constant process of improving the quality of their art, be it in technique, presentation, composition, media, or impact.



  • With a strong letter of recommendation written by Club Professional, Mr. Paul Haviland himself, my brother Ernie and I were selected as caddies for the 1962 Eastern Open at Mount Pleasant in Baltimore. I caddied for Ron Weber and Ernie drew Bill Eggers. At that time, the Eastern Open was comparable to any PGA tournament being held today with the exception of the four majors.

  • I never did meet "The Princess." But ten years later, I met and married my own princess, Ellie O'Brien. This year marks our 45th anniversary.

  • Rick Pajak, I wish you the best.




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