Tiger Woods will never read this, but I wanted to try to put into words my sincere thank you. It was 1997 and Tiger Woods was about to tip the golfing world in his direction when he entered that final day of competition at the Masters Golf Tournament. Everyone was watching.
And so was my dad.
No, he was not a golfer. He was just a guy who raised four children, worked so hard at his job that he was and continues to be my role model for what it means to work a job to the fullest. He made sure we had plenty to eat, kept us laughing, made the best sandwiches, the envy of every gardener on the block and saw to it we got to a pew on Sunday mornings. He served in WWII. An Army veteran. His family spelled his name with just one A. Aron Taylor.
On that day in 1997, when the world was about to marvel at a talented Tiger Woods, my dad was fighting cancer.
He probably never heard of Tiger Woods until I called him and told him to turn on the television. He in Chicago, me in Florida. I explained to him about the nuances of golf and we watched Tiger’s magnificent run at the top of the leader board. And in those hours while we stayed on the phone and talked about Tiger, dad forgot all about the cancer. He really didn’t need the medicine or the fact he was confined to a hospice bed. For just a few hours, we didn’t think about how colon cancer had robbed him of any desire to eat a meal. We laughed and cheered and rallied around Tiger Woods. We yelled at the television when Tiger won the Masters and was about to put on the coveted green jacket.
A few weeks later, on a May day in Chicago, my father died.
For many years I have thought about what I would say if I ever got a chance to meet Tiger Woods. How I would tell him how much my father enjoyed watching him that day and how Tiger helped move cancer to the side. At least for a moment. You can’t put a price on that. Tiger Woods may never know how much he helps people, simply by swinging a golf club. So, to Tiger, I say thank you. My father in heaven is watching you.