Chapter 16

 
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16     SUTTER'S MILL

 

Somehow, they now felt like they were also on the team. Smiles from their caddies and smiles from the pro shop staff matched their own. They all seemed to share in the glow that comes from playing Cypress Point for the first time. They had reached the eye of all inner circles, and they were not quite sure how. Or why. A plaque next to the seventeenth tee tried to address part of what they were feeling. Under the title of Boney’s Pulpit, it encouraged everyone reaching that spot to take time and reflect on their surroundings, and be grateful for the privilege of being one of the few who would ever be there. A very sound sermon. Rounds per day there could be counted by hand; a simple spreadsheet could easily keep record of all the rounds ever played. This was not Oracle’s target customer.

But anyone would feel gratitude there. This was the Sutter’s Mill of gratitude. Yet most guests, and maybe many members, would have the more sobering companion thought – only a tiny sub-percent of people who wanted to be there ever would. The Occupy Wall Street crowd would need a microscope to locate this minority among the one percent. There was some comfort that many would prefer water boarding to spending so many hours and dollars chasing around a lifeless, little, disobedient ball into a hole. But many others would give up their birthright to do the same, and would never have the chance.

Perhaps the word pulpit provided a clue. Clearly it meant to convey a place where a sermon would be preached, and an excellent one was – thoughtful, simple and wonderfully short. This should be a required course for the clergy and politicians. But it also suggested an order that required ordination for entrance. They were not coming to fill the pews, but were newly commissioned with the same calling. But what were the qualifications? And what would they preach?

Were successful applicants all born into sufficient wealth and privilege to be able to network with members to secure an invitation? If so, predestination was the prerequisite, and jumping lines in heaven was the only way to success. This was an even more sobering thought, and a survey of members’ backgrounds would probably support this.    But were there exceptions to rally the heart?

Maybe their own lives would be good case studies to poke holes in this working hypothesis. While there was wealth two generations back in their line, they had grown up very middle class. However, they knew even this gave them a huge head start on a high percent of the population, so their stories were still supporting a Calvinist view. Sighs were replacing smiles. Even with a minivan full of logo apparel.