Opening day in 1995 was only three days away. As Assistant Golf Course Superintendent I was very busy supervising activities throughout the golf course. I thought I was already overloaded when my boss called me on the radio.
“Don, we’ve got to clean up the trash around the waterfall today. Take the dump truck and a couple of guys, and get on it right away.”
“10-4,” I said as I turned away from what I had planned to do, and headed back to get the truck.
I couldn’t wait to clean up the area around the waterfall. When the waterfall was completed there were stumps and logs around it that I thought were simply trash. I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to clean them out. Now I had my chance.
A pair of laborers joined me and I drove the dump truck along the cart path to the waterfall. There were a lot of dead plants, desert broom, and brush to clean up, so we did that first. By the time we finished weed eating, raking and shoveling the brush and debris the waterfall area looked clean as a whistle. We high-fived each other to celebrate our achievement and took off for the dump. As I dropped the tailgate to unload the truck I thought I heard someone on the radio, so I keyed my radio and said, “Come back.”
“Don!” Ron yelled. “Where the hell did all the stumps and logs go at the waterfall?”
“Got’em here in the dump truck. You said to clean’er up, so we did.”
“Are you trying to get me fired? The company paid an artist $45,000 to select and place those trunks and logs in an artistic fashion to add character to the waterfall! The V.P. and artist are going to be here in two hours to admire the artists work. You get all that stuff back exactly the way you found it! Now!”
I said “10-4” because I didn’t want to start another conversation and get deeper in trouble. We left the dump and eased our way through the golf course to the waterfall. Getting the trunks and logs out of the truck wasn’t difficult, remembering where they came from was.
I felt like my life was on the line and I had the knife in my own hand. What to do? Where to put this stuff? I closed my eyes to picture what this area around the waterfall looked like. The best I could remember was where the big stumps were located. I could picture smaller logs, but which ones and where exactly, escaped me.
“Okay,” I said, let’s get those stumps out and place them.”
There was no possible way I could put the exact stump in the exact spot it came from, but this would have to do. Standing on the edge of the waterfall I scanned the logs in the dump truck and imagined where they went in this artistic creation. I’d point to a log in the truck and the guys would haul it out for placement on the waterfall edge. One by one I chose logs from the truck. One by one we brought them up to the water’s edge and placed them in strategic places so it looked similar to when we removed them.
I looked at my watch, and saw the VIP’s were coming in 45 minutes. My heart was in my throat, having no idea if what we’d just done would please or upset them. But, we had to get out of there.
At quitting time I hadn’t heard if I still had a job or not. I didn’t know if the VIP’s visited the waterfall. Then Ron came into the office, scowled at me and said, “That trick could have cost both of our jobs, you know!”
“Yeah, I didn’t know about the artist.”
“Well, don’t sweat it! They were pleased with the waterfall’s landscaping, and the artist was raving about how his work looked. Whatever you did got us out of a jam.”
“I can’t believe they paid that much for a bunch of logs. I would have done it for half the price.”