A Little Humility

Joe Kirkwood was one of the top ranked golfers of his time. He had a record number of holes-in-one and amused audiences of all ages with his trick shots. He retired in Stowe, Vermont and happens to be buried in the same cemetery as my husband’s grandparents. Joe Kirkwood had no reason to be humble and yet, he leaves us with this poignant epitaph.

Tell your story of hard luck shots,
Of each shot straight and true.
But when you are done remember son
That nobody cares but you!
~Joe Kirkwood 1897-1970

I love this saying. As a parent, my children keep my pride in check with their brutal honesty. They ask questions like, why is your belly so squishy and how come Daddy makes better pancakes than you do. These callouts are humbling. My ego has long since been put away and I’m not trying to impress anyone. But in case I forget and get caught up in trying to impress, Joe Kirkwood reminds me “that nobody cares but you”.

My husband picked up one of  Joe Kirkwood’s old putters at a golf shop a few years ago. It’s a relic and has none of the technology or fanciness of today’s putters. It is basically a shaft of steel with a curve at the end. It’s in his golf bag and he uses it instead of a real putter regardless of his score at that time. He could take himself more seriously and use a good putter but golf is a humbling game. Sometimes he misses the putt and sometimes he makes it but either way he is reminded of Joe Kirkwood’s wisdom.

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