Jim on Dorf on Golf

Jam of the week: “Missing the War”?by Ben Folds Five

As I often do, I found myself searching through YouTube earlier this week. Unlike my usual searches for cute pug videos and acoustic covers of songs, I was taking a trip down memory lane.

I rarely find myself in a nostalgic mood. However, I still have moments of clarity where the smallest thing will spark a memory from my childhood. Coming across a golf video in my search, I remembered back to my very early childhood when my family would take trips to visit my grandparents in Indiana.

Those grandparents, on my mom’s side of the family, lived on a farm. It felt isolated from the world at large, but was still a relatively short drive into town and to Purdue University. What crops they grew and what livestock they raised were beyond my concerns or interest as a kid. I was more interested in dinosaurs than how my grandparents built a life for themselves and their children on this chunk of land.

Rather than explore this farm, alien to me having grown up in a more urban setting, I did the most reprehensible thing that a child could do. I sat indoors and watched old movies that my grandparents had. That’s not to say that I didn’t get any exposure to farm life. I did get out and explore the timber area behind the farm, but my most distinct memories of my grandparent’s house were watching my grandpa’s “Dorf on Golf” videos.

If you’re unfamiliar with Dorf, he’s a character played by Tim Conway. I’m not exactly sure how his costume is done, but it appears that his legs, from his knees to his feet, are actually under the ground and covered. This gives him the illusion of being… a dwarf. I don’t know how I feel about Tim’s portrayal of a little person. That aside, I can see why I liked it back in the day. There’s a good amount of physical humor and Tim Conway voices the character in a funny way.

My knowledge and skill at golf is very limited and was much more limited when I was just a wee child. I think it became one of those things that I watched passively rather than engaging people around me. Not exactly a healthy habit. If you feel I keep pouring regret into a column about a funny video series, it’s because I had relatively little time to get to know my grandparents.

I never knew my grandparents on my dad’s side, as they both died well before I could remember them. My grandfather on my mom’s side died when I was about five years old. My grandma passed away when I was about 12 years old and was going through memory loss. I still have fond memories of them both. My grandpa told me stories about flying planes over Germany in World War II. My grandma made a story book for me about an old John Deere tractor that was sitting in a forested area of the farm that I loved to sit on and pretend to drive. Still, I wish I had more time with them, or that I used my time with them better.

I posted a link to a Dorf on Golf video that I found on YouTube, which has much of what I remember from the series, on my Facebook. At the time of posting, all those thoughts of regret were flying through my head. My mom, bless her heart, commented on the post, saying that my grandparents always appreciated watching those videos with me. Even if my time with them was short, I’m glad to know that they enjoyed what time they had with me.