Time flies no matter what

The old adage states, “Time flies when you’re having fun.” Sometimes it does even when you’re not.

I find it astonishing that tomorrow (June 30) will mark one year since our beloved Msgr. Tom Harrington left us.

I’ve thought of my old golf partner often over the last 365 days, aided by the selfie of him and me hovering just over the top of my Mac monitor, on the wall directly facing me.

Saying I miss him is an obvious understatement, not just for me, but for those who knew and loved him — and there were many.

There are times at work when I hear the door open downstairs at the Tribunal Office on a Thursday morning and think, “Here comes the good monsignor,” only to remember he’s not here.

I miss hearing him enter the building whistling his patented lilt, announcing his arrival.

“What a beautiful day,” was often his mantra, even when the weather outside was one notch from becoming a hurricane. Every day was beautiful for Tommy. And he spread that disposition like a wildfire.

I miss him coming upstairs to The Anchor offices to visit anyone who was here at the time.

He would eventually park himself in my office, ready to discuss the latest sports developments. That “beautiful day” attitude carried over into the whacky world of sports.

No matter how badly one of the home town teams performed the night before, Tommy would find the bright side.

Try as I may to convince him that the team stinks (I’m not a glass full or empty kind of guy when it comes to Boston sports — I’m a glass is broken pessimist), he wouldn’t hear of it.

We’d talk about the diocese, the Church, the fire department, and whatever hot topic was vogue at the time.

Those conversations carried over to the golf course, where we had the best of times.

It wasn’t only the golf, which was a grand time in and of itself, it was the camaraderie. Even though Tom was nearly 20 years my senior, it wasn’t like he was an uncle to me. No, we were friends. Good friends, who shared many of the same interests.

The only time there was silence on the course was when one of us was putting (mostly!).

Hitting Dunkin’ Donuts après-golf was the norm so the winner would reap the spoils of victory.

I can remember so well picking him up at the Cardinal Medeiros Residence to head out to the Back Nine in Lakeville — he was always happy as a clam anticipating what was to come.

And when I dropped him off, that big old lovable clam was just as happy for having spent the afternoon roaming the fairways, greens, sand traps, water hazards and wooded areas of that delightful course. And he had in tow, his regular iced coffee to finish in his room.

Neither of us cared who won that day, but that didn’t stop the competitive spirit in either of us.

I remember one day, through seven holes, Tom was mopping the floor with me. Pulling out all the stops, I stopped marking my ball on the green with a coin and started using a holy medal of St. André Bessette, a small French-Canadian, just like me! Even with Tom’s less-than-sharp eyesight, he saw the medal and asked if he was seeing correctly. I answered in the affirmative telling him I needed more ammo against him. He got the biggest kick out of that.

I ended up winning, again to his delight.

There are myriad anecdotes I could share about our times on the golf course, but I selfishly like to keep some to myself — only to know there were moments just he and I shared.

I still pray for you soul, old friend, and think of you often. And if you’re somewhere practicing waiting for me, then I suppose that’s OK. It will make up for the St. André episode.


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