On a hot summer afternoon in the early sixties I’m standing on the green of a Sacramento public golf course and preparing to line up my putt when I glance right of the green at the maintenance man carrying a long sprinkler head. He’s sweating and looks tired and gray like Clark Gable did before dying a couple of years earlier. Every second I’m more amazed at the resemblance. This guy’s got star power too.
“Hey, hurry up and putt,” says Joe.
I ignore Joe and the other guys in our foursome and watch the man, in a soiled khaki uniform, push the sprinkler into the ground and walk toward his little tractor and trailer.
“Are you gonna putt?” says Joe.
“Look at that guy,” I say.
“What about him?”
“He’s a dead ringer for Clark Gable.”
“You’ve got sunstroke.”
“Sir,” I shout. “Just a minute, please.”
He ignores me and steps onto his tractor.
“Sir, Clark, Clark Gable, please hold on.”
I drop my putter and run toward the man who starts his little tractor and slowly moves away. Running hard in the heat I soon catch up, moving right up to him, and say, “Damn, this is unbelievable.”
Looking straight ahead, he says, “Get lost, kid.”
“But I thought you passed away.”
“Okay, let’s call the newspaper. Let’s call your wife and friends in Los Angeles.”
He keeps driving his little tractor, headed for the next fairway.