Finding Ti Ming & Tem Po

Finding Ti Ming & Tem Po

by Mark Button


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781468501506
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Publication date: 11/16/2011
Pages: 208
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.48(d)
Age Range: 15 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

FINDING Ti Ming & Tem Po

By Mark Button


Copyright © 2011 Mark Button
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4685-0150-6

Chapter One

The Attic

Jack Arnold knew he shouldn't be in his parents' attic. He'd been warned several times about going up there. Once, after helping his mom bring down the Christmas tree, Jack lingered in the ill-lit, squatty room. He tripped and gashed his knee on a rusty nail. A trip to the emergency room and six stitches later, Jack was banned from the attic.

But he went back anyway. There he stood, in the cramped space filled with odd-angled wooden beams, strange shadows and peculiar noises. If it weren't for his grandfather's golf bag, the thought of climbing up into the forbidden room wouldn't have crossed the 12-year-old's mind. But he knew the old golf bag was there. And he knew there had to be some golf balls in it.

With golf camp starting that week, Jack wanted those golf balls.

As it turned out, golf balls were the last thing on Jack's mind after that night. He discovered far more than he had counted on up in the dark, creepy attic.

Jack shuddered and nearly let out a scream when he first crossed eyes with the golf gods. A chill ran down his spine and he started to tremble. His heart raced and breath shortened as a burst of dust and smoke filled the room when his grandfather's musty leather bag tipped over. As it did, two small wooden statues tumbled onto the floor.

That moment changed Jack's life forever.

Minutes earlier, he had pushed the upstairs hallway bench over, climbed atop and reached for the handle to the trap door that led into the forbidden room. His mom was vacuuming downstairs, so Jack had an opportunity. He might get caught, but it was the risk.

The dusty bag that held a bundle of hickory-shafted clubs mesmerized Jack. More than once, Jack's dad told him about his grandfather and how he was a talented amateur golfer who squandered his talents. Jack asked his dad what "squandered" meant.

"Son, your grandfather wasted his talents," Jack's dad had said. "He gambled too much and it caught up to him." After a short pause, Jack's dad added, "He finally got what was coming to him."

Jack didn't know what that meant. But he could see his dad's face getting red, which meant he was getting angry. Jack left it alone, but he didn't stop wondering about his grandfather. The mystery made Jack more interested in his story.

But on this night, Jack wasn't thinking about that. He was only concerned with stocking up on golf balls. And he knew right where to find them. When the golf gods tumbled out on the floor in front of him—making a crashing sound he was sure his mom would hear—Jack forgot all about his quest for golf balls.

Jack stood motionless, locked in on little wooden statues. The one with a beard wore a disapproving scowl with hardened eyes. They pierced straight into Jack's and terrified him.

"Who's up in the attic?" Jack heard his mom call. "Jack, is that you up there? What are you doing? Get down here this instant!"

Jack couldn't move. A shiver ran through him and he trembled. The little figures stood upright just a few feet away. Jack shook his head and rubbed his eyes. He looked closer and saw both figures held golf clubs and looked crudely carved from some tree a thousand years ago. Each statue had a name etched at its base. The one whose stare frightened Jack was named "Ti Ming." He had a long beard and flowing robes. He held a golf club like a walking stick and looked like one of the Samurai warriors Jack had seen in the movies. He scared Jack.

The other one looked friendlier. "Tem Po" was much fatter and his bare, rotund belly protruded from his robes. He sported a happy-go-lucky smile and carried a bag of golf clubs over one shoulder.

"He must be a caddie," Jack thought.

"Jack Christopher Arnold, get down here right now!" His mother's voice tightened. Jack turned to scurry back down the attic steps. Before he did, he took one last look at Ti Ming and thought about taking the figures with him. It could have been the poorly lit attic, but Jack thought he saw Ti Ming's frown deepen as Jack inched forward, as if to serve as a warning.

Jack backed away slowly and climbed down the attic steps.

"What on heaven and earth were you doing, Jack?" his mother asked.

"I don't know," he said. "Just looking around."

"Sweetie, you know you're not allowed up there," his mother said. "Remember what happened last time? We'll see what your father says about this."

"Please don't tell Dad!" Jack pleaded.

"Only if you promise not to do it again," she said.

"OK, I promise," Jack said, crossing his fingers behind his back.

"You better grab your golf clubs," Jack's mom said. "We're almost late for your first day of camp."

Chapter Two

Golf Camp

Jack arrived at Turkey Creek Golf Club that afternoon along with his best friend Jeremy and 20 other boys and girls their age. Every summer, the club held a daytime camp for kids. The junior golfers learned about the fundamentals of the game, as well as some of the values the game teaches. Through the game of golf, the children learned about the importance of honesty, respect, confidence, good judgment, perseverance, responsibility and sportsmanship.

Without really knowing it, Jack knew and practiced several of these values. He was a good sport and was generally honest and courteous, as much as a 12-year-old could be. At the same time, he lacked confidence. Jack didn't tell anyone, but he thought his dad didn't believe in him. Jack always tried to make his father proud, but mostly his dad pointed out Jack's shortcomings.

Charlie Wilkins was the head camp instructor at Turkey Creek. Charlie—or "Mr.Wilkins" as the boys and girls called him—believed strongly that golf instilled life lessons for those paying attention. Mr. Wilkins made sure his students paid attention.

He also believed in teaching the game from the green back to the tee. The first day of camp focused on putting and chipping. Jack and Jeremy, who started playing golf when they were nine, were already good putters. They loved watching the ball go into the hole, making that unmistakable "clink" sound.

Jeremy was a couple inches taller than Jack. He was a better golfer, too. They were best friends, and Jeremy tried not to brag when he beat his friend, which he almost always did. Jeremy learned about respect and sportsmanship from his dad, who played golf in college.

Jack kept it to himself, but he felt inferior to his friend. Jack loved competing with Jeremy, but he sometimes got upset when he lost.

One time, Jack talked to his dad about it.

"I never beat Jeremy," he said.

"Son, don't try so hard," his dad responded. "Just have fun. If you have high expectations for yourself, you'll wind up disappointed."

It wasn't the pep talk Jack wanted, and it left him confused. For once in his life, Jack wished he could impress his dad. He felt if he could beat Jeremy in golf—at anything, really—maybe Jack's dad would be proud of him.

During the first morning of golf camp, Jack and Jeremy held their own contest during the putting drills. Jack made plenty of putts, but Jeremy won each time as usual.

"If you can't putt, it doesn't matter how you play," Mr. Wilkins had ingrained in both boys.

At lunch, the two boys devoured peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches and beat everyone else back to the putting green. They picked a hole on the far side of the green and tried to see who could sink their ball in the fewest strokes. Jeremy won by one shot. The rest of the afternoon was spent practicing putting from various distances.

"How was camp?" Jack's mom asked him on the ride home.

"Fun," Jack said. He was already thinking about the little wooden men in the attic. Jack started devising a plan to get back up there. Something was pushing him to go back into the dark room. He needed to see those little figures again. He barely admitted it to himself, but he wanted them.

When they got home, Jack walked up and down the second-story hallway below the attic trap door. Jack's bedroom was at the far end of the hall; his parents' master bedroom was in the middle, near the door in the ceiling.

After dinner, Jack tried to sneak into the attic. His dad was doing yard work while his mom did the dishes. Jack slithered upstairs and started to push the hallway bench under the trap door.

"Jaaack," his mother called from the bottom of the stairs, "Sweetheart, I hope you're not doing what I think you're doing."

Jack pushed the bench back against the wall and scampered back down the stairs.

"I wasn't doing anything," he said. Jack grabbed his basketball and went out to the driveway to shoot some hoops.

That night in bed, Jack kept thinking about the attic. He wanted those two little men. He wanted them badly, but he didn't know why.

His plan was to wait for his parents to be asleep and creep back up there. Slumber had different designs, however, and soon Jack was slumbering, too. When he woke in the morning, an echo of a dream startled him: "Don't hope for it," Ti Ming told him. "You must expect it."

Jack wiped the sleep out of his eyes and sprung out of bed. He went to his desk and scribbled down what he heard him in his dream. But Jack remembered it wrong. He wrote, "Don't expect it" on a scrap piece of paper, crinkled his face and stared at it.

What did it mean?

Chapter Three

Jack's Secret

The next day at Turkey Creek, Mr. Wilkins gathered the group of junior golfers around the practice green.

"You're not going to hit every green with your approach shots," Mr. Wilkins told the group of eager youngsters. "Par is your friend on the golf course, and you have to learn to save par when you miss greens. Saving par is like saving your friend."

Jeremy raised his hand.

"Yes, Jeremy," Mr. Wilkins said.

"Birdies are better, though. Right, Mr. Wilkins?" Jeremy said.

"Of course," said the teacher. "But we all have to make good decisions—on the golf course and in life. We can't go for birdie every time. Sometimes the easy way out isn't the best. Good golfers have good judgment. Understand?"

The children nodded.

"Jeremy," Mr. Wilkins said, "what's a good example of good judgment?"

Jeremy looked at his shoes. When he looked up, he said, "Aiming for the middle of the green instead of at a flag next to the water?"

"Exactly, Jeremy," Mr. Wilkins said as he reached into his bag and tossed Jeremy a new sleeve of golf balls. "Judgment is when we consider our options and make a good decision on what to do next."

The class spent the afternoon learning all the different shots necessary to save par around the green. He showed the pitch shots, chips shots and flop shots.

Then his assistants passed out buckets of practice balls. The juniors formed a semi-circle around the practice green and experimented with the shots they learned.

Jack pitched one shot after another at his target. Jeremy, positioned next to him, was even more accurate. When Jack hit the flagstick with a shot, Jeremy holed one out.

That afternoon, Mr. Wilkins talked again about the importance of a good short game.

"Whether you're playing with your friends or in a tournament, you're going to be in situations where even the best judgment leads to double bogey or even worse," he said. "It just happens. It's part of the game. But the good golfer will overcome those situations. A good short game—being able to chip and putt—can help you overcome a bad hole. Do you know what it's called when you overcome a bad situation by staying positive and sticking to your game plan?"

None of the kids raised a hand.

"It's called perseverance," Mr. Wilkins said. "We persevere when we overcome a bad situation. Understand?"

The kids nodded. As the short game tutorial continued, Jack and Jeremy took turns pitching shots out of some light rough.

"Hey, Jeremy," Jack whispered. "Can you keep a secret?"

"Of course I can," Jeremy said. "What do you think I am, a girl?"

Jack told Jeremy about the wooden statues he found in the attic. He told Jeremy about what he heard in his dream and scribbled down when he woke up.

"Don't expect what?" Jeremy asked.

"How the heck should I know?" Jack said.

"You need to get back up in the attic and get them! I want to see them, too," Jeremy said.

Jack's plans to retrieve the pieces were thwarted again that night. After dinner, Jack's dad suggested playing board games for a couple hours. Jack played but was distracted.

"What are you thinking about, buddy?" Jack's dad asked him.

Jack, his eyes glazed with a faraway look, said nothing.

"Jack, sweetie," his mother said, "your father asked you a question."

"What?" Jack said.

"It's been your turn for two minutes," his father explained. "What were you thinking about?"

Jack couldn't tell them he was thinking about what was in the attic. He made up a story instead.

"I was just thinking about golf tournament at the end of camp," he said.

"Oh, buddy," his dad said and put his hand on his son's shoulder.

"There's no need to be nervous. No one expects you to win. Just have fun."

Jack sighed.

"I will, Dad, thanks," he said with little enthusiasm.

His mother looked in on Jack that night. She asked him if he was really worried about the nine-hole tournament at the end of the week.

"No, not really," Jack said.

"I didn't think so," she said. "You're supposed to be having fun at golf camp, not worrying. It's just a game. Your father took golf too seriously when he was a little older than you. So did his father. He doesn't want you to make the same mistake."

"Was he better than Grandpa?" Jack asked.

"Jack, your dad was a wonderful golfer," his mom said. "But his father pushed him too hard and made the game become like a job. It stopped being a game for him. We don't want that to happen to you."

Jack didn't get it. He'd love for golf to be his job. It would be the best job in the world. He thought about that while he lay in bed. He tried to stay awake until he heard his parents turn in for the night. He desperately wanted back in the attic.

When he awoke the next morning, Tem Po's words still rung in his ears: "We can help you win, Jack. But you must first set us free."

Like morning before, Jack jumped out of bed and scurried to his desk. The memory once again faded too quickly.

"We can't help you," Jack wrote. Then he scribbled, "Tem Po" and stared at the word. Tempo or Tem Po? Jack looked up at his ceiling and wondered about the little wooden statues. The caddie in the attic was trying to tell him something, but he couldn't remember the dream.

"Sweetie, breakfast is ready. Come and get it!"

Jack's mother's call shook him from his trance. Before he knew it, Jack was back at Turkey Creek.

Chapter Four

Finding Rhythm

On the third day of camp, Charlie Wilkins walked with the group of juniors to the back end of the driving range. The instructor talked to the kids about being good golfer and good citizens. He explained the importance of integrity, respect, responsibility and gave examples of each. He talked about sportsmanship and how it's important to show respect to your opponents—and the game—by winning and losing with grace and humility. He asked the kids if they knew the meaning of grace and humility.

"It's when you treat people the way you want to be treated," a young girl said. "It's when you're nice."

Mr. Wilkins nodded and smiled. He was an accomplished teacher and worked with several PGA Tour pros. He loved working with juniors most of all, and he didn't over-complicate his lessons on the full swing.

"Take the club back slowly, then swing down with rhythm and remember to finish with balance," he said to the group. That was as technical as it got. He turned them loose to swing away.

Jack took a rip at his first practice ball. He topped it, and the ball rolled just a few feet from him. He frowned—Jack was a good ball-striker—and quickly rolled another ball in front of him. He swung again with the same result. Three more swings, three more topped shots. He looked up to see Jeremy launch another high, soft shot into the morning sky.

Jeremy turned to looked at Jack.

"What's the matter?" Jeremy asked.

"I don't know," Jack said and chunked another shot.

Mr. Wilkins walked down the line of junior golfers. He stopped next to Jack and slightly adjusted Jack's grip and stance. Jack swung again. This time, he caught more of the ball, but it hooked to the left. Jack grunted in disapproval.

Mr. Wilkins patted Jack on the back and said, "Stay with it. You'll get it."


Excerpted from FINDING Ti Ming & Tem Po by Mark Button Copyright © 2011 by Mark Button. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Part I — Confidence....................1
Chapter 1, The Attic....................3
Chapter 2, Golf Camp....................6
Chapter 3, Jack's Secret....................10
Chapter 4, Finding Rhythm....................14
Chapter 5, Late Night Mission....................17
Chapter 6, Only a Dream....................19
Chapter 7, Practice Round....................22
Chapter 8, History Lesson....................26
Chapter 9, Champion Golfer....................32
Chapter 10, Lost....................36
Part II — Respect....................41
Chapter 11, Seeing Things....................43
Chapter 12, Green Dreams....................46
Chapter 13, Coming Clean....................50
Chapter 14, Proving Grounds....................54
Chapter 15, Day in the Park....................59
Chapter 16, Another Believer....................63
Chapter 17, Dream Camp....................67
Chapter 18, New Clubs....................73
Chapter 19, Helping Hands....................78
Chapter 20, Purposeful Practice....................82
Chapter 21, Under Pressure....................88
Chapter 22, The Question....................92
Part III — Judgment....................97
Chapter 23, Front Row....................99
Chapter 24, Sleep Talking....................104
Chapter 25, Afternoon Nap....................109
Chapter 26, Dinner with a Friend....................114
Chapter 27, Bad Dreams....................118
Chapter 28, Good Advice....................122
Chapter 29, Tommy's Sentencing....................126
Chapter 30, The Search....................130
Chapter 31, Perfect Shots....................134
Chapter 32, New Goals....................138
Chapter 33, Record Score....................142
Chapter 34, The State Open....................148
Part IV — Perseverance....................153
Chapter 35, Jack Grows Up....................155
Chapter 36, Tommy's Gift....................159
Chapter 37, Partnership....................165
Chapter 38, Long Drive....................169
Chapter 39, Q-School....................173
Chapter 40, Home Stretch....................178
Chapter 41, Dreams Come True....................181
Chapter 42, Reunited....................186
Chapter 43, A New Beginning....................191

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