What little money I had in my early teens came from picking up golf balls at my uncle’s driving range. The range was next door to my house, so it was the perfect first paying job. My younger sister (the older of three) and I were hired by my uncle to pick up golf balls weekdays and Saturdays after the range closed around five o’clock each day. Each evening, equipped with a golf club handle with a basket welded to the end of the shaft for scooping balls, a small metal bucket, and several large yellow metal baskets to dump the small buckets in when full, the two of us and oftentimes my uncle and his son and daughter took to the fairway to pick up golf balls paying customers hit during the day. My sister and I were paid sixty cents for each yellow basket we filled with golf balls – approximately a couple of hundred golf balls per basket. On an average evening we filled as many as five yellow baskets and made a combined $3.00 for our efforts. I can remember my share being as much as ten dollars a week, and sometimes as much as twelve dollars if Saturday was exceptionally busy. That was a lot of money for a thirteen and eleven-year-old in 1967. In 1969, I bought my first motorcycle with the money I earned picking up golf balls.
I remember those days scooping up golf balls vividly, but the evening I recall best was the night my sister and I encountered our first UFO – unidentified flying object. Some people will say I am fabricating this story, but as God is my witness, this is true. The encounter was brief, but it was as real as the print on this page. My sister and I were the only ones on the fairway that April night in 1969, maybe 1970. The exact year has faded with time, but I know it was a Tuesday because “Hee Haw” was on television that night.
The evening was cool as we hurried to fill our last yellow basket. After a late start, we were out after dark with the only light, a full moon, reflecting dimly off the few remaining white golf balls on the fairway and the balls in the yellow baskets. Our normal routine was to divide the fairway into sections and sweep through one section picking up balls before moving to the next section. By nightfall, we were scrambling to finish the last section. On days when we found ourselves out after dark, we left the full yellow baskets on the fairway where my uncle picked them up in his truck the following morning. We knew he would not be happy if he arrived for the baskets and there were still golf balls on the ground, so we were doing our best to hunt down every ball before we called it quits for the evening.
We were rounding up the last few balls when the light from the full moon suddenly dimmed. I remember looking up and freezing. The moon was covered by a perfect dark blue sphere the size of two full moons. I called out to my sister who looked up and dropped the small basket of balls she was holding. “Wow,” she said, “I’ve never seen a blue moon before.”
“It’s not the moon,” I said.
“Then what is it?” she asked.
“I don’t know,” I said watching the blue object floating over our heads, but it was not floating, it hung motionless painted on a black canvas.
The air or space around the blue ball seemed to ripple and two additional spheres slowly materialized on either side of it – one red and the other green. The three spheres hung in the night sky over us – no movement no sound. I had never seen, nor have I since anything like what I saw that night. “Go get daddy!” I yelled to my sister. She ran faster than I have ever seen her run, dove and slid under the barbed wire fence between our yard and the driving range fairway disappearing in the dark of our backyard. I had an eerie feeling I was not the only one watching her, but at the same time I felt no fear for her or myself.
I continued to watch the three objects, hoping my sister and father would hurry. There was no doubt in my mind I was being watched. The objects did not pulse, flash, sway in the slightest, or make a sound; they hung against the black sky like brightly lit blue, green, and red Christmas balls on a black tree or background. The air was still. The usual chirping of crickets, katydids, and cicadas as well as frogs croaking from the nearby pastures and woods were silent. The only light illuminated from the watchers over my head. I had heard and read stories of unexplained phenomenon in the skies, but until that night, such things were questionable stories from far exotic places or from the lips of suspect characters.
I had read stories of Roswell, New Mexico, reports by United States Air Force pilots of mysterious flying machines, and accounts of people who claimed to have been abducted by aliens, but until that April night, I considered such accounts as mysteries with rational explanations not yet discovered, or stories fabricated for publicity. A door slammed in the direction of my house, and I heard voices. My sister excitedly urged our father to hurry. I remember thinking, please hurry dad, you have got to see this. He never did. As their voices approached from the dark, the three objects began to dim as if someone turned a wall dimmer. They did not float, fly, or vanish in a flash of light; they slowly faded into the night leaving a larger brighter yellow ball that had been concealed behind them hanging between me and the moon. My sister’s voice cut through the black from the fence line, “We’re coming! We’re coming!” The yellow globe looked down on me. A voice in my head said, “Be calm,” and the globe faded into the moon.
Only the moon hung in the sky by the time my father and sister reached me. “Where is it?” my sister asked. “Gone,” I said. My sister and I did our best to convince our father what we saw was real, but he scoffed at our story and scolded us for interrupting his favorite television show, “Hee Haw.” A night or two later, WDAM news reported the station had received calls about similar sightings as ours, but the local news anchor claimed the reports had been confirmed by authorities as nothing more than weather balloons. My father looked at me and said, “Flying saucers, huh.” The voice in my head said, “Be Calm.” We never spoke of flying saucers or mysterious lights in the sky again.
I never bought the weather balloon story. Things made by the hands of man can’t hang in the sky unsupported without the slightest sway, bobbing, or movement. Air planes must move or fall from the sky, helicopters can’t hover without some degree of sway, and balloons can’t float without gently rocking even in the most tranquil sky. I am convinced what my sister and I saw that night was not of this world, and I will likely never believe otherwise. Why would two insignificant teenagers come under the scrutiny of beings not of this world? I don’t know, but I don’t dwell on it. I am afraid I might unlock some deep seeded secret to that night; a secret I am not sure I want to know. The voice is enough. Sometimes on nights with full moons, it is as clear as it was nearly forty-eight years ago – “Be calm,” it says. I am. I wait calmly and patiently.
©Jack Linton, January 23, 2018