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The Village People
Michael Bamberger
July 16, 2001
The World Golf Village has been slow to get off the ground but quick to get on the natives' nerves
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July 16, 2001

The Village People

The World Golf Village has been slow to get off the ground but quick to get on the natives' nerves

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No curtain. The stage is mostly bare. There is a stand of tall pines stage left, the frame of a house under construction stage right. The STAGE MANAGER enters. He has a New England accent and wears an old-style golf shirt, with a hard collar. The time is now.

STAGE MANAGER: Welcome to the World Golf Village, St. Johns County, Florida. Our village is located 10 miles north of St. Augustine and 42 miles south of the Jacksonville Airport, terminal to main entrance, a clear shot straight down I-95. Someday, they say, 18,000 people will live here, on 6,300 acres. There'll be three or four golf courses, a pharmacy, a dry cleaner—every kind of amenity. That's all in the future. So far, it's only the pioneers, the Phase Oners. There are a Publix supermarket, two courses, the World Golf Hall of Fame and a whole mess of plans. Don't have an exact population count for you, but 254 houses are completed, and, if the houses average three occupants, that's 762 people, not counting the Murray boys. Bill and his five brothers have opened up a Murray Bros. Caddy Shack restaurant here. They say 50,000 cars pass the Village, on average, every day on I-95. That's what they say.

A sixtyish man named Red Haire drives a truck west on International Golf Parkway. The World Golf Village is on his right; the cattle ranches he has worked all his life are on his left. He turns his head to face the bulls and to avoid looking at the development. He fiddles with the truck radio.

RED HAIRE: It'll always be Nine Mile Road to me.

STAGE MANAGER: There goes Red, Red Haire, who's lived around here for 47 years. He doesn't have much use for the Village, Red. Still calls it by its old name, Gibbs Hammock. Taught his son Johnny to hunt and fish on this land. How to kill a wild boar. Now he buys his pork chops at the Publix. He could buy golf balls there too, aisle 6, but he's got no use for golf. His son, neither.

Four o'clock. The girls are startin' their after-school shifts at the supermarket. Tiffany Steinbach, she's a sophomore at Bartram Trail High. That's her on register 2. Good money. Six, seven dollars an hour. Tiffany's stepfather is Johnny Haire, Red's boy. She lives out in the country in a double-wide, with Johnny, her mom, Gretchen Haire, little sister, Elizabeth, and Red. Cassie Webster, she's a freshman at B.T. She's bagging on the express line. Cassie's one of the few kids attending Bartram who lives in the World Golf Village, in a three-bedroom with her brother and her mom, Jamie Fitzgerald. Jamie's divorce got final just today. She's not proud of that, not proud that her marriage didn't work out, but it's the truth nonetheless. Every life has its dramas.

TIFFANY: You going to the prom?

CASSIE: No. You?

TIFFANY: No. A beat. Why don't you ask—

CASSIE: Are you kidding? He is such a loser.

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