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Farewell to The King: A toast

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Once upon a time, this Food Dude played golf more than I cooked -- and I have always cooked a lot.

Thanks to Mac Bentley and Mike Baldwin, those of us on the Sports desk in the early 1990s developed a regular playing group at the local municipal courses during off hours. My swing was developed on baseball diamonds, which kept me from ever being a very good golfer. Fueled by a competitive nature verging on compulsion and close proximity to Lincoln Park Golf Course during the time, I reached a level of competence equal to most average duffers.

Breaking 80 felt like a ticket to the U.S. Open even if I did use a mulligan -- on each nine.

It was during this time I started immersing myself in golf legend and lore, reading Harvey Penick's "Little Red Book," and inevitably to Arnold Palmer.

His charging days were over outside of the Senior Tour, but his army had not thinned. In fact, it was still taking recruits. It didn't take long after witnessing his DIY swing, engaging smile and unmistakable swagger, I signed up.

In fact, if I found myself in a spot where I needed to hook the ball around a thicket of trees or a bend in the fairway I employed what I called "The King Swing." Hands consciously kept close to the body as they passed toward the ball, a pronounced flick of the wrists and what felt like a swashbuckling finish, the club face twisted around like a corkscrew.

When your nickname is The King and have your own Army, legend is bound to follow. The beverage that bears his name is no exception. In Brad Brewer's Mentored by the King: Arnold Palmer’s Lessons for Golf, Business, and Life, he writes the drink’s name goes back to the early 1960s. Apparently, Arnie liked to mix his iced tea with a little lemonade.On a visit to the clubhouse at a golf course in Palm Springs, Calif., he asked a waitress to mix him one and left with it.A woman who witnessed the exchange asked for the same thing, referring to it as “that Palmer drink.” The Arnold Palmer went viral at a time when the term was still mainly used to describe infections. The unleaded summer drink is still popular today. The leaded version is called a John Daly, for obvious reasons.

It's a lovely sunny day, and The King leaves a legacy of more than six decades of inspiration. When the greens-keeper's son not allowed in the club where his father worked rises to such greatness is allows him to eventually buy that club while building a legion of fans his passing is worth celebration. A celebration with many toasts. And when the man you're toasting has a drink named for him, you toast with that drink.Here's to Arnold Palmer, who smoked cigarettes while he putted, charged and floundered with equal panache, never quit anything but smoking and spent a life paying forward the kindness he was shown. Unlike kings of yore, there is no succession. Golf will only ever kneel before one king. Here lies Arnie, when will come another?

The Arnold Palmer

Three parts unsweetened tea

One part lemonade

Orange and/or lemon slices

Ice

In a tall glass full of ice, add lemonade, then tea and garnish with sliced fresh orange and/or lemon.

Rest in peace, Your Majesty

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Dave Cathey

The Oklahoman's food editor, Dave Cathey, keeps his eye on culinary arts and serves up news and reviews from Oklahoma’s booming food scene. Read more ›

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