Saturday, February 10, 2007


Bowling is a little different today.

The balls are fluorescent colors. Scoring is computerized and completely automatic. Brand new socks are given to each bowler to use. And there are kiwi ices.

Kiwi ices were not a part of my bowling past. I remember the smoke filled hall, too tight shoes only doused with talcum powder between users and the small nub of an eraser-less pencil you used to keep score.

On paper. You had to know to add the next frame after a spare, and how to score a strike. I don’t remember how to score a strike but it didn’t matter. The computer did it for me.

I can remember going to the lanes with my father, and later as a teenager as a hang out place. It was cheap, you could smoke being fairly certain your parents weren’t going to show up and it was the only place aside from Pizza Hut with video arcade games.

Everyone knew how to bowl. I watched my kids toss the balls from the ball return area and realized we have not gone bowling enough. I started by rolling the ball between my legs because I was too small to have my hands reach the grip.

There are some things I feel like I’ve always known. I always knew I was adopted. I always loved food. And I always knew how to bowl.

Duckpin? My friend asked, whose son I was taking along.


To me, being from Upstate New York, there was only one kind of bowling. None of this silly candle pin stuff. I didn’t know there was a name for regular, normal, bowling. But this is New England and I should know better by now. It’s been twenty years. There are bubblers, frappes and candlepin bowling.

I don’t like the little balls and thin pins. Too hard. No heft behind the ball. Although at the Milky Way lounge last summer, Walter and I learned the secret from a sweet boy we were bowling with- put a little spit on your hands.

Hey, it works. I still want to throw those balls over-hand at the pins, though.

Today was fun. I have to be honest, if the bumpers weren’t up, I wouldn’t have broken 100. That’s another thing I don’t remember. Bumpers.

Jake’s a natural, as we’re finding he is at most sports. Ben has a weird twist but can really knock the balls down. Zach loves his pal and they both share an incredibly sophisticated sense of humor that I love. Bowling, it seems, amuses them.

Walter and I found we share a bowling past. My mother may have been a southern debutant but my father was more working class. Well… fossil hunting wasn’t all that working class. Okay, I don’t know why he took us, except for the fact that everyone bowled when I was a kid.

But not with fluorescent balls.


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