Bowling Ball

The garage sale is over, and today, Im boxing things up to give to the Kidney Foundation. As I peruse the many things that nobody wanted to buy, I debated with myself about whether I really wanted to give them away or put them back into their storage spaces. One such item was my bowling ball. I havent been bowling since my daughter was dating her now husband, and theyve been married for 14 years. Yet, Im reluctant to throw it away. It was my mothers ball, 11 pounds I think, and the finger holes are perfect for my hand, and the weight has always been just right for me. It rests in a very nice bag, nestled in with a pair of ugly bowling shoes, but at least they are my own ugly bowling shoes. Maybe someday somebody will suggest going bowling again, and Ill be all set. But wait. I had back surgery last January, and Im still in physical therapy for the pain it left me with. How stupid would that be to try flinging a ball that weighs more than Im allowed to lift.

That bowling ball also elicits some pretty powerful memories.

My mother and dad were each on bowling teams, and my dad managed a bowling alley, way too many years ago for me to admit. Lets say I was so little that I entertained myself for hours, using those thick black crayons to make drawings on the score sheets while my mother bowled with her teammates from her office.

A more recent and poignant memory comes to mind from that last game 15 years ago with Kara and Scott and Scotts parents. They all decided it would be fun to go bowling, and Kara, wanting to make sure I wasnt left out, invited me to go too. Normally, when a blind bowling league takes over a bowling alley, rails are set up on the left side of each alley. The blind bowler trails the rail with her left hand while making the approach, and when she reaches the end of the rail, she releases the ball, presumably in the center of the alley, and before the fowl line. But at the bowling alley we went to, there were no such rails to be set up. No problem for my resourceful daughter. She offered to be my human railing, holding my hand and walking with me while I made the approach, stopping me just in time to deliver the ball. That was one of the many times I was so very proud of her. I knew that everybody would be staring at us, but Kara didnt let that stop her from including me in the family activity. Let them stare. Sometimes you do what you have to do. Writing about this almost makes me want to go bowling. Almost. But these days, Id rather go outside and take a walk. Maybe Ill just keep the shoes, just in case.

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