My mother’s best friend Carol, took her children bowling every Saturday morning, and talked my parents into doing the same. I have never been a morning person, so getting up early for school, and then getting up early on Saturday for an 8 am start time was…hazy to say the least.
The smell and noise of a bowling alley was something new for my 10 year old senses. There was a constant crashing of bowling balls hitting pins. There was the smell of floor polish, baby powder, and french-fries. French-fries? Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad.
We got in line for our shoes as the attendant behind the counter dusted each pair before he handed them out. The shoes were made of different colors, and they had a large number on the heel. I had never seen anything like them. Then we pick out our bowling balls. Mine was the lightest you could get and it was still too heavy. I then went to my mother for the main event…the french-fries. She said what she always said, “No.”
This new experience just got boring. I took my turn, I rolled the ball, I went back to my seat and watched others do the same. I didn’t get it. When I was told it was over, I sat where I was told in the eating area, and watched Carol’s children eat french-fries and hot dogs. As I watched guzzle their cokes and do the that-is-refreshing-sigh, it was more than I could bare. Carol sat there with Mom, and they were looking over papers and writing with pencils. I was ready to go home.
Suddenly, Carol started to giggle, then laugh, and tear up. “Dale, you scored a three,” she could barely get through the laughter, “How did you do that?”
My mother started laughing, and then the entire table. That was the birth of an ongoing joke that has lasted since that morning. So, anytime I went bowling, or that my family went bowling, or anytime there was a conversation with bowling in it, my score that morning is laughed about.
That memory came up the other day when I was laughed at when I did something silly. The bowling score of ‘3’ was a sore spot with me for a long time. When others were laughing, I was providing a courteous grin while stewing inside. Life gives us a score of ‘3’ sometimes, and today I find that I can laugh as well. I was ten. Stewing gained me nothing. I can decide to worry about scores and be miserable, or decide to have fun and laugh with everyone else after. Even when I bowl today I have yet to break ‘100’. But you know what? I can buy my own darn french-fries.