My grandfather, Robert “Doc” Hinkley, loved bowling. It was his life – so much so that in the 30s and 40s he was famous for having his own bowling supply company in LA. He did what he loved and that was pretty cool.
He actually invented the original machine that measures and drills the holes in bowling balls – has the patent and everything.
Though he died before I was born, when I was growing up, my mom, his daughter, kept his legacy alive in her love of bowling.
She was a member of a bowling league as far back as I can remember, and subbed at least once a week, sometimes more. She lined her bedroom window with trophies for bowling 300s. She did what she loved, it was nerdy, but cool in it’s own right.
I tried my hand at it for a while in the 80s. Even made up some nerdy matching bowling shirts for our team facetiously called The Guttersweeps. We thought we were cool.
You might say that bowling is in my blood.
But based on a few less than great experiences, and one movie quote that puts bowling in a less than great light, for a good share of my adult life I have been denying my heritage. I prefer more literary pastimes, like Shakespeare, and blogging – although of late, I have lost my muse. But blood, as they say, is thicker than water, and despite anything I had hoped to the contrary, my son Robert “Bobby” Duncan, who thinks everything nerdy is cool, loves bowling.
For his 30th birthday, friends and family gathered at a local bowling establishment to celebrate the day. We all bowled a game or two with silly names on our scorecard, derived from Facebook, and Twitter handles, like Whatshernameagain, and BM (for Bobby’s Mom) and Skirt. They were all very cool, and I felt pretty lucky to be a part of that group of nerdy-cool people. Despite everyone’s fears to the contrary, we all had a really great time – due in no small part to the adventurous spirit of those gathered there, who had no idea as to the royal ancestral bowling blood flowing through Bobby’s and my veins.
Yesterday I had lunch with Bobby to celebrate my birthday. A couple of his friends who had attended the birthday bowling bash showed up and joined us, Skirt being one of them. She mentioned that she was disappointed that our bowling adventure hadn’t shown up in my blog. Once again, something too personal, or just too nerdy to write about…. wait! What? She not only had read, but was looking forward to reading my blog?!?!
It occurred to me at that moment that I was wallowing in my own self righteous pity. Who was I to deprive people of knowing that Bobby and I were descended from bowling greatness? What was I thinking, keeping the story of a gathering of this magnitude to myself? Where were my manners? Whenever two or more of you are gathered in a bowling alley, there has got to be love! Why, as the theme song to Arthur (the greatest movie to ever pay homage to the kind of people you meet in a bowling alley) says, ‘when you get caught between the moon and New York City, the best that you can do is fall in love’ or, barring that, write a blog post!