The skies have finally opened up and a mighty thunderstorm is rolling through Austin. All the shaking, rattling and noise brings to mind something I’ve been regretting these past few years.
I forgot to say “bowling.” I know, I know. How could no one say “bowling?” If it was Thursday, you were bowling, right? Dart Bowl, that bastion of polished wood, 10 pins and enchiladas, was your home away from home. If it was my 16th birthday, and the cake had been cut — and it was Thursday, so you went bowling.
I’ll never forget when I was in labor with Ben. You and Mom were there as support for me and Mark. Your sixth grandchild was refusing to be born. (He is still exceedingly stubborn, just like his grandfather.) You looked at me, you looked at the clock, and said, “Looks like this is going to take a while. I’m sure I won’t miss the birth — and seeing as how it’s a Thursday…” And then you left! Of course, you were correct; it was hours before he was born. And, well, it was a Thursday.
What is it about bowling that you love? The rumble of the ball as it rolls down the lane? The crash of the pins when you get a strike? The precision needed for a great game? Or is it the camaraderie, those special hours when all the worries of the world slip away as the spares and strikes fill the screen?
I still drink my coffee out of the coveted High Score Award mugs that you won. (Yes, I add cream — and I wash them with soap. No, that does not ruin the flavor.)
So, there you have it! I wish I’d said all this at the memorial service — to add your love of bowling to list of your other loves: baseball, crossword puzzles, the Corps, good friends and your family.
Even more, I wish I could tell you this in person. Your team shirt hangs at Mom’s; the bag still sits in her closet; your custom bowling ball still inside. In a game some people mistakenly think is all brawn and brute, you had style and grace.
I miss you every day, Dad. Hope that wherever you are, the lanes are perfectly waxed, the pins are perfectly set and the strikes shake the sky!
With love forever and always,
Blitch Maccini lives in Austin.