I’m sitting at my desk, composing this weblog entry. I’m listening to Neutral Milk Hotel and munching on hickory smoke flavored soy nuts. As I’m mousing around, I bump into a soy bean I must have dropped and, without looking, I snatch it up and pop it in my mouth.

Crunch crunch crunch.

“Hm,” I think. “That doesn’t taste very much like hickory smoke. It tastes rather like grass. In fact, it tastes gross.” And so I spit it out into my hand only to see that I have not been gnashing a stray soy bean but a stray lady bug.


We’ve spent the last year trying to schedule a night to take Jeremy and Jennifer out to dinner, a dinner we owe them for favors rendered when we moved into this house. At last we picked out a date — October 28th — only to have Kris sabotage an evening of adults-only gluttony by suggesting we take the kids bowling. I’m glad she did.

We ate burgers and shakes and onion rings at Mike’s Drive-In before heading to Kellogg Bowl in Milwaukie.

I was wary of the place at first. I’m always wary of bowling alleys. In my mind, they’re smoky and seedy and filled with Big Lebowski type losers. It turns out Kellogg Bowl’s a nice place to take the family for a bit of fun. It also turns out that we ought to have had pizza before bowling. There’s a Pietro’s Pizza next door, of which both Jeremy and I have fond memories. Better yet, there’s a direct hotline from the bowling alley to the pizza parlor. You can pick up the hotline, place an order, and Pietro’s will deliver pizza to your lane. That is frickin’ awesome!

As we were waiting for the bumper lanes to open, the owner spied my camera. “Look at this,” he said, motioning me to follow him. He showed me his two digital cameras. “What kind do you have?” he said, so I showed him. “Wow,” he said. “I want something like that someday. Say, come with me.” He led me back to his office, where he showed me his little HP photo printer.

When Jenn came up to get shoes for the kids, the owner asked her about the digital camera she was carrying. She took a couple of photos, and the fellow darted back to his office with her memory card in order to make a couple of prints.

Here’s a little secret: I enjoy bowling. If it ever occurred to me, I might do it on a regular basis. I’m certainly never going to turn down an opportunity to bowl a couple of games. (When I sold insurance in eastern Oregon, I’d often go bowling in the evenings to kill time.) I haven’t been in a couple years. The last time was with Joel and Aimee and Mac and Pam. I thought I had an obsessive weblog entry about that night, complete with scores, but I can’t find it. (This entry has a comment from Joel about that night.)

This was the first time that Harrison and Emma had been bowling. Emma chose a pink ball, of course. Harrison started with an eight-pound ball, but had more success when a woman who worked at the alley brought him a six-pound ball. Many of Emma’s balls c-r-e-p-t down the alley, with barely enough force to topple a single pin when they reached their destination. Harrison did well. He even bowled a strike!

In the non-bumper lane, Kris, Jeremy, and I put up a poor showing. At the end of seven frames, my score stood at a woeful 65. I wasn’t even on pace to break 100. I went in search of a better ball, and I found one. It was pound heavier, the holes were better spaced, and my thumb didn’t stick upon release. I bowled three consecutive strikes. In my last three frames, I scored 76! My final score was 141, which is about average for me.

As we left the bowling alley, Jenn asked Harrison how he liked bowling. “I love it,” he said. “It’s really great.”

We’ll have to go back, but next time Jeremy and I are using the pizza hotline.

2 Replies to “Bumper Bowling”

  1. Lisa says:

    In high school, I actually took a quarter of bowling as a gym class. Everyone carpooled to nearby lanes and spent a class period playing. Although the class didn’t greatly improve my wretched bowling score, it certainly is my best HS gym memory. (Playing volleyball in a class full of Tongans is one of the most scary memories. When they spike a ball, it’s best to just cower.)

  2. jenefer says:

    Reading about your bowling adventure was very nostalgic. When both my parents were still alive and healthy, and Bob and I were already married but without children, a core group of us would go bowling every Sunday morning. The alley had a deal where you rented the lane for a set price for two hours, no matter how many games were bowled or how many people came in your group. It was great. I think that there were always six of us (Cecily & John) and sometimes more friends who just enjoyed bowling. After we bowled we went to the same place to have Sunday brunch. A very idyllic time. I think that it was then that I was able to see my parents as fun people in their own right instead of just parents. My Dad was so much fun. My Mom BOWLED!!! We all woned our own shoes and balls, so it was relatively inexpensive. What a great time we had. Thank you for reminding me to relive those great memories.

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