Day 25 -- It's Continental

Michigan is known for being the bowling capital of the world.
"...the number of bowlers and alleys per capita in Michigan has always been among the highest in the U.S., due, in part, to the proliferation of auto company leagues, a phenomenon that stretched out into other workplaces." 
-Mark Martin, the association manager of the Metro Detroit U.S. Bowling Congress, from the Detroit Free Press 5/9/15
Bowling Alleys were a part of my upbringing. My parents met at a dance at Continental Lanes in Roseville. Adults around me all seemed to belong to bowling leagues. Elementary school field trips were often to bowl. 

Yesterday we bowled ourselves silly at Bellaire Lanes and Games. Recently remodeled and reopened by new owners, without a trace of cigarettes from its previous life.

I typically bowl double digits--even with bumpers. 
But, my ball matches my shirt!


Alice's first strike gets a pat on the back,  
her second a cheer from Betty Woszinski  
who's just back from knee surgery.   Her third—  
"A turkey!" Molly calls out—raises everyone's eyes.  
They clap.   Teresa looks up from the bar.  
At the fourth the girls stop seeing their own pins wobble.  
They watch the little X's fill the row on Alice's screen—  
That's five.   That's six.   There's a holy space  
around her like a saint come down to bowl  
with the Tuesday Ladies in Thorp, Wisconsin.  
Teresa runs to get Al, and Fran calls Billy  
at the Exxon.   The bar crowds with silent men.  
No one's cheering.   No one's bowling now  
except Alice's team, rolling their balls  
to advance the screen around to Alice, who's stopped  
even her nervous laugh, her face blank and smooth  
with concentration.   It can't go on  
and then it does go on, the white bar  
reading "Silver Dollar Chicken" lowering and clearing  
nothing, then lowering and clearing nothing again.

Poem copyright ©2008 by Regan Huff