On dreary, rainy days, like the ones we’ve been having here, the past two weeks, my brother, my sister and I used to go bowling–in the cellar.
We had the ball and the pins, which you weighted by filling them with water. If you didn’t fill the ball just right, the water sloshed around inside of it and made it do strange things when you released it.
We had a ready-made lane in our cellar, between the wall on one hand and the furnace and hot water heater on the other. So as the ball wandered down the alley, bumping into one or the other barriers would return it to its intended course. And there was a plastic sheet to guide us in setting up the pins–if we were able to knock them down.
We never did learn how to keep a proper bowling score, but at least we could count the pins that we knocked over. And the ball made a pleasant sloshing sound as it meandered down the cement floor. The pins made a dull thud when you hit them: not at all like the satisfying “ka-pocka!” they made when you hit them in a real bowling alley. But this one was our own personal bowling alley, and we were mighty glad to have it.
Years later my father bought a wooden pool table, which soon warped just enough to make a straight shot impossible. Really, water-filled bowling was a lot cheaper and much more fun. Even if my sister had to use both hands to roll the ball: the price she paid for being the youngest.
I think we’d all be very pleased if we could somehow play it again, Sam.