Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Trifecta: The Set-Up

It was 7:30 on Saturday morning.

"Wake up, darling. It's time to get going," mom singsonged lightly.

She would visit his room next.

It was akin to razzing ornery, hibernating bear cubs she'd tell us later. I was eight or nine and my baby brother was only a year younger.

And so it went.

Week after week. Fall through spring. Year in and year out.

The children of our quiet little tree-canopied street were packed up.

Standing side by side, peeking through the picture window drapery, we waited for a blurry-eyed, pajama clad carpool parent to whisk us away in the early morning chill. My bag protecting a baby blue, marbleized ball on the floor next to me, with one hand I nibbled a brown sugar cinnamon Pop-Tart. Money clutched tightly in the other. 

Shoes were fitted; lights illuminated the glossy hardwood lanes of Elmhurst Bowl at precisely 8:30. Pizza was delivered promptly at 10:30 and pitchers of Coke were regularly replenished throughout the morning. We bowled three games every week.

We argued over the scorer's table. Everyone wanting to. Hand scoring improving our burgeoning math skills.

Spares, strikes, two strikes in a row!

Afterwards if we were lucky, they'd let us walk next-door to the Roller Rink and skate (to David Cassidy), order fries and play pinball for an hour. Staying even longer was no problem. All we had to do was ask. Our jean pockets were always filled with enough change for the pay phone.

Childhood bliss! A kid's dream come true! And EVERY week!

Stumbling back home after 1:00, we only wanted to lie down. We were docile, completely worn out and perfectly perfect children again. 

It never occurred to me at the time, of course. I didn't have that "Oprah" moment until I was an experienced grade school parent myself. 

The whole darn thing was a set up. They were always still in their pajamas. Coffee cups in hand. Big, bright smiles on their faces when we arrived home. Too tired to give them anything resembling a fuss.

I've come to view it this way. Bowling is a lifelong skill. And I CAN still roll a turkey on more than a few occasions.

The word this week at  iwww.trifectawritingchallenge.com is turkey, the 3rd definition, of course.

17 comments:

  1. Oh those sneaky moms and dads...
    Great work with the prompt!

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    1. They had it all dialed in. I still like to bowl! Thanks, Draug.

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  2. Ha! I should have come up with something like that for my brood this summer! Such fun descriptions throughout this piece.

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    1. Thank you! I looked when mine were that age. Never seemed to work out for us. There were leagues but something about the timing for my parents...all Saturday morning to themselves?

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  3. David Cassidy!!! I must confess I was in love with Danny Bonaduce, though.
    Terrific vignette, Gina! And those Saturday mornings!

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    1. Danny B. lived in Chicago for a lot of years. Yes, it must have been pretty sweet for them! Thanks, Kymm.

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  4. Replies
    1. It's funny. I hadn't thought about that for a long time. We used to take our kids to the cosmic bowling, for many years when they were young, on New Years Eve.

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  5. Ha! Clever parents - I'm going to have to figure out how to do something like this...

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    1. I give them credit! Never worked out like that for us...

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  6. I'm jealous that you know how to bowl. And roller skate. I never got to hang out there. :( But I did listen to plenty of David Cassidy. My husband spent some years growing up in Minnesota where bowling was a big deal. Maybe the warm winters in Florida didn't lend itself to indoor activity. But I still wish I could bowl.

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    1. You're probably right. It's more of a cold weather thing. Haven't been since last winter. I can bowl when I'm trying. I'd much rather be outside though.

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  7. Clever parents. Worked out for everyone as you had fun too. I like the childhood bliss! excitement you evoke. I've bowled a turkey only on a Wii game, and that doesn't count. Such a nice story, Gina, redolent with nostalgia. I enjoyed it. (As an aside - I recently read that book you recommended on Twitter a few months ago, The Dinner. Wow - thought-provoking and disturbing. I couldn't put it down. Read it straight through in a day. It's a good one to get you thinking. Thanks for the rec. Now I tell my reader friends about it.)

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    1. We had a blast. All the kids in our neighborhood were in the kiddie league, too. Coke, pizza, bowling, all at same time? It's a wonderful memory for me. I need to ask my brother (but he remembers nothing).

      Wasn't it disturbing. I would have to put it down (for a second or two) because I was a bit sick to my stomach. It is such a fast read. And I'm so very happy you "enjoyed" it. Yes, very thought provoking.

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  8. That's pretty clever, and a much better experience, probably, than the movie I plop my kids in front of on a Saturday morning at 6 am. :-) Thanks for linking up.

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    1. Well, we watched our fair share of TV too. But this Saturday morning thing was brillant!

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  9. Of course we love the activities that tire the kids out. That's smart parenting there :)

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