Friday, February 26, 2010

she picked up a lot of spares, but was stingy with the strikes

Reader, this is my library (where I read poetry--like Coffeehouse Meditations which you can enter to win with a $5 Starbucks card if you leave a comment!).

What is Jan doing in Green Girl's library? Good question. Last Friday night at league Mr. D surprised me with a brand new bowling ball. Right there on the spot we had it custom drilled to the size of my hand (small) and fingers (stout with large chapped knuckles). I wasn't very excited or gracious at first because Jan and I've been through a lot over the years. We had a 139 average going. But I didn't want Mr. D to feel unappreciated. Chin up, I took a swig of my Spotted Cow and I bowled with the new ball.

It wasn't my best night at the bowling alley. I'd sprained my left foot slightly at karate class (my weight-bearing foot as a right-handed bowler) and I kept missing my mark. The new ball fit my hand better so I had to break my habit of gripping with my thumb. Even with all of my "technical problems" the new ball kept knocking down pins. "It's a magic ball!" I kept exclaiming every time I got a strike. The new ball and I bowled a 152 average our first night together. Apparently, in bowling, as in many other activities, equipment matters. It's the size of your ball that counts. Ahem.

At the end of our series I picked up the new ball. Jan had sat in her bag all night and Mr. D suggested I leave her behind to become an alley ball.


"It's what she'd want," he soothed, "she'd still be bowling, she'd still be having fun!"

I wasn't ready to let her go, though. My emotional attachment to a 50-cent thrift shop Columbia 300 emblazoned with the name "Jan" had grown deep over the years. I held her in my hands, torn because I'd tasted the sweet success of a new average. I could be the best woman bowler in our couples league with the new ball. There was no reason to keep Jan. She could be put out to pasture.

Our friend Beth broke in, "I think Green Girl needs some time, D. She doesn't need to decide tonight. Let her bring Jan home and think on it."

I smiled at Beth with relief. The new ball went in the bowling bag and I carried Jan home in my arms. She's resting now in the library. The Bumble Book club suggested I put Jan out in the garden like a gazing ball during the summer months.

Reader, what do you do with an old bowling ball? I kind of like her sitting there in my library. It's companionable and she matches the paint and carpeting so well. But the Bumble gals gently hinted that this might become dysfunctional--like Tom Hanks and his volleyball friend Wilson in Castaway.

And there's the question of what to name the new ball. I'm leaning towards "Jan II." It has to be a 3-letter bowling name, suitable for a broad shouldered gal who smokes cigarettes, gets her hair set in pin-curlers every week, wears polyester because it's wash & wear, and can whip up a mean Jell-O salad. A name like "Peg" or "Flo" or "Roz." It might help to know my bowling bag (a gift I received years ago from the generous Mr. D) is embroidered "Jan" with hot pink thread.

Spill it, reader. I want your advice. And tell me, what old thing have you clung to despite getting a better replacement?


  1. I think the ball looks great in there. The colors are perfect! I have a hard time getting rid of stuff even when it's been replaced. I wore an old pair of after-ski boots totally out and it was very hard for me to toss them out. My husband had to do it and I nearly cried. They had tigers embossed on the front of them and I haven't found another pair like them.

  2. Does my husband count? Wait, I haven't found a new replacement - only kidding-

    Jan needs to stay in the library- get an enclosed glass case with brass name plate.

  3. Awwwww...I love the story of Jan. Funny how sometimes our possessions can take on personalities. I would keep her for awhile, but I think hubby's a little bit right - she probably still wants to bowl. :)

    As far as a name for the new ball...hmmm, JII? I like Flo too.

  4. I think a gazing ball in the garden would be perfect - it combines two things you love and is a nice memorial to Jan.

    As for the name of the new ball... I like Peg, but if you wanted to branch out to five letters, I think Doris is a delightful name for a bowling ball.

    I kept the same LL Bean backpack for 20 some-odd years. Still regret getting rid of it.

  5. I still think she should go out in the garden in the summertime.

    She's like an old lady...content to be inside in the winter, but when the nice breezes of spring and summer come back, they enjoy sitting on the back porch, letting the gentle wind ease through their pin-curled hair while they drink lemonade and crochet, holding their arms above their jutting bosom and rocking, making another blanket for another grandchild.

    But the Libarary is good too. However, if she stays inside, she needs some kind of stand or something to sit on, even if it's just a canning ring to perch on. Older ladies like to perch on a chair or settee instead of camping out on the floor.

    I can't get rid of my raggedy ann doll....she has no face anymore (the stitches wore out at least 15 years ago) is on her 3rd set of legs, and her 4th outfit. She's currently residing in Kitty's closet, and Troy keeps asking why she stays....he says she's creepy looking. But she was my best friend for so long, I just can't get rid of her, or even worse, hand her over to a destructive toddler. :)

  6. I'd like to see Jan out in the garden - that's where you spend a lot of time any way! And you'd better name that new ball "Marcia", I'm just sayin'. ;)

  7. omg don't let go of JAN! *haha!* She looks great in the library...can she be a doorstop or something? Maybe one of your young'uns will be interested in bowling some day in the future, and JAN will be ready! Or if you have a non-bowling-ball-owning guest or friend, JAN can help out when y'all want to hit the lanes!

    For the new ball: I like "Madge" since she may well be a "Madgic" ball!
    * ; )

  8. I love it when we anthropomorphize things. My sister had a car named Two-Tone Tommy. Some 20 years later, my whole family knows what she is talking about when she mentions "the time I took Tommy to..."

    I like the idea of putting Jan in the garden. I have a lovely image of her half-hidden by blooms and leaves or crowned with snow.

    As far as a name for the newbie, I'm torn. I like Flo, it's a great name for a bowling ball. I'm not fond of Jan II but there is the issue of the ball bag (ahem). Would christening her "Jan II" somehow diminish both Jan and the freshie?

  9. FLO !!!

    and in the garden is just brilliant !

  10. I like Roz, it suits you. I know there are a ton of things I can't get rid of for sentimental reasons. I also have a hard time parting with or replacing something when the original item is still in great condition.

    We traded in the hubby's SUV after 10 years and I felt so bad looking at it on the dealer's lot as we drove past for a few weeks before it found a new home. It was out in the cold Jan. weather instead of our insulated garage. How pathetic is that!?! I'm the one who told him to get a new one because I worried about the black hole it was becoming but yet we humanize these things. I felt like it was crying to me, "How could you do this to me?" So keep Jan and take good care of her.

  11. While it's now something that would every occur to me, I really think the ball works there. My weirdo piece of decor that other people question (and that my mother continually tries to "put away") are books. Stacks of books here and there and not nearlyenough shelves to contain them.

  12. Can you embroider on the other side of the bag?Leave Jan in for the winter and in the garden in summer.

    Other choices for you:Pam, Sue, Pat, Bev, Sal and don't forget Dot.

  13. What new thing has replaced an old thing?


    Again, another question I can't answer.

  14. The ball is beautiful. However, we all need to cut the cord sometimes and move on to greater technology. On behalf of Columbia 300, in honor of your loyalty to Jan, I would like to offer you a Columbia 300 shirt. While this shirt would in no way replace Jan, it will help you keep her with you every time you bowl, no matter what ball you throw.

    - Brenda Green
    Marketing Services Manager
    Columbia 300/Ebonite Int'l

  15. I like the idea of the ball out in the garden. hehehe Besides, with my boys around that bowling ball could do a LOT of damage to my house. ;)

    How about "Jen"? Just one letter away from your precious Jan. :)

  16. Your new ball is named Flo. Trust me on this--the universe told me. Jan needs to be retired and admired. Something I also wish to attain one day. In the meantime, I don't think Jan will mind Flo using her bag, just put Flo's name on there too. It'll help them feel like they're on the same team. And hey, if you ever have guests over when you're going bowling, you'll have a "spare"! It's a win-win. Just give Jan a little attention and a rub now and then, and it'll all be okay. ;)

  17. I like the gazing ball idea. Jan is lovely; she'll bring a smile to your face every time you see her outside.
    If you keep her in the library, she could sit on a color-coordinated pillow on top of the corner table. Or if you prefer, she could sit on a black velvet swatch for contrast.

  18. Okay, and the thing I can't lose? It's really things. Books. I have box upon box or children's books, and even though I don't teach young kids anymore, those books are staying in the house. I'm not losing my Eric Carle collection for anything.

  19. As soon as you were describing the name, "Flo" was what popped into my mind.

  20. I probably have my balling ball in the basement somewhere. It hasn't been used in at least 20 years. Bought a new iron...the old one is one the shelf. Bought a new sewing machine, the old one is in the closet. Bought a new phone...put the old one in the drawer with at least 5 other old get the picture.

    Some things just deserve a nice place to retire...other things just need to be thrown out!

  21. Love the garden idea. But, that's a toughy!!

    What I can't give up is my 13 year old confirmation Bible. No, my newer Bibles aren't "better" (that would be sacrilege!) but they aren't full of coffee stains and dog ears. But still, I always go back to my confirmation Bible...

  22. I have so many "collections" sitting in my basement of stuff I don't want to get rid of - I'm not the one to ask here.

  23. Fun story. I wouldn't go with Jan II for the new ball. The weight of it might affect "her" performance. Maybe Naj (to keep the bag relevant).

    I had an old yellow dutch oven pot from a garage sale that I kept many years after we received a new fancy one as a gift.

  24. We have a long tradition of naming cats Fred, dolls Five, and boats the Kiawah, so I vote name her JanII. (There is the bag after all!)

    Am totally impressed by your bowling mastery. Next time you come to Prague you'll have to try some of the many mini lanes around town.

  25. Oh, I like 'Flo', too!

    I keep handbags. Even if they're mildewy and have paint spilled on them. WHYYYY can't I let go?

  26. That is one awesome story! I love Mr. D's gentle comments about where Jan needs to be right now. Personally, I couldn't leave her on the floor--I'd always be stubbing my toe or my boys would be rolling her out into the middle of the room to trip over.

    I like Cat and Eva...not sure what you'd do about the bag though.

  27. Are you kidding? Jan should become a bookend. Find a little thingy to stabilize her and there you go, the prefect heavy object to keep your books from falling over. Probably best if you don't put her too high...

    As for the name, why change a good thing? Why can't the new ball be Jan, too? My grandfather used to have guinea pigs. He "spoiled" them with sips of gin and coffee, and not surprisingly they did not grow very old. When one died, he got a new one. They all had the same name to keep it simple.

    I am all for keeping it simple. Happy Bowling!

  28. Oh man! You can't get rid of Jan!!! Make her a gazing ball )you can tile flat marbles on her) or leave her in the library...what if you found a cool vase/urn and set her on there?

    I vote for Flo or should embroider the new name next to Jan.

  29. I'm going out on a limb here and saying name the new ball, "Deb."

    It's got such a ring to it. Rings of cigarette smoke.

    Meanwhile, keep Jan! I love the gazing ball idea. You love to garden and you love Jan. A natural fit.

    Things I can't get rid of?

    A bag of wine corks my mom used to make people sign with the date, their names and where they were enjoying the wine.

    There are about 558 corks. Takes up some room, but I adore them so.

  30. Hilarious. Your description of the sort of woman after whom one would name Ball II was, "Peg". Continuing to read, and there it was... Peg surely sounds like just the sort of name to replace Jan.

    Still... the what to do with Jan does present a quandary. Not so sure about her as a gazing ball. It sounds a little too junk yard. Perhaps Mr. D is right in that she could go into circulation as an alley ball. Then you could visit her, but she would still be functional.

  31. My dad is a bowler. He has about 8 balls at any given time.
    When he's really done with a ball and it's too old and defunct to pass down to someone else - the grandkids climb up on the roof and take turns dropping it on the sidewalk until the ball is broken into bits. Then they use the bits of the broken ball to line the edge of the garden. It's pretty.

    I like the idea of keeping the same name. My folks have had a series of 4 cats. All were named Kitty.


Spill it, reader.