Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Skating, Softball, Bowling and Various Forms of Dancing

It's kind of funny...I have never thought of my mother as being particularly athletic.  But, as I reflect on my childhood....I have to realize that's just not correct.

Before I was five (we moved to Arkansas from Texas when I was five, so life was divided at that age...), my mom took figure skating lessons.  I think the only reason I remember this fact is because it was at the skating rink a dispute with my older brother led to my mother's shattered elbow!  Let me explain....it started over a Spree, you know, it's a little round hard sweet/sour colored candy that comes in a long roll.  (In all honesty, it might have been some other kind of candy, but it will forever be Spree in my mind.)  My brother had the roll, but it was my turn to have one.  He, looking out for my dental health I'm sure, wouldn't allow it.  As we struggled with each other, a little candy Spree flew over the concrete barrier that surrounded the rink, out onto the polished hardwood surface.  I remember it in slow motion....my mom rounded the corner and slid into the candy dot, causing one wheel to lock up.  She tumbled forward and cried out in pain.

The last memory I have of figure skating was my mom's arm in a sling, being brought out of the doctor's office in a wheelchair.

Years later, for at least one season, she played women's softball with a group of her friends.  She had a glove and a ball and the cute softball outfit to go with them.  I know I went with her to the softball field, although I can't say that I ever sat and watched her play, because I had friends at the ball field with whom I passed the time.  My memory of the ball field consisted of dusty red dirt, and sweat (my own).

When I was in about the fourth or fifth grade my mother joined a bowling league.  I remember her blue and white bowling bag, unbelievably heavy ball, and slick-bottomed shoes.  Every single Monday throughout the school year she set out for the local alley hoping this would be the night for a turkey.  She did several things to improve her score.  She was custom fit for a ball.  She bought a bowling glove and special towel.  She joined a summer league (at least once) to avoid losing the progress she had made throughout the year.  She even sacrificed and drank a couple of beers while there, "to loosen up her nerves a little bit"!  She was a good bowler, even if she wasn't going to leave her family to go on tour with the PWBA.

Each Monday she would give me a dollar bill and send me along to play in the arcade.  It was there I learned to play Pac Man and pool.  Four quarters got three games and 3 songs on the juke box.  I can hear "Hot Blooded" playing in my head as I write out this memory, as if it's playing in the corner of the room right now!  I'm sure I might have watched her bowl, if I ran out of money and my friends weren't there.  But, I'm just as sure that didn't happen more than once in all the years she bowled (at least eight, while I was at home).

One thing I didn't have the opportunity to see my mom do (when I was younger), was dance.  My mom loved to dance.  She and my dad would go to conventions where I had visions of her dancing the night away.  As I got older, I got to go with them and saw her out on the floor, shoes kicked off, up on her toes, being twirled around in a waltz or two-step and she could Cotton-Eyed-Joe like nobody's business!

When I was in the ninth grade, she planned a special surprise for my dad.  She bought a belly dancing outfit!!  In preparation for a special evening, she went in search of finger symbols.  As luck would have it, she stumbled upon Mirana's School of Middle Eastern Dance.  Mirana was the youngest 50-something woman I had ever seen in my life.  She not only sold my mom finger symbols, Mirana convinced my mom to take lessons in order to learn how to use them!  Not wanting to go alone, my mom convinced me to go with her.  We learned how to click our fingers, and shake our hips, to the beat of various Middle Eastern music.  I don't remember watching her although we danced several times together, because I was too busy trying to perfect the moves myself.

After all those years spent not watching...Mother, I want you to know, I saw you.  You inspired me then, and you continue to inspire me today.  (By the way, her sport of late is Shuffle Board.) 


  1. What a cool mom! I hope my boys have that to say about me one day. :)

  2. That's lovely! Your last paragraph really chocked me up.

  3. Oh wow - your last paragraph gave me a huge lump in my throat.

    Hope you're well!

  4. What a tribute to an inspiring active life!