Saturday, 1 November 2014

I Wouldn't Bet On It

When I was 8 or 9 I had acquired a silver dollar from somewhere. Even 50 years ago that was a big deal and I was in love with that shiny, heavy, dollar coin.

Uncle Duane was home on leave from the Air Force and somehow I got into an argument with him about something and in all my 8 or 9 year old self righteousness made a bet with him about something. The bet was for my silver dollar and, of course, I lost.
I was gutted.

After letting me mope and grieve for a couple of hours Duane gave the silver dollar back to me but only after extracting a promise from me that I would never bet again.

Fast forward 10 years or so. Mom and Dad had moved out to British Columbia and I was still attending the University of Maine. I was able to get a ride to Bridgeton where Duane was a Game Warden so it was arranged that I would spend the Christmas break with him and his family.

Sitting at home all day with Duane's wife and my cousins was not a lot of fun so I took to walking into town and going to the bowling alley every day and bowling a few practice strings. I was in a league at the University and I thought I was hot stuff. Actually, I was hot stuff, at least at the University of Maine at Orono.

Walking home one afternoon Duane pulled up beside me in his police car and offered me a ride home. I got in and he asked me where I'd been. I told him I had been doing practice strings at the alley and he asked me if I was any good. Of course I had to brag and that opened up some banter about who was the better bowler with me insisting I was better than Duane and indeed I did have a wicked average. The banter continued and Duane asked me if I wanted to put any money on who was the better bowler. I sensed a quick kill and an opportunity to make some easy cash which was always in short supply for a college boy. I asked him if $50 was enough and he threw on the lights and siren, spun the car around in the middle of the road and then headed back to the bowling alley.

When we went in to the lanes a few people said hello to him but I didn't think much of it. Everybody knew the local game warden. Duane stripped off his uniform top and we got down to business. Best of three strings.

It only took him two to do the job. Turned out my 190 average didn't stand up to his 230.

He put his uniform back on then just held out his hand without saying anything. I took out my wallet and paid him the $50 and then trudged back to the car and we headed for home. As we pulled into the driveway he said, "We had a deal you wouldn't bet again."

All those years and he remembered it. So did I and I knew I was not getting my money back this time. I could kiss that fifty bucks goodbye.

Once a year the Filipino community here rents the bowling alley for an afternoon and we all head there for bowling and pizza. Tess and I and Jamie and Lita won a trophy one year. I am not very good any more and if it were not for Lita there would have been no trophy. The next few years have been a bust.

This year Tess and I are bowling with Jamie and Lita again. We may get our names on the trophy once again. I am not betting any money on it though.

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