Monday, March 12, 2012


I personally am not aging, but our grandson Ian is. He is now four times older than a newborn. Four times! It's amazing, really. To recognize this fact and to get some cool free presents from his little friends, his parents, Matt and Marylee, planned a bowling party this past Saturday for nearly a dozen of Ian's chums at a duckpin bowling alley not far from home.

According to Wikipedia, "the origin of the sport is a subject of some debate. One possible origin is that duckpin bowling began in Baltimore around 1900, at a bowling center owned by future baseball Hall of Famers John McGraw and Wilbert Robinson (Ian's great great cousin perhaps?), both of them then Baltimore Orioles.

"It's is a variation of 10-pin bowling. The balls used in duckpin bowling are slightly larger than a softball and lack finger holes. They are thus significantly smaller than those used in ten-pin bowling. The pins, while arranged in a triangular fashion identical to that used in ten-pin bowling, are shorter, smaller, and lighter than their ten-pin equivalents, which makes it more difficult to achieve a strike. For this reason the bowler is allowed three rolls per frame (as opposed to the standard two rolls per frame in ten-pin bowling)."

"Okay, kids, you get all that?" Matt asked before setting the kiddies loose on the alleys. "Sure, Ian's daddy, we got it. Now get out of our way."

And off they went, shattering record after record for gutter balls, pins left standing, balls thrown too lightly to make the trip to the other end of the alley, and frustrated little kids crying. In other words, they had a blast! The kids were Ian's classmates and the children of Matt and Marylee's friends. They were extremely well-behaved.

After an hour or so, it was time for the food. Pizza. The table was already set with Star Wars plates and cups, so the kids took their places and awaited the pizza. The adults enjoyed a slice, too, even though we had gorged ourselves on chips, pretzels, and dangerously hot Cheezits.

Once the pizza had been consumed, it was time for dessert. Each child had a miniature birthday cake, called a "cup cake." Adorning each was a character from -- you guessed it -- Star Wars. Who would have thought that four-year-olds would be into the same movie and characters that enthralled their parents 35 years earlier?

One of the cupcakes was special. It had a candle on it, and it was soon lighted for the traditional singing of "Happy Birthday." The kids performed the little ditty as Ian soaked it all in. I must say, I don't think the Vienna Boys Choir needs to worry about this group grabbing the spotlight from them any time soon.

Once the cup cake debris was removed from the table. it was time for the Main Event -- the giving and receiving of the gifts. Like all four-year-olds, Ian has mastered the art of opening a gift in one quick rip. He's a pro at it, really. He does not want the onlookers to have to wait around too long to see what's inside. And, unlike any other kid I have ever seen (especially his father), Ian opens a card carefully, admires the artwork, and never looks around for money!

So Ian got some cool things, some Star Wars in theme, several cars and trucks (he loves big vehicles and machinery), and other things I was not able to see from my vantage point. He very nicely thanked everyone, and then folks began to head home. Another of the hundreds of birthday parties they will attend in their lives had come to an end.

We stopped by Matt and Marylee's place for some quiet time before heading home ourselves. Ian played with some of his gifts, becoming a Jedi knight with his own light saber and helmet.

Before long we were on I-83 heading north toward home and thinking about setting the clocks ahead one hour.

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