|Written in 2001 by
Ronald Joe Record
My Bowling Ball
|Copyright, Ronald Joe Record
All Rights Reserved
I attended Enid High School in Enid, Oklahoma where i grew up.
As a kid i used to hang out at the Trail bowling alley, play
pinball and bowl. I got fairly good and during high school i
continued to bowl competitively. I graduated from high
school and lost interest in bowling. That year when i started
college at Phillips University (also in Enid) i told Hoss (the
owner and manager of the Trail) that he could have my ball, shoes
and bag - maybe pass them on to some up-and-coming kid. Anyway,
i just left them there in my locker in the Trail bowling alley
in Enid, Oklahoma.
I attended Phillips for 4 years, got my B.A. in Political Science and moved to Gainesville, Florida to attend the University of Florida as a graduate student in Mathematics. I studied Math for a couple of years, had a great time, got fired as a T.A. (another story), dropped out of school and became a street person. I slept under bushes or in tree houses or camped out at springs. My favorite place to stay was a park in a residential section of Gainesville that had loads of Azelias. I'd sleep under the Azelia bushes and read science fiction by candlelight. This was 6 or 7 years after having graduated from Enid High School and 2 or 3 years after having moved 1500 miles from Enid to Gainesville.
Well, one Winter night in Gainesville it was cold and rainy. I was uncomfortable under the Azelias that night (tho they usually kept me pretty dry). So, i went scouting for a warm dry place to sleep. Walking around the neighborhood i spotted an abandoned three-story Victorian. Managing to jimmy the lock on the back door, i climbed the stairs to the third floor and found an octagon shaped room with a cushioned bench and windows on three sides. I lit a candle and lo and behold, there was a book in the room. It was a copy of Hiawatha by Longfellow and, as i opened it to read a twenty dollar bill fell out! Man, was i happy. I really needed the money to wash my clothes and the book was an excellent read in the warm dry comfortable old room.
Next morning as i woke i really gave thanks to that house. Even tho the park was comfortable most nights, you never really get a good nights rest sleeping outside in America as the cops are constantly hassling folks. I felt like i had slept for days. I decided to explore around the house a bit to see if there were any other magic surprises hidden within.
The place was pretty empty. No furniture, no nothing. Except for some boxes stored under the bottom flight of stairs. I started pulling these boxes out and looking through them. Nothing interesting, mostly just old accounting documents, bills and papers concerning the house. I pulled the last box out and there, hidden behind it, was a bowling bag. It looked like my old bowling bag - black with a purple diagonal stripe. I unzipped it and pulled out the bowling ball and, sure enough, it was my old ball with my name on it and everything!
I was dumbfounded. I didn't know what to do. I certainly couldn't haul a sixteen pound ball around with me as a street person. I wasn't good enough to be a professional bowler. What the heck did this mean? I just couldn't believe it. This was over 6 years and 1500 miles from where i'd left it. Even if someone had brought it out to Florida maybe to return it to me or something, it was mindboggling that i would find it by breaking into an abandoned house in the rain.
I just left it there. To this day i'm amazed. When i tell my friends and family this story they're all amazed (they believe me cause it's the truth and i'm not known as a tall-tail-teller). Nobody can explain this. It's an unbelievably unlikely coincedence with little or no great spiritual lesson or meaning. Just one of God's little jokes - i guess it must get pretty boring watching us scurry around making much ado about nothing.