Down East 2013 ©
Well, it’s official. For the third year in a row, Mahoosuc Mills is number one in the Franklin County Town Employees Bowling League. In fact, we’ve been in the top three for a couple of decades now. That’s because we have a bona fide ringer on our team: Sadie Dupris, our town librarian. You’ve heard of Minnesota Fats? Well, we call her Virginia Slims. She’s that good!
As you’ve probably guessed, Sadie is tall and reed thin, with this helmet of gray hair. Hardly looks like she could pick up a bowling ball, let alone throw it (and we’re talking the big balls, here). But when she does, it is something to watch. She kind of moves in slow motion, but her form is graceful as all get out. Almost looks like she’s dancing, the way she rises on her toes, takes three steps and sends her famous hot pink ball down the alley. You don’t even hear the ball hit the wood. She puts a little spin on it, too, so nine times out of ten, her ball curves in at the last minute and bang! Every one of them pins go flying.
Sadie moved to Mahoosuc Mills about twenty years ago when her husband, Frank, was transferred to run the Napa Auto Parts Store. So she’s still kind of a newbie ‘round here. Sadie got a job as an assistant clerk in the town office, but the trouble was, she wasn’t very good at it. Not organized enough. Constantly misfiling things. A little spacey, really. She was driving Gladys Knight crazy. (Not Gladys Knight with the Pips. I’m talking about Gladys Knight, the Mahoosuc Mills Town Clerk.) Gladys is persnickety, you could say, and I guess it was clear from the get-go that Sadie’s days in the town office were numbered.
Then one evening, when the town employees’ bowling team was practicing for their first game of the season down to the Prides Corner Bowling Lanes, Gladys spotted Sadie and Frank a few lanes over. Gladys is a decent enough bowler, and back then she was the official scorekeeper, too. (This is before they computerized it.) As Gladys likes to say, she’s “detail oriented.” What got Gladys’ attention that evening was the sound of someone nearby getting an awful lot of strikes. And from her vantage point, she could see her teammates noticed it, too.
Gladys naturally thought Frank was the ace bowler. Soon enough, she realized it was Sadie. And with a sinking heart, she knew there was no way she could fire her, not if Sadie agreed to bowl for the town team. See, Mahoosuc Mills had never won a Franklin County championship. In fact, we were kind of a laughing stock, and it was getting under Gladys’ skin. So she sucked it up and recruited Sadie for the Mahoosuc Mill Town Employees Bowling Team.
That first year was a good one for the bowling team. They came in third, and thanks to Frank, NAPA Auto Parts came on as team sponsor. They bought the whole team sharp-looking blue and gold bowling shirts with a little NAPA logo on the front and “Mahoosuc Mills” in big letters on the back.
But despite the team’s bronze trophy and swanky new look, it was a rugged year for Gladys down to the town office. She spent most of her time trying to sort out Sadie’s messes. Gladys was at her wit’s end. Then it come to her attention that there were at least a couple of ringers on the other teams: a fella in Eusits who “worked part-time down to the transfer station” and a woman who “tidied up the town office” in Carthage. Maybe there was another job Sadie could do that wasn’t so taxing. One that would keep her on the town payroll, but out of Gladys’ hair. When Esther Pingree finally retired as Town Librarian, Gladys offered the job to Sadie.
The Mahoosuc Mills Library is only open one o’clock to five o’clock Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and nine to noon on Saturday. How much damage could Sadie do? Quite a bit, it turned out, because like I said, Sadie just wasn’t blessed with the ability to put things back where they belong. But then Gladys and a couple of the others on the bowling team put their heads together and come up with an after-school program down to the library for juniors and seniors. They’re the ones putting the books back. I don’t know what the heck Sadie does.
Well yeah, I do! She’s the one who single-handedly put Mahoosuc Mills at the top of the Franklin County Town Employees Bowling League.
Now, I should make it clear. I’m not much into bowling myself. I don’t do anything where I have to rent shoes!
That’s it for now. Catch you on the flip side!
(Listen to the podcast of Ida's column here. )