A toast to the Dude

Kim and I share more than 10 years’ of shenanigans, most involving wine or shopping, but last summer those memories included greasy pizza, pitchers of beer, and our guys – my son, Aidan, who experiences autism; husband David; and the Dude.

I loved our little bowling team, and over the course of the summer discovered something Jim and Aidan already knew.

Bowling doesn’t care how good you are, who you are, what you do for a living, or how smart you are. It doesn’t care if you’re short or tall, young or old, or in the case of our mighty team, neurodivergent.

Bowling only asks that you be in the moment. That you try your best, support and celebrate those around you, and maybe, on occasion, enjoy some oh-so-delicious bowling alley cuisine.

I admitted to Jim during one game that I wasn’t sure I would like being on a league – I’m not really a team-sports kind of girl – but that our team has been a lot of fun.

He knew what I meant.

“You know why I like bowling?” he asked. “It’s because nothing else matters. It’s all …” he trailed off, waving his arms, taking in the chatter, the laughter, the sound of falling pins.

He then added that our bowling experience had taught him an important lesson. (One, I would argue, that he already knew.)

“We need to love each other,” he said.

“Well!” said, somewhat surprised. “I think you’re absolutely right.”

Because isn’t that what THIS is all about? Celebrating strikes, rolling with the gutter balls, lifting up those around us, being in the moment, and taking a big bite out of the things that make us happy?

Couldn’t we ALL use that reminder? I know I’m grateful for it, and for getting to know another side of a total badass and Renaissance man, whether at the bowling alley or the lectern, or on his Harley, his mountain bike or a surfboard.

Jim lived life to the fullest, loved deeply, and brought joy to those lucky enough to be in his orbit. So, cheers to Jim, to all of THIS, and to all you who loved him.

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