Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

The Bear Family: Nonny Bear Goes Bowling

Yael Mermelstein

Someone was finally bold enough to have a birthday party in my grade and I couldn’t even go because Rafi was having a bowling party

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

 Mishpacha image


R afi Lemberger tapped me on the shoulder during class and passed me a blue envelope. It was an invitation to a birthday party. Cute. Kids in my class didn’t really make birthday parties anymore, especially the kind where you send out invitations. We were all a little too cool for that. But truthfully, who doesn’t want to go to a birthday party on a Sunday instead of sitting home? 

I skimmed the invitation and my heart fell all the way to my toes. Someone was finally bold enough to have a birthday party in my grade and I couldn’t even go because Rafi was having a bowling party.

Let me tell you about bowling and T.J. (my fab wheelchair). The two don’t exactly go together. You’re probably thinking that even though I can’t walk, I could just, you know, rev T.J. up to the lane and drop the ball with my hand.
What you don’t realize is that it takes quite a bit of strength to hold a bowling ball and then a ton of coordination to drop it in the right place. I mean, sure, I could have someone place the ball on my lap and then give it a nudge, but trust me, it ends up in the gutter, every time. Yeah, I’ve tried. And it was humiliating, I tell you. 

I was going to have to sit this party out. Pun intended. 

When I got home, I tossed the invitation into the trash. I know I could have left it in my knapsack. I didn’t have to go making a statement about it but I didn’t want to come across the invitation again. It would feel like someone dropping a bowling ball on my face. 

In the middle of dinner, Benny held up a blue envelope. 

“So,” he said to everyone gathered, meaning, my whole family. “I found an invitation to Rafi Lemberger’s birthday party in the trash. I presume this was yours, Nonny?” 

I shrugged. Gosh, I should have ripped it into pieces instead of leaving it on top of the trash. Or at least covered it with broccoli mash or something so Benny wouldn’t have touched it.
“Well,” Benny said. “I wouldn’t mind an invite myself. If you’re not going, then maybe I’ll take your place. I like bowling.” 

“Uh, you weren’t invited, Benny,” I said. Who was I kidding though? Anyone would want eighth-grade Benny to come to their sixth-grade party! Rafi would probably jump for joy if Benny showed up.
I tried to snatch the invitation from Benny but he held it over his head. 

“What?” he said. “I don’t understand what’s bothering you. You obviously don’t want to go.”
“You know what?” I said. “You don’t understand a thing. Don’t you get that I can’t bowl?” 

Benny shook his head. “I get that you can’t bowl the way that some other people bowl. But there are leagues out there for wheelchair bowlers. Leagues, I tell you. Competitions. With trophies and such. So it seems a bit of a shame for you to wimp out on this party.” 

I nearly dumped my corn soup on Benny’s head. I turned to my parents. 

“Don’t you want to intervene?” I asked them. 

My mother looked at my father. They broth shrugged. 

“Benny has a point,” my father said. “I never took you for the giving-up type without even trying to think of a creative solution.” 

Ugh. Nobody was on my side. They simply couldn’t understand. (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 666)

Related Stories

A Wasted Opportunity

Malky Cope

Sisters, friends, cousins, and aunts… everyone was asked for their advice, which they were only too ...

Cover to Cover

Malky Cope

“The school doesn’t have spare cash to invest in the library. If you feel so strongly about it, mayb...

Song of the Sea: Chapter 4

Rivka Streicher

Naomi slips out of choir again, walks out the doors and down the hall. But this time she’s not so lu...

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

Weekly Struggle
Shoshana Friedman Cover text: promise big and deliver what we promise
Only Through You
Rabbi Moshe Grylak A response to last week’s letter, “Waiting in Passaic”
Are You Making a Kiddush Hashem?
Yonoson Rosenblum In communal affairs, “one bad apple…” often applies
Chance of a Lifetime
Eytan Kobre I identify with the urge to shout, “No, don’t do it!”
Work / Life Solutions with Bunim Laskin
Moe Mernick "You only get every day once"
Seeking a Truly Meaningful Blessing
Dovid Zaidman We want to get married. Help us want to date
Shivah Meditations
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Equivalence between two such polar opposites is puzzling
Magnet Moment
Jacob L. Freedman Everyone’s fighting a battle we know nothing about
Secrets and Surprises
Riki Goldstein Top-secret suits Eli Gerstner just fine
Blasts of Warmth
Riki Goldstein Keeping the chuppah music upbeat in low temperatures
Behind the Scenes
Faigy Peritzman The intrinsic value of each mitzvah
Good Vision
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Good or bad, nice or not? What you see is what you get
Day of Peace
Mrs. Elana Moskowitz On Shabbos we celebrate peace within and without