“If I die bowling over here, I’ll be happy.”
Lee is a member of the Soap Suds/Nuttall Memorial Bowling League, which gathers every Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. at Strikers Bowling Center in Rockingham. According to league secretary Linda Seymour, the name was decided on, in part, for late member Alex Nuttall.
Strikers owner Mike Hill said the “Soap Suds” portion came from the fact that soap operas come in the afternoon, which was important, as the 20-year-old organization used to be for female bowlers only.
“This is more of a fun league, more of a laid-back atmosphere. They’re competitive, but they’re having a good time, too.”
Royce Stutts of Rockingham said he was one of the original owners of the facility, and he’s been bowling since it opened in 1960.
“I just love to bowl. I used to bowl at night, but now my eyes aren’t good enough for night driving, and I would have to leave my wife at home by herself, and I don’t like to do that for too long.”
“She (Stutts’s wife of 62 years) still puts up with him,” said Hill.
“It’s good exercise, that’s the reason I do it,” said Stutts.
“I’ve had two bypass operations, a pancreas operations, a stroke and several heart attacks, and I’m still going strong. Well, maybe not strong; but I’m still going, anyhow.”
Raymond Collins of Rockingham joined three weeks ago because he “just wanted something to do.”
“It’s good exercise, and my wife was tired of me sitting at home. I really enjoy it, and I get to make a lot of friends.”
Bowling is a part of Laura and Don Walker’s marriage. The 73-year-old Hamlet residents have been married for 33 years. Mr. Walker’s recent heart surgery prevents him from bowling right now, so he comes to keep score and “keep her on track.” He plans to make a comeback as soon as he’s fully recovered
“This is fun. We were looking for something that both of us could do together as a team. It’s fun getting her out so we can stay active. It makes us part of a community. It helps us fit in.
“We’ll be trying to win some something in the senior games this year.”
Mr. Walker said he has been competing in the Senior Games for 11 years, his wife for 14.
As Seymour and Lee walked toward the door to leave, Hill called out one last joke to the Lee, who’s known by many as the spitfire of the league.
“You be good now!”
“I’m always good,” said Lee.
“Oh honey,” said Seymour. “I can tell you about that one.”
At 12:15 p.m., as he prepared his lanes for the next group, Hill explained that most people would be surprised at these seniors’ busy schedules.
“They bowl quick. They aren’t just taking it slow, sitting around. They’ve got stuff to do today.
“I think a lot of them go to line dancing right after this.”