Right Time, Right Place, Right Verse

Every morning at the crack of dawn, before she goes to work as a receptionist at Costco’s headquarters in Issaquah, my daughter, Jeanne T. sends out a Bible verse overlaid on an appropriate photo, like the one pictured below with a somewhat edited scripture reading:

First a small digression and an explanation about my daughter’s name. If you looked at Jeanne T. and read it as Jean T., you would be wrong.

When she was born in the early seventies, I wanted to name her after her paternal grandfather, Herman Teale Janc. At that point, with Harry Potter not due to arrive on the scene for decades, there was no way I was going to name my baby girl Hermione. That left me with Herman’s middle Teale. I also wanted to name her after my sister Jeannie, but Jean Teale sounded harsh.

My favorite French actress at the time was Jeanne Moreau, pronounced the French way which is more like Zhun than Jean. So Jeanne Teale she became. Her first babysitter on the reservation shortened that to Jeanne T., and that’s who she’s been ever since, having to do battle for her name every step of the way. Incidentally, Herman passed away three months after she was born having seen his namesake only once when she was less than ten days old, so I’m glad I stuck to my guns.

So endeth today’s digression. Now on to that Bible Verse.

Two weeks ago, the owners of Tech City Bowl, the neighborhood bowling alley where Colt started bowling while he was still in primary school and where he has worked part time for the last two years, announced it was closing and that this past Saturday, would be the last day.

On Friday night, JTJ and I went to a ladies’ supper at her church where, during the message, Pastor Cheryl spoke about God putting you in exactly the right place at the right time.

Sitting there listening, I thought about my being more or less coerced into attending a widowed retreat back in 1985. I didn’t want to go because I had been divorced before my husband died and didn’t think I qualified as a widow. At the retreat I met someone else who was also there under duress. Bill attended only because he had promised some of the elderly ladies in his grief support group that he would drive them there. Much as neither one of us wanted to believe it, that retreat was definitely the right place and right time for both of us. We’re coming up on our 39th wedding anniversary.

After the dinner and dropping me off at home, Jeanne T. stopped by the bowling alley to see if she could score a lane on Saturday night so Colt could bowl at Tech City one last time.

“Sorry,” she was told. “The only open lanes are reserved for the fundraiser.”

JTJ said, “What fundraiser?”

“The one for the Bowl-A-Noma. Strike out Cancer. Spare a Life.”

At that point Jeanne T. almost fainted dead away. You see, she lost her husband, Jon Jance (Yes, he took her last name when they married!) died at age 37 after a nine-year battle with melanoma. As for the fundraiser? JTJ hadn’t heard a word about it, but naturally she immediately nailed down one of those available lanes.

As a single working mom, when it came to extra-curricular activities for Colt, bowling was a natural choice because it had several things going for it. For one, Tech City Bowl was within walking distance of both school and home. Colt could go there after school to practice bowling or do homework rather than having to stay locked up in Rose Hill Elementary’s after-school prison. For another, both bowling leagues and bowling tournaments were held on weekends rather than after school or on school nights. But the real clincher was this: Colt’s father had died of melanoma, and bowling was the one sport where Jon’s ginger-haired, fair-skinned son didn’t need sunscreen.

For Tech City’s Saturday night bowling curtain call, Colt and Jeanne T. were joined by another bowling family, and Colt was able to close things down while on the lane with Michael, one of his best bowling buddies from years of tournaments gone by.

The people sponsoring the fundraiser lost their son to melanoma at age 35—four months after his initial diagnosis. I completely understand their loss, and I salute them for channeling their grief into raising money for melanoma research. For years both before and after Jon’s passing, his team—the Cancer Fighting Flamingos—walked in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.

When Jon was first diagnosed, he was given a prognosis of probably five years. He made it for nine. He signed up for every experimental protocol that came down the pike. He was Patient #7 in a T-cell protocol developed at the University of Washington which is offering newly diagnosed melanoma patients not only hope for longer lives but also for better quality of life than having to undergo chemo. But in every case regardless of treatment, being diagnosed early rather than late is critical.

Colt was only nine months old when his father died, so he and his daddy never got to bowl together anywhere, but Jon Jance and his battle with melanoma were very much at the heart of Colt’s and Jeanne T.’s bowling journey at Tech City Bowl, from beginning to end. Last Saturday night, it really was a time to cry and grieve and laugh and BOWL!

Strictly speaking bowling may not have existed at the time when Ecclesiastes was being written down on parchment scrolls, but it is obviously included by virtue of the verse’s final words: “and a time for every purpose under heaven.”

Obviously Pastor Cheryl’s message was on the money. God saw to it that JTJ dropped by Tech City later that very evening at just the right time!

Make that right time, right place, right verse!