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!

22 thoughts on “Right Time, Right Place, Right Verse

  1. What a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing. Those of us who have known you for years certainly remember Jon’s story and have loved hearing Colt grow up. God bless you all.

  2. What a beautiful, healing moment of love!!!
    God loves bowling.. He uses the audio of bowling balls rolling down the lane and the STRIKE explosion for the sound track of thunder and lightning!

  3. This was a stirring story. First my condolences for the loss in your family. Second for the reminder of the scripture. “A time for every purpose”. We don’t always recognize the times for what they are until long passed. But they are there and hard as it may seem God makes something good out of it. The books you write frequently show this!! I am waiting for the next one. ??

  4. Loved, loved, loved the story. Cancer enters so many lives and there are so many stories. I am also among those who has been touched by it, losing my wife of 33 years in 2022 to a form of blood cancer. Thank you for sharing your story.

  5. Strike! Perfect blog!
    I own an Independent Review Board which reviews protocols for many types of research, including cancer. It has been my joy over the years to see many of the studies our Board has reviewed come to fruition. God bless all those who participate in those trials! It would have been lovely if Jon had found one that could have prolonged his life.

    • Actually it did prolong his life. It gave him and extra two years of reasonable quality of life, and it gave us our only grandson.

  6. The fund raiser for melanoma touched my heart. I lost my 21-year old creative, sparkling daughter to melanoma in 1993.

  7. Thank you for sharing. Is there another bowling alley close by for Colt to bowl at?

  8. amen thanks I needed that. Timely and sorely needed. Chuck in Tacoma .Maholo and.aloha. from one of your old shuttle drivers..

  9. So Colt lost his job and his practice spot at the same time? I hope things arrange themselves so that he has a good outcome from these losses.


  10. How wonderful that Jeanne T. was at the right place at the right time. And, what a cathartic experience to be able to bowl for such a cause with others of like mind. I hope that you, your daughter and grandson found some comfort in that experience.
    I also hope that Colt will soon find another job he loves.
    I also lost my husband when he was just 35 of an abdominal aortic aneurysm. Our sons at the time were ages 2, 3 and 4 and so also didn’t know their dad much or have any memory of him. Raising 3 sons without a father was difficult, but I too put them in sports to keep them busy in a good way. So I feel a connection to Jeanne T.
    As such an aneurysm led to a fairly sudden death, if it had to happen, it was fortunate that my husband was at home at the time and not at work or on the road. I’m not sure that I believe that it was his time to go, but in a way I did find some solace knowing that it could have been even more tragic than it was. I was able to call an ambulance to take him to the ER, and although they weren’t able to diagnose his condition at the time, which lead to his passing, at least we were in a safer place.

    • Colt was nine months old when we lost Jon. I can’t imagine being left with three tiny ones. You and JTJ are clearly cut from the same cloth.

  11. Few things in this life are as simultaneously heartbreaking and heartwarming as this this posting.

  12. Oh my! So much loss! But sounds like the Lord has carried all of you through. I also can attest to His faithfulness.
    Love ? and Hugs
    Many Blessings to you and Jeanne T

  13. What a touching story . So glad Jeanne T was at the right time, right place and with the right verse.

  14. I once read that God is “winking at us” when fortuitous coincidences occur-
    Another way of saying that Ecclesiastes was right-
    I am so very glad to know that Colt and his mom had a chance to say goodbye to the place that has meant so much to Colt throughout his childhood, and to do so with his good bowling buddy and family-
    God Bless-

  15. Such a heart-warming story
    My thoughts and prayers go out to all of you.

    Have a good Memorial Day weekend.

  16. I survived malignant melanoma when I was 29. I thank God and my doctor for catching it early. I also have red hair and very pale skin. Back in the day there was no such thing as sunscreen. I cringe every time I see someone going into a tanning salon or baking in the sun. Tans are nice until they’re not!

  17. Hi, JA, I just wanted to tell you that Frank and I attended a fund raiser that you had for Jon in Tucson at a hotel. First time I met you. You sat at our table and we chatted before you had your talk. I didn’t know who you were and felt very comfortable. If I had known I would have been speechless. We won two prizes that night, one being a Tshirt, the other a poster. Have seen you at book signing several times since. I was sincerely sorry when Jon passed.
    Just wanted you to know.

  18. Such a beautiful story! When I was 10 years old a verse in Scripture changed my life. John 3:16. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” I did and He has given guidance to my life for close to 70 years.

  19. The post this time sure hit the spot with me. I was scheduled for my checkup and an out-of-town bowling meet the same week, so skipped doctor appointment and went bowling. Got home to message from Dr. office to come in soonest, turned out the little biopsy was melanoma.
    That was in 1973, and thanks to great doctor, the Lord and a very supportive husband I’m here and cancer free.
    I’m thankful for my life every day and support cancer research and have walked miles doing Relay for Life.
    I send prayers to heaven every day for fast diagnosis and timely help for cancer patients.
    I lost my husband of 55 years to brain cancer just 7 years ago. Cancer research and modern medical advances gave him 18 months extra.

  20. I have been enjoying your blog and your stories. BUT for the last two weeks I haven’t been receiving them and don’t know why. So I hoped nothing was keeping you from writing and so I looked up your name and there were two weeks of your blogs and I was able to read them but don’t know why they aren’t getting to me

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