50 years later!

Opening a present containing a vintage 1970 Skittle-Bowl game brought a smile to my face. I wasn’t a happy camper the first time I received one 50 years ago. Read my column to find out why!

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas, and I know we are all looking forward to a better New Year.

I was blessed to see all my grandchildren and all but one son-in-law (who had to work) during Christmas week.

In our clan it’s all about family, and celebrating the true meaning of Christmas, so we scored a near perfect 100 this year. Listening to little ones pray to Jesus before meals (and reminding Him they have been good) makes this Poppie’s heart happy. A full three-plus days with up to six hyped-up grands (sans the newborn) can tire out an old man, but it’s a good tired. I can’t remember the last time I went to bed early and woke up early for three consecutive days.

The first morning I was “technically” up before 8 a.m. (to hug grandchildren pulling on the bed sheets), but was allowed to go back to sleep for an hour-plus since I drove close to seven hours the night before, and after producing two editions of the newspaper in a short week.

From a gift perspective, I will remember this year as the one that covered everything from new technology to games of yesterday.

My oldest daughter’s family got my wife and I an Amazon echo show. I closed the office tomorrow and Friday to give us time to figure it out!

My youngest daughter’s family got me a vintage Skittle-Bowl game.

Don’t worry, not many people I’ve talked to have heard of Skittle-Bowl either.

In earlier conversations with my daughters they talked about their kids trying to get into presents early (and yes, some succeeded). I told them they didn’t need to worry about it because the “natural consequences” of them peaking will keep them from doing it again (maybe). I shared with my daughters stories about disappointing Christmases as a child. They were disappointing, not due to a gift, but rather the circumstances surrounding the opening of said gift.

I mentioned looking for, and finding in my parents’ closet, the “hoped for” Hot Wheels Super Charger set back in the mid-60s. Although very happy to have received it, there was no way I could fake the excitement on Christmas Eve when I opened it.

In 1970 Aurora came out with Skittle-Bowl, and it was a hot item in my circle of friends.

I got one for Christmas, but the chain that holds the wooden ball was too short. I got the gift I wanted, but I couldn’t play with it!

Youngest daughter remembered our discussion about Christmas disappointments, bid on one of the original Skittle-Bowls she found on eBay, bought it, and placed it under the tree for me.

The way I see it, 50 years later, I can teach my grandchildren the finer points of Skittle-Bowl, and they can collectively show Nani and Poppie how to operate an Amazon thing-a-ma-jig, talking, picture thing.

Moving on to 2021

We’ve all had our share of setbacks in recent years – from Hurricane Harvey, to now closing in on one year of COVID-19 restrictions (government imposed, as well as self-imposed).

My Ohio State buddy Murray Leeper sent me the following ditty about 2020. Hope it puts a smile on your face, which lasts into 2021:


1. The dumbest thing I ever bought was a 2020 planner.

2. I was so bored. I called Jake from State Farm just to talk to someone. He asked me what I was wearing.

3. 2019: Stay away from negative people. 2020: Stay away from positive people.

4. The world has turned upside down. Old folks are sneaking out of the house, and their kids are yelling at them to stay indoors!

5. This morning I saw a neighbor talking to her dog. It was obvious she thought her dog understood her. I came into my house and told my cat. We laughed a lot.

6. Every few days try your jeans on just to make sure they fit. Pajamas will have you believe all is well in the kingdom.

7. Does anyone know if we can take showers yet or should we just keep washing our hands?

8. This virus has done what no woman has been able to do. Cancel sports, shut down all bars, and keep men at home!

9. I never thought the comment, “I wouldn’t touch him or her with a 6-foot pole” would become a national policy, but here we are!

10. I need to practice physical distancing from the refrigerator.

11. I hope the weather is good tomorrow for my trip to the backyard. I’m getting tired of the living room.

12. Appropriate analogy. “The curve is flattening, so we can start lifting restrictions now” is like saying “The parachute has slowed our rate of descent, so we can take it off now.”

13. Never in a million years could I have imagined I would go up to a bank teller wearing a mask and ask for money.

I hope you and yours have a fun and safe New Year’s Eve, and a Happy New Year.

Let’s collectively pray for a little normalcy … ASAP!

Until next week, have a good week.

Mike Probst can be reached at publisher@rockportpilot.com.

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