Strange things can happen in bowling centers.
Joe Rineer of Mount Airy Lanes remembers one of the strangest.
"It was a lot of years ago," Rineer remembered. "I was managing a pretty large duckpin house and a large summer daytime league was getting ready to start up. When a friend of mine who had been struggling with his game dropped in and asked for a lane so he could practice. I put him on a lane away from the league bowlers and forgot about it."
He forgot about it until the guy collared him and said "Joe, I need you. My ball's in your ceiling."
Rineer was busy and in no mood for jokes.
"Yeah, yeah, very funny," Rineer said. "Just how did you ball get in my ceiling, wise guy?"
"Joe, I was just taking a practice swing and the ball slipped, went up in the air and into your ceiling."
Rineer followed him to the lane, looked up and saw nothing.
"There's no hole in the ceiling, there's not even a mark on the ceiling, so where's the ball?" Rineer asked.
Rineer got a stepladder, climbed up to the ceiling, pushed on the tile that the bowler pointed to and there, behind the tile, was a duckpin ball, nestled in insulation, held firmly in place.
A 500 set
Alvie "Satch" Lowe recently walked off the Mount Airy duckpin lanes after the Wednesday night Men's Triples league finished and exclaimed, "That's my first 500 set!"
Lowe, born, raised and living in Mount Airy, began his bowling career at the Mount Airy center at age 8.
"That's where I first bowled duckpins and I've bowled there ever since," said Lowe, 22. "I've shot three 200 games and had a 498 set but I just could never seem to get the three big games for the 500."
Lowe bowls in another league at Mount Airy, on Monday and, and he carries 141 in that league, 139 on Wednesday.
It was Feb. 22 when he walked onto the lanes and came close to posting his fourth 200 game.
"I had a shot at it," Lowe said. "I had 180 in the ninth frame and a spare up in the 10th and a strike with my count ball would have been 200 on the nose."
Eight pins was the best that he could come up with and he finished with 198.
The second game he eased off to a 145 but came back strong in the last game with a 175 to fashion a 518 set.
"I really couldn't believe it," Rineer said. "He's been such a good athlete for such a long time and carried such a fine average for so long, that I just assumed that he had done it before, probably several times."
Lowe isn't sure why he's bowling so well this season.
"Maybe I'm scoring better because I'm in two leagues this year," he said. "Last year it was just one league and I don't feel that I'm doing anything different."
The Chesapeake Foundation for Human Development, Inc. operates The Chesapeake Center and the Hollywood Diner for at-risk youths.
On April 22 at Fair Lanes Ritchie, the sixth Bowl-A-Thon fund-raiser will be conducted for those programs.
The time is 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., and the goal is to raise $10,000.
For information and pledge sheets, call Sharon Watts at (410) 355-4698.
Every Thursday morning at 10:30 Colorama is at at Hampstead Bowling Center on Main Street in Hampstead.
For $5, you get three games of tenpins or duckpins, a lot of fun and a chance to win cash prizes.