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A rainy-day story about bowling

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Here is a rainy-day bowling story:

As we bask in the balmy weather of the City of Angels, we know full well about how inclement weather has invaded other areas of the country.

So it’s no surprise that bowling centers have popped up everywhere to the east of us as a viable indoor activity.

It’s been a favorite activity at the White House since 1947 when two bowling lanes were presented to President Harry Truman and placed in the basement of the West Wing. It was a gift to Truman from the people of his home state of Missouri.

Here are some quick White House bowling notes from the book “How the White House Really Works” authored by George Sullivan:

-- One of the best bowlers on the White House lanes was Lady Bird Johnson, the wife of President Lyndon Johnson. She once rolled a 188 and talked about the usefulness of White House lanes during a Mideast crisis on June 5, 1967, in her book, “White House Diary”: “The U.N. was struggling . . . the Security Council going into session for five or six hours . . . like millions of others I strained with hope toward the U.N. and what it might produce. But I remembered with dismay the expressions of no confidence . . . I turned off the TV and went over to the bowling lanes where I used up my energy in three games, hurling a heavier ball than usual and running up scores in the 150s. All by myself. And while I’m bowling, I don’t think about anything else.”

-- President Richard Nixon set the presidential high with a 233 game. He bowled one game after another in rapid succession. He sometimes would total 20 games in one night.

-- President Ronald Reagan and his family were not bowlers. Joe Taylor, the longtime caretaker of the lanes, never saw President Reagan bowl.

Personal note: This column will go on vacation for a while as I try to stave off the effects of the flu.



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