Journey to Ukazoo
Slide 22: Do You Want a Marble
From the moment the first kids ran out the door, laughing and screaming as I made my way in, I knew I was in for an interesting stay at Leighton’s Bed & Breakfast in Sheridan, Wyoming.
The majority of the rooms were rented by three related families here for a reunion. Their children, seven in all, seemed more content to spend most of the next three days in the B&B’s spacious back yard playing rather than engaged in sightseeing with their parents.
Of the two rooms left, I took one and the other room, a suite, was rented to a family with just one son, Nori, who by contrast, was extremely shy and content to spend his time alone with his books.
Spending the first morning after breakfast, relaxing on the back porch with tea and a sketchbook, the kids were engaged in a game I hadn’t seen since my younger days, a long, long, long time ago. Marbles.
Lance, the older of the kids, was the principal marble player and was rather good at it.
During the Inn’s afternoon treats, set out by the Leighton’s, the subject of marbles came up. Nori, who had frequently glanced over his book to watch their marble playing, now quietly inched his way closer to the conversation. Lance brought out his “traveling” marble collection. There were the standards, Cat’s eyes, Clearies, Aggies, Tigers, Oilie’s and various larger Bowlers and Steelies. He also had a small wood box that housed his special “never to be played” marbles. Of those, two glass Bowler’s were very rare.
One was a clear glass German made “Sulphide”, encasing a small hand carved ivory alligator, and the other, made in Ohio in the early 1900’s, had a solid color of deep maroon, speckled with hints of copper, giving it a look and feel of stone. Both beautiful to gaze into.
With Nori, book in tow, now next to us infatuated with the marbles, Lance, looking up, suddenly changed the subject and inquired about the book Nori was reading. Without a word, he held out an advanced math book. Lance, continuing to initiate the conversation, told Nori that Math was his worst subject in school, he just couldn’t find a way to comprehend it.
Lance made Nori a deal, he would show him how to play marbles in return for some pointers on how to figure out the Algebra, Geometry and maybe even a little Trig. Nori, uncomfortable with this sudden social contact, reluctantly agreed.
During the second and third day, Nori slowly became actively engaged in the marble games and at one point shared a laugh much to the delight of the younger kids. In the evenings, he and Lance sat at the dining room table, scrap paper galore, engaged in pouring over math equations and different strategies.
Today, the fourth day, was departure time and with packing of the vehicles in full progress, Lance approached Nori, and opening his marble box took out the maroon/copper glass bowler.
With camera at hand, I took this picture as Lance handed Nori the rare marble as a parting gift, not just, Lance explained, for all his help with the math but for becoming a friend.
Nori, overwhelmed by this rare opportunity at friendship, gave assurances he would always be available by call or email to help with any math issues that may arise or just to chat.
A touching moment to say the least.
All images and text are copyright Craig L Haupt
Postings of “Journey to Ukazoo” Slides are every Monday Evening.