Friday, July 4, 2014


With a hurricane looming and a national holiday on the calendar, we decided to take it easy this last day of our vacation and hang close to our rental home. At dinner last night, anticipating rain, I proposed taking advantage of the ping pong table downstairs by organizing a little double elimination tournament.  "I know what's going to happen," Bill said. "Josh is going to crush us all-- unless I can beat him." Despite the dire prediction, everyone agreed to play, and with the help of that miraculous internet, I put together a random bracket for the nine of us.

Today dawned clear and sunny, though, and with Wimbledon and the World Cup, we all found other things to do until about 4 pm. There were gathering clouds then, and the prospect of making a potluck supper using as many of our left overs as possible, so we knew it was now or never, and the nine of us trooped down the stairs for the first game of the tourney.

The table was a flat blue as Bill and Emily picked up their paddles to face off in the first game. We are all rusty or novices or both, and as the tournament progressed the play was an exciting combination of skill and incompetence. Double elimination gave all of us a chance at redemption, and there was a lot of improvement as we played. Even so, it seemed like Bill's prediction would hold, as Josh soundly beat his early opponents. Bill himself fell in an early round, and the consequence was that he had to win several games in a row to advance, but at last he did, snatching victory from the jaws of defeat on more than one occasion.

In the end it came to the show down of Bill versus Josh. Josh was well rested, having come through the winner's bracket, and Bill, having played three straight matches, had to beat him twice to claim the title "Clam-pion" or king of the clams.

We were all on the edge of our seats, our heads nodding back and forth with each rally, as they battled point by point. Bill took the first game, but Josh smiled with casual determination as he served to win the title. It was not to be. Bill's prediction of the night before was borne out. He had stopped the juggernaut of a Josh.

Outside, a light rain had started. Arthur approached.

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