As a child, I had the opportunity to spend many summers playing croquet with my cousins at Grandma and Grandpa’s place in rural Minnesota. My cousins lived much closer to my maternal grandparents so they had more bonding time with the croquet court and it showed in the quality of their play as they yawned and blazed by me on the course. My brother would have to speak for himself on how he played, but I can state with authority that I always seemed to “get into the swing of things” just as the game was ending. I didn’t care, it was just a wonderful way to spend a summer day with my family.
A few weeks ago, my mom told me that one of my honorary aunties, “Bubbles“, had croquet parties each week in the summer. This immediately took me back to my cousin croquet moments so I implored upon Bubbles who graciously allowed me to crash the next game.
I rushed home from work and changed into my cool croquet attire and ran in my black sandals, the ones with the bad velcro on the bottom strap, so I was flopping about the streets of my neighborhood.
Thankfully, I made it just in time for Bubbles to start reciting the directions with profound authority. She showed us a blue, green, yellow, and orange ball, that seemed self-explanatory. Then she picked up a big red ball and a smaller off-red ball. As she held the smaller ball, she asked, “You see this ball? What color is it?” Many colors were named but she said that the ball is known as black since the original black ball rotted while left on the winter lawn. I called it, “Little Red”.
As we started smacking the croquet balls through the various wickets, she would stop and explain various points and strategies. Perhaps I was paying homage to my earlier days, but the rest of the field seemed to take off with little issues while I stalled after my successful first shot of hitting it through the first two wickets.
It also reminded me of a time that I was in bumper cars at an amusement park and my dad and brother were cruising in the bumper car arena as they emitted guy giggles. While I could not move the car as I sat there, paralyzed with confusion. But, I digress.
Bubbles is stuck at the beginning of the course with me and comes after me with a vengeance. She knocked my ball off into the parkway and sighed with smug-like relief as she took her continuation shot that should have been an amazingly easy manuever through the wicket. However, the ball banked off the side of the wicket and bounced right back at her.
I became giddy. I threw my fists into the air and declared, “Wicket Karma”!! Later in the game, she hit me one more time and conveniently missed the wicket. She finally conceded that wicket karma was real and did not hit me again!
As history has proven, my game greatly improved just as darkness was covering the lawn. Sadly, we picked up all the wickets and put the game away to go inside for dinner. None of us wanted to leave, we were hooked!