Rolling, rolling, rolling.
As a side-spinning 12-pound bowling ball heads to its destination at the other end of the lane, the pins stand at attention, waiting their fate.
Entering the pocket, the round sphere impacts and triggers an explosive sound that scatters the 10 white sentries like shrapnel.
It's a strike, and the shriek of delight at the starting point of the throw confirms it.
At 83-years of age, Elsie May serves as both an inspiration and a fascination to her family and many, many friends. During this particular game, she ended up rolling a 186. Then, she followed that up with a 106.
"I must be getting old," she said, laughing.
Ah, the laugh, there's no mistaking it anywhere. It's a happy, infectious chuckle from someone who clearly has a zest for life. Really, what the world needs more of is...laughing, of the Elsie May variety.
"Who was that?," a patron at the alley asked.
"Oh, that's just Elsie May," another person replied. "She's always like that - a lot of fun to be around."
Yes, there are fingerprints, then there are Elsie May laugh-prints, which are easily identifiable. She may not be the life of a party - but she's awfully close to it.
Elsie May actually bowls for fun. More than anything, she enjoys the fellowship, the camaraderie. She does it for the right reasons.
And, yet, she's still a competitor, who while she doesn't always roll a good score everytime, she still does her very, very best everytime.
Not surprisingly, Elsie May - a child of the Great Depression ("What was so great about it?" she said.) and a widow two times with six children and numerous grandchildren - has other interests besides bowling. She loves to dance, to swim, and is actually an accomplished diver - and always has been since she was a youth in high school. Even to this day, to watch her spring off a board into a pool reminds you a little of movie star Esther Williams.
Actually, Elsie May is so picturesque with her arms spread out in flight that there's hardly a ripple when she makes contact with the water. You definitely would want to take a digital snapshot of the dive to make it last longer.
With so much energy and enthusiasm, a friend once facetiously suggested to Elsie May that she should investigate the annual, popular Pamplona bull run in Spain. In her later years, she has had an opportunity to travel extensively around the globe as a tourist.
"Why in the world would I want to do that (run with the bulls)?" she said, laughing. "I'll stick to bowling. That's more fun."
If a bowler is only as old as she (or he) feels, Elsie May is feeling mighty fine these days.
Ron Johnston is the Marietta Times sports editor and can be reached at 376-5441 or at firstname.lastname@example.org