austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

She would be ready, but she'd always make him wait

So yes of course bunny_hugger played. We got up again early for us to drive to Grand Rapids, and found that some of the people ahead of her weren't there. Just enough of them. She'd be in as the lowest seed, but she was still in.

First thing to be dealt with was the Classics side tournament. And there I was easily dealt with. I forget the exact details but I know part of it was paying the Flash Gordon pin against ADM. If you get into the right rhythm of the game it's a nice sweet game with a couple great shots to manage. I was not in the right rhythm. And ADM has never not been in the rhythm of a game. I see from the standings that ADM ended up in 10th place in the side tournament, while I was at 9th, so I don't know just what did happen. Maybe we mutually obliterated one another. I know on Flash Gordon he obliterated me more. bunny_hugger had a better time of it, though still not good, and got one round farther than I did in it.

Somewhere around here the darts people started their finals. They opened with the National Anthem, which seemed such a strange, slightly pompous moment for the event.

And then the main tournament! Both bunny_hugger and I made it through the first round. And we ended up in our favorite place: a four-player group with each other. People joke with us about the terrors of being in the same group. We're good competitors, though. Neither of us is a sure thing against the other. And either of us could have gone on. It came down, ultimately, to her doing slightly better than me in an anemic game of World Cup Soccer, normally something we both feel sure about. She would spend much time and energy trying to apologize to me for losing the race to the bottom, the way we speak of contests like that. Not necessary. I could've won simply by playing better.

The thing is: she was in the finals! And if she could beat one person she'd win a medal. The catch is the other people playing in the group were AJH, PH, and RLM, any of whom would be plausible state champions. Still, sometimes, being up against way-too-good competitors makes you play better. bunny_hugger put in great games, not least a game of Johnny Mnemonic in which she stacked several high-scoring modes together to put up four billion plus points. This is by far her best score on the game ever. It's more than double my best score ever. It might be higher than all her previous scores on the game combined. She finished the ball three billion points ahead of her nearest competitor. This, perhaps, just got AJH riled up: he took his one remaining ball and a lot of determination and ground his score up to five billion points. So we know who's the boss here. Still, she made him really, really work for it.

She wouldn't catch AJH and PH. But she did beat out RLM. She won one of the big, heavy medals with the Meijer State Games of America logo.

Her second medal, too. The tournament had a side tournament, a women's-only tournament. (It also had brackets for children and seniors.) bunny_hugger took a third-place in that, also, and would get to go home dazed that she had taken home some hardware in the hardest tournament, the one she had gotten up not thinking she'd even be in.

We went to Stella's bar; by the time all the pinball stuff was done there was nothing at the convention center or nearby where we could eat. (So once again a big thing happens and we see mostly a half-dozen or so pinball machines.) She wore her medals in, in a fit of silliness. Someone passed her congratulating her on the wins, and she didn't realize what he was talking about, until she saw he was wearing two medals himself.

A sad moment within the happy moment. MWS was there, of course, along with his roommate K and his mother. We've known his mother a couple years. She's got early-onset Alzheimer's. When we started meeting her she seemed ... fine, with patchy moments. Maybe she'd lose track of the conversation, but in the way you might expect from someone hard of hearing. But she'd been getting worse. Her faint impression, when we came together, that she knew us from somewhere evaporated altogether. And she would start spending more time just sitting, waiting to be asked a question, or sometimes to ask if we knew her son.

She was there, I suppose because MWS couldn't arrange better care for her than being nearby while he or K tended to her. And something did come through. When bunny_hugger knew she had gotten third place, she started to dance in celebration. And MWS's mother saw the dancing and understood then it was time for her to dance. They danced together, and MWS's mother hummed a little and talked about songs she liked.

This, I think, was the last time we'd see her out and about. A couple weeks later she had to go into more serious long-term care. And, as apparently happens, this change in her routine precipitated a bigger drop in her functionality. And ... gosh, early-onset Alzheimer's is such a nightmare, but the last experience I had with her of any substance was that moment of her getting up and going over to dance with bunny_hugger because this happy moment was going on and she wanted to be part of it. And it's weird to have a happy memory of what was, it that regard, a sad moment.

Trivia: Other sites considered for final selection for the last Apollo lunar mission besides the Taurus-Littrow Valley were Gassendi, a large crater on the north of Mare Humorum, and Alphonsus, a crater previously considered and rejected for Apollo 16. Source: Where No Man Has Gone Before: A History of NASA's Lunar Expeditions, William David Compton. NASA SP-4214.

Currently Reading: Chasing Venus: The Race to Measure The Heavens, Andrea Wulf.

SAM_9857.jpg

Magician and circus posters hung at the back of Marvin's. Also what I realize is not the only legs-only mannequin in the museum.


SAM_9867.jpg

So this is ... uhm ... I think from around the row of video games looking back towards the snack counter, but really, who can tell? Just ... look at stuff. Yes, that's Betty Boop on a plane.


SAM_9868.jpg

Vintage or vintage-replica signs for the Santa Fe railroad and, why not, a biplane made of old Diet Pepsi boxes? Something like that.


Tags: marvin's marvelous mechanical museum, meijer state games
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