Bowling over a San Marcos story

Ike Turner at San Marcos. Izear Luster Turner (1931-2007) died at his home of cocaine toxicity with other significant conditions, such as hypertensive cardiovascular disease and pulmonary emphysema, according to the coroner./Turner family

Was it me? Or was it the dart store? Whatever it was, every time I thought of going to the dart store, it was closed.

My grand plan was to get a dart, throw it at a map of the greater San Marcos sphere of influence and produce a column based on the people at the place where the dart landed.

This was an homage, of sorts, to that old CBS guy who threw darts at U.S. maps, then did a television news feature on the lucky dartees. Should have taken it as a sign when that guy got cancelled. Too stubborn or stupid, however.

As usual,  the first step on a long journey not taken: No dart. Time for Plan “B.” Time to visit a celebrity.

I’ve interviewed, spoken to or otherwise interacted on various levels with many celebs. Bill Clinton, we talked football, weather and Cubans; Darryl Strawberry, we chatted about grand slam home runs, then he hit two in a doubleheader against the Oakland A’s; Strother Martin, he was into swimming and pot; Dennis Quaid, he made silly faces trying to make me laugh on the set of “Undercover Blues; Salvador Dali in an elevator — I laughed, he tweaked his mustache.

One time I started drawing up a list of names. Heather Locklear, Zbiginew Brzezinski, Larry “Bud” Melman, Bad Brains; Elliott Richardson and Eric Sevaraid, each of whom I confronted in airports and each of whom got very angry at me — Alan Ginsburg, Joe Carter, John Kennedy “Confederacy of Dunces” Toole’s mother…

I could go on. But it was time to visit a celebrity.

The day the music died, Dec. 12, 2007 outside rock legend Ike Turner’s home/File

Which brought me to Ike Turner. He lived at 905 Viewpoint Drive, just northwest of Lake San Marcos. He was in his 70s at the time.

He was a tremendous musician, but I wasn’t that big a fan. However, I didn’t hate the guy.

Perhaps, that was unusual because he seemed to bring out a negative reaction in many. A lot of that may have been due to his enormous ego. He claims to have invented rock and roll. A lot of it, no doubt, stemmed from Tina Turner and her “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” that paints Ike in a rather unflattering light.

Knock knock. Joke. Who there? Me. Me who? Who, me?

A couple of very attractive women answered the door knock. A few dudes were barely visible through the door crack. And no, hell no; they didn’t seem to be smoking crack although the unmistakeable scent of marijuana filled the air.

Ike not home. Ike never home.

The guy, apparently, is never home. Later, I learned he was at some Leucadia barbecue joint — since closed — where he loved to hang out and eat ribs.

That fateful day, however. Ike not home. Leave your phone number. He get back to you maybe.

Ike never home. You, go home. Door met close.

Time for Plan “C”

Eagle Lanes, 945 San Marcos Boulevard in 2013, before it was re-branded as the hip concept bowling alley Bowlero/CSUSM

OK, “Plan C” was meant to be. I had a particular question about San Marcos that I intended to ask people at the nearby bowling alley.

Guess what? It was the day after Thanksgiving. For some reason known only to ownership, the damn alley was closed.

Jeanne Bumpus was waiting outside. She was from Poway and couldn’t believe it. “The bowling alley in Vista is packed,” she said. “I thought for sure I could bowl here today.”

A long-time resident of Los Angeles, Jeanne moved with her husband to Poway about eight years ago. He suffered a serious stroke and was at an assisted-care living facility. She was getting along in life, and bowling was one of her favorite pastimes. In fact, she was a 160-plus average bowler, participating in three weekly leagues, including one in which she was an official.

Jeanne and I talked for a long time while she waited for the alley, which, as it turned out, opened late. We talked about the beautiful new bowling stadium in Reno where she had competed in regional tournament play. We talked about bowling balls and throwing styles. She used an unusually heavy 15-pound ball, and had changed her stroke in recent years thanks to some good bowling instructors.

Jeanne recently took up golf and was enjoying that. She missed her husband’s company, but the stroke had left him without speech or the ability to do much. So, she bowled and bowled and bowled away the pain.

And there you have it. Luck is the residue of design as Branch Rickey used to say. I never got that darn dart. Ike never home. I even forgot to ask that San Marcos question. Don’t remember what it was, in fact.

But standing outside the bowling alley, I got a good story after all. And you can stick a dart in that.

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