letter editor1 300MADISONVILLE, Ky. (6/17/18) — Thank you for 59 great years of bowling and food and fun. When Eddie Ballard started the bowling alley with some of his friends back in 1959, lots of people said it wouldn’t last six months. People were skeptical about a bowling “alley” in their backyard and on Main Street. Bowling alleys were notorious back then for being where the ne’er do wells hung out, where they gambled, played pool, and where they hurled 16-pound missiles at a bunch of white wooden pins, smoking copious amounts of cigarettes and sneaking a few shots between frames.

But Dad worked to change that stereotype. He worked hard at making it a family friendly place where young moms and dads could bring the kids out on the weekends to spend some time together bowling and playing video games, grabbing a good ole alley burger, and slurping down a Coca-Cola.

Dad was proud that he never served a drop of alcohol in his 40+ years of running the place. He was also proud of his loyal and trusted sidekicks in Zula Dupree, Ronnie Skinner, and John Woods, and everyone who has worked there, and there are lots of them. The place might have shut down in 10 years. But not with Eddie at the helm. He would make it work and work he did. He said that he averaged 110 hours a week for the first two years of business. Now that’s dedication, loyalty, and a firm resolve to make it stay afloat, and thrive.

For all these years, it has been and remains a staple of this community. And without you and your family, it never would have survived. Without you league bowlers, so loyal and true to keep coming back year after year, it never would have made it. Without this community, that bowling alley closes by 1965 and becomes a footnote in the history of “The Best Town on Earth.”

You, the people who have supported that business for all these years, have, in turn, supported our family, and from the bottom of our hearts, we say thank you. We have been so fortunate to be the family of Eddie and Rae Ballard, and as well, fortunate to have met and been befriended by so many due to that bowling alley.

Jack and Heather Whitfield are some of the finest people we have come to know, and we are so grateful that they are taking on the challenge of continuing the legacy that dad started all those years ago. We wish them nothing but the best. We pray that you will continue to support Melody Lanes Bowling Center, and we hope you support a new family breathing new life into “the best bowling alley in the whole county.”

The Ballard family

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