Friendship has no rank

Charmain Z. Brackett/Correspondent
Monika Price (left) and Bonnie Cobine have bowled together in the Wednesday Morning Coffee League at Gordon Lanes for more than 30 years.

Bonnie Cobine and Monika Price don't have to tell anyone where they are headed each Wednesday morning.

The women have been bowling in the Wednesday Morning Coffee League at Fort Gordon's Gordon Lanes for more than 30 years.

"My husband used to say that when I die, I'll say to God not to take me until Thursday," said Ms. Cobine, who started bowling in the league in 1970. Ms. Price joined her in 1973, and they have forged a strong friendship at the bowling center.

After marrying soldiers, the women were taken a long way from their homes. Ms. Cobine's family lives in Colorado, and Ms. Price is from Germany.

"She's like my sister," Ms. Price said of Ms. Cobine.

The relationship almost didn't happen. Ms. Cobine was the wife of an enlisted soldier, and Ms. Price's husband was an officer. In the 1970s, officers and enlisted men didn't mingle.

Because of this separation, Ms. Price will never forget her first Wednesday at Gordon Lanes in January 1973.

"They were saying, 'What the heck is that officer's wife doing'", Ms. Price said.

The Wednesday group soon learned they had a lot more in common with Ms. Price than they first thought. Her husband had been an enlisted man before he decided to attend Officer Candidate School.

Ms. Cobine and Ms. Price also are members of a mixed doubles league on Friday nights.

"We have good days and bad days (bowling). She's always one pin ahead of me," Ms. Cobine said, joking. "I'm always the one they keep for the handicap."

They have about a 155 bowling average each, keeping them at the top of the league.

"It's not as easy to stay there," Ms. Cobine said.

Being at the top of the league isn't that important to Ms. Price.

"I'm not out for blood," she said. "If it gets to that, that's when I quit."

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