"The Final Strike"
NAPOLEON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — When a man forges a 70-foot, 700-pound rosary out of bowling balls in his front yard, you just know there's a story behind it.
This one involves Ralph Kluk, 76 — a Poland native, pack rat, polka player and pen pal of the late Pope John Paul II.
Kluk is a character. He also is known to ride about town with one. If you spy a guy tooling around in a black Chevy 1500 pickup with a 3-foot tall Scooby Doo plush toy strapped into the passenger's seat, chances are you've just seen Kluk.
"I do crazy things," the Jackson County grandfather admits, with a twinkle in his eye. "But they're not really crazy."
Turns out, there's actually a simple mathematical formula to building a bowling-ball rosary.
Take 59 balls, 20 cans of pastel spray paint, 40 feet of black piping, add a wooden cross and voila! You have a unique interpretation of Roman Catholic catechism that Kluk calls "The Final Strike."
Anchoring the balls in the ground with 9-inch metal stakes was key, he says. They almost rolled off his 30 acres and onto Horton Road.
"The hardest part," Kluk adds, "will be cutting my grass around it."
Traditionally, rosaries are slim necklaces made of glass, wood, jade, bone or gold that fit in your hand. Catholics grip the beads and recite the Lord's Prayer followed by 10 "Hail Mary" prayers.
It took a little ingenuity, and a few dozen phone calls to bowling alleys and their patrons, for Kluk to scrounge up the requisite number of rosary balls.