First, let me thank all my loyal readers for emailing me at email@example.com. It is the traditional time to try to think of the things in our life for which we are thankful. We all have many different things for which we can be grateful. Some of these “things” are actually people…family, friends, and others who are close to us.
Strangely, some of the people for whom we are grateful might not even have names. They could be a person we see each week at Bingo. Maybe you’ve never even talked or even exchanged glances. But, nonetheless, that person is a part of the landscape of your Bingo experience. Maybe it’s your favorite caller—you know, the one you can actually understand. It could be that that person has a special place in your weekly experience, even though you don’t know his or her name.
As I look at my Bingo experiences, I have good memories of an elderly man named Joe Dant. He was my grandmother’s brother, my great-uncle. Great-uncle Joe was the Bingo caller back in 1957, when I went to my first game. His was the first voice I ever heard calling Bingo. He is the one who use to assign nicknames to some of the numbers. He always referred to B-1 as “The Leading Lady.” I have spoken about him before.
I remember a caller at one of the smaller casinos in the Las Vegas area. She would often say: “Here’s your next GOOD number.” After a while, she no longer did that. Possibly the manager of the hall told her she was being too friendly. That happens far too often anymore, as more and more halls want their callers to sound like personality-less robots.
I have good memories of the kind words and companionship of many “regulars” who are no longer with us, including a very tall woman with a German accent who won far too often; an elderly fellow who had tons of stories about his youth; a feisty player who didn’t yell “Bingo” when he won, he yelled “Bingo, loud and clear.” After all, when the rules were read, everyone was told to yell, “Bingo, loud and clear.” That is what he did. I had a high degree of respect for him. But, sadly, he is no longer with us.
Yes, it’s a time of thankfulness and of memories. It’s also a time to remember just how important Bingo is in our lives. I’m not sure what I would do without it. I have gotten to the point in life where playing Bingo is the focus of my week. More next month.
Drop me a line on the Internet: firstname.lastname@example.org. And, if you don’t have e-mail, a friend says you can use his physical address: DD, Box 5441, Palm Springs, CA, 92263.
It was a great idea. It seemed a shame for him to rent a house when I had an extra bedroom and was approaching the age where it would be nice to have a “man of the house” to lock up at night, take the trash out, change the oil in my car, and bring me a Pepsi from the fridge. So my unmarried son moved in. Another son lives across the street, too, and I could visualize wonderful family meals and a card game or two once in a while.
I was not surprised when my boarder came home one day all excited about an amazing deal on a car. He has always loved cars. I could have guessed that he was preparing me for the news that he had already bought it.
“But you already have a car,” I said.
“I know Mom, but this is a Jeep…a Liberty.”
That meant nothing to me. Cars are used to get people to Bingo and back. One is all you need. I have my own car and he doesn’t play the game, so I wasn’t impressed till he added that, with a couple hundred bucks, he could bring it up to code and double his money. No one complained when he parked it on the grass three years ago. It is still there along with another Jeep Liberty he found and had to buy because it has good parts on it. I fussed a bit, but he was persuasive.
“It will save me a fortune in parts,” he explained.
Slowly I realized that maybe the return to the nest wasn’t the brilliant idea I thought it was. I don’t remember when or how he parked a station wagon on the back lot. When I asked him about it, he said, “Oh that. That’s where I store all my tools and stuff.”
I began pointing out certain rental properties in the newspaper. I even circled some in red crayon. If he noticed he never mentioned it. Gradually I began fussing about all these cars in my yard. All he could say was, “where am I going to park my Corvette when winter comes?” I just came right out and said it, “Park it and all your cars in your own yard when you get moved.”
That did it, or so I thought. He promised that all of these old cars would be gone at the end of the month. That was three months ago.
Right now they are all for sale: two Jeeps, a Corvette and a little station wagon. I don’t think he really wants to part with any of them, especially the silver, low mileage, four cylinder sedan he brought home yesterday.
“Think of the gas money I will save driving back and forth to work,” he said.
If I ever get my lawn back, I plan to install a ten-foot high chain link fence around the perimeter of my yard and keep it locked. It’s the only solution. My heart won’t let me kick him out. He turns back my bed covers in the evening and gives me a gentle back rub. He doesn’t mind vacuuming, loves to cook and shop for groceries. And it’s OK with him that I share his story.
Contact Bev at email@example.com.
Dear Aunt Bingo:
We had the craziest invasion of strangers at our local Bingo hall this week.
Ours is an urban church Bingo in an interesting area that is a mix of older neighborhoods on the back streets and trendy new shops, theaters, bars and restaurants on the main avenues.
Some office buildings and churches are still located on these avenues as well, but they are usually dark by the time evening comes and the trendy places get going.
One of the exceptions to this general rule is our Catholic church, which is used for many community events, including Bingo on Wednesday and Friday nights.
The church has its own large parking lot and entrances in the back, which is how most people come and go from church activities. It’s convenient because you can visit without having to elbow your way through the crowds of people on the avenues. And it’s amazing how, no matter how noisy it gets outside, you never hear anything when you’re in the community hall or meeting rooms.
This Friday, as people were arriving at the church for Bingo, a small tour shuttle could be seen parked in the road by the parking lot. We didn’t pay it much attention because buses and shuttles sometimes pass through the area.
But about 20 minutes before the games were to begin, the shuttle driver and a woman who I assume was one of his passengers came into the hall and asked for the Bingo coordinator. They had a brief conversation, then left. Right after that, the coordinator went to the caller’s microphone and made an announcement.
She said that a tour group had arrived at one of the avenue restaurants and that the restaurant had messed up and overbooked their dining room. They had arrived after another large group had been seated and had to wait a while for their tables. They asked if they could come in and play Bingo while they waited, and the manager had said yes.
Right after that, the group of about 25 well-dressed men and women came filing into the hall. We all applauded for them and made them feel welcome, and people got up and moved to different seats so that they could sit together.
They stayed and played for two Bingo sessions, until word came that their seats were ready at the restaurant. Then they all packed up and headed out the door together.
It was so fun and unexpected to have these out-of-town folks pop in to share an evening of Bingo with us. And it was especially nice of them not to win.
M.W., Illinois, via email
What a welcome letter. You paint such a wonderful picture of your neighborhood with its mix of traditional old and trendy new, which sounds like it all blends well together. It strikes me as place I might like to live…especially come dinnertime.
Your story was particularly interesting because, while it was kind of the Bingo coordinator and your fellow Bingo players to make the tour group feel welcome, it was equally amazing that the visitors had decided to turn lemons into lemonade by joining a church Bingo for an hour or two instead of sitting on a boring shuttle bus getting hungry and cranky.
Two thumbs up to the driver and passenger for venturing into your community hall and asking if they could join you. I am curious, though—did the shuttle driver play Bingo too? —Aunt Bingo
Share your views! Write to Aunt Bingo c/o the Bingo Bugle, P.O. Box 527, Vashon, Washington 98070, or email her at STENGL456@aol.com. Be sure to include your name and address (you can request that your name not be published), as typically she will not include anonymous letters in her columns.
This year for Thanksgiving we decided to hostess a party for the homeless. We rented the Grange Hall and set out to see how many homeless we could find. We could find only 11, nine men and two women, who said they would be happy to come. “As long as you don’t spend the day prayin’ over us,” said Mike. “Some of them churches are fierce about prayin’ fer our immortal souls.” We assured him we would not.
We decided also to rent showers at the grange and that meant finding towels and clean clothes for everybody. Our charity shop helped and we were soon in business, but I had not counted on the mounds of everything for 11 people. Fortunately we were able to take the stuff up the day before, so all we had to concentrate on was dinner.
Two of our good friends, Hazel and Joanne, came to help and we assigned them to shower duty. Kate rounded up our folks while I supervised in the kitchen. We cooked two turkeys and had all the fixings to go along, but it was all a tremendous amount of work.
There was great whooping and hollering from the shower area as our guests were having fun getting clean. I had picked up dresses for the two women and they loved them.
Soon everyone gathered at the dinner table and I asked each one to name something they were grateful for. The weather was a popular topic as we were having a mild fall so far. I was particularly impressed when Nora said she was grateful that there were good folks left in the world who would provide such a happy day for “us down ‘n outers.”
We had a great meal and afterwards played Bingo. I had made arrangements with Denny’s to get fifteen meals for them as prizes, which the homeless appreciated as much as money. They could get warm and eat and enjoy some time like regular folks.
The first prize went to Mike for a standard Bingo and he was delighted. It soon became apparent that he was flirting with Nora and it was fun to watch. He pretended to be helping her with her Bingo card, but nudged her and made eyes at her as they played. At first she brushed him off, but then became interested and flirted back.
Joanne won the next game and was embarrassed to do so. “I didn’t mean to call Bingo,” she said. “It just came out. I don’t want to take the prize.” But our guests insisted that she had to eat, too, and Ben said he would be glad to go with her when the time came. With that, Joanne blushed furiously and said she would see what could be worked out.
Another homeless man named Ben won the next game. He was so excited he almost fell off his chair and was very happy to get his prize.
And so it went into the late afternoon. After our Bingo session, I had left food on the dining table so they could pick as they wanted and many were happily eating again.
Mike was still putting moves on Nora and stood to make an announcement. “This has been the best Thanksgiving I can ever remember,” he said. “We had wonderful food and good games and fine showers and we are warm and comfortable. What more could we ask of life?”
Then he cleared his throat, shuffled his feet and continued, “And I want to say special thanks to our hostesses for bringing us together for this very happy day.” It seemed he wanted to say more, but hesitated, then plunged forward. “And I want to tell you all that Nora and I are getting together to see how things work out between us.” He bowed and sat while everyone clapped and cheered.
And no matter where they found to live, it had been a perfect Thanksgiving.