THE BINGO QUEEN
–“BORN TO BINGO”
We have a 92 year old BINGO QUEEN in the family. She has a Sunday/ Monday routine that includes prep for BINGO Mondays. Sunday evenings, she makes her lunch, has her bath, and her BINGO day outfit is laid out in preparation. Her daughter calls this their “Girls Day” outing together. This is great, except the odd hiccup may occur with this scheduled date. Her brother is never going to set foot in the BINGO HALL (that’s understood…), so guess who is the next best thing… that’s right- her daughter-in-law- ME!
I never realized what a serious business playing BINGO is, until my sister-in-law handed me a written plan, well in advance, detailing how to assist her mom throughout the “Girls Day”. She actually included a sample of the individual cards that must be glued in a certain way so that the card identity number still shows… SERIOUSLY! I wasn’t sure, as an educated woman with a Masters Degree, whether to be insulted or amused… (It turns out, her little cheat sheet was invaluable! Who knew?)
Of course, the day begins with a wake up call to Mom. Normally she sleeps in, but trust me- NEVER on BINGO MONDAY! One does not arrive at the BINGO HALL 10 minutes early – no way! Imagine getting there an hour before the first game begins. What might one do in a BINGO HALL while anticipating the fun to get underway? Of course, in the not-so-crowded hall, their territory must be staked out for themselves and their friends. This little social network has been playing together for years, and, believe me – they have their routines! Play packages must be purchased, dabbers must be opened, cards must be glued, free coffee must be fetched, and introductions must be made.(Nobody could believe that their friend’s daughter chose a cruise with her husband over “Girls Day” at the BINGO HALL!)
I was cautioned about how tricky it would be for a beginner to try to play for the first time, not knowing the routines and how to dab properly when seeking the patterns. I had been given a preliminary walk through on the weekend of the patterns one must find to call BINGO. I was fairly confident that I could see the champagne glass, the sevens, L’s, crosses… (Check out the booklet picture below…) But I heeded their advice and, instead of playing the first round, I watched them dab and noticed the techie players who were playing BINGO on individual screens. I wondered if the machine was more perceptive with finding the patterns and perhaps that was why they kept calling BINGO before any of our circle of dabbing players!
Let’s just say, concentration is high when these girls play and no one socializes until it is break time. At that point there is a frenzy to eat up before they start again! I noticed as the day wore on, that their initial positive energy started to wane. It appeared to get more disappointing with each new game. The buoyancy and joviality appeared to be replaced with a grim acknowledgement that today wasn’t going to be one of the luckier ones. Even 92 year olds get their hopes dashed when they can’t call a single BINGO the entire day.
I, on the other hand, thought about how wonderful my sister-in-law is to spend her entire Mondays sitting in a BINGO HALL, and not even play. I, in contrast, am not a good sitter and simply had to play the games in the afternoon session. I should have listened to my mother-in-law’s warning. I wasn’t equipped with the BINGO gene… First of all, I had to depend on the auditory for the calling of the numbers, as my distance vision is weak and I just couldn’t read the monitor’s letters on the balls…. Then, I stamped everything they called and “the girls” kept admonishing me that you don’t dab if you can’t use it for making the pattern…. Who knew? That’s my excuse for getting behind and missing numbers, and certainly NEVER finding a single pattern in the entire packet of games…
I think I may have just stressed my mother-in-law out by taking on her daughter’s role that day. She probably initially thought I’d bring her GOOD LUCK. (Boy did she get that wrong!) As we left the hall defeated, to pack ourselves into my MINI (walker and all…), I couldn’t even suggest a victory Starbucks. We had nothing to celebrate! I’m pretty sure my mother-in-law was secretly counting the hours until her girl came home and got her back into the Winner’s Circle. The BINGO QUEEN at 92 demonstrated far more stamina than her exhausted daughter-in-law who drove home and collapsed on the couch for the rest of the day.
I feel lucky to have these tender moments with my mother-in-law (NO sister-in-law, that doesn’t mean I’m ready to share GIRLS DAY with you on a consistent basis!) As we travel this journey with my mother-in-law, we realize how precious these moments are and how special and important this strong, bright woman is to her family. I’m sure all of you have a tender moments story to share with us. Please do it by being BRILLIANT and leaving your message by clicking, LEAVE A COMMENT below. Thanks, once again for sharing your TENDER TUESDAYS with me; I love having you visit!