A couple of weeks ago, after dropping the Cabbage off at a birthday party, Michael and I ended up at Custard's Last Stand for some frozen custard. It's the kind of place that serves its burgers and fries in a guitar shaped basket. There was a Bingo Bugler sitting on our table which is a newspaper devoted to Bingo. I made Michael keep it because the headlines made me laugh and there was an editorial on what to do with those summer tomatoes, but it also gave us an idea for a date night. I don't think I've ever played bingo at a traditional bingo hall with daubers. Mom and I used to play in one of the community center tents in whatever small town we were in when traveling through Colorado. We used those bingo cards where you dragged the little shade over the number and prizes where gift cards to local shops and restaurants.
Friday night, we went to dinner at Elsa's Ethiopian and then headed over to the American Legion to play some bingo. With the senior citizens. Michael and I were just about the youngest people there. There might have been one or two other women who where our age there with their mothers, but for the most part Michael and I were the young whipper snappers in the room. The two ladies sitting across from us at the table where a sister team. Judy was the oldest, just turning 68 last week and her hair had just started growing back from her last chemo treatment. We never caught the other sister's name, which I'm really sad about. We chatted about all kinds of things and laughed and joked through the whole evening.
Playing bingo is hard work. I just had one book of nine squares, meaning I basically had nine bingo cards per game. Many of the people there had multiple books. One woman had strategically taped three books side by side and I don't know how many under each book. She had to lift up the top sheet to play her other cards. I had a hard enough time keeping up with nine squares. Then there's the patterns. All the games we played (except one), you had to make some kind of pattern. Judy and her sister had two books of nine they were keeping track of. We got to the game where you had to make an arrow and it nearly broke us. My sheet was a mess. I couldn't make any sense of it. At one point Judy said "this sure is a lot of work for fifty dollars." Then she won that bingo. The game after that was just a traditional Bingo. That's the game I won.
The final game was a card of six and it was a blackout game. Just as the game was starting, Michael picked up his dauber and said "Come on Bingo. Cindy needs a new bicycle." We all laughed because the chances of one us winning the last game that was worth $500 was pretty slim. Blackout games take forever and we all started to lose momentum. We were chatting about gardening when Michael looked down at his card and realized he only needed three numbers to win. Judy got so flustered, she said "Lord, I'm gonna have a heart attack!" That was when he was down to two numbers. Then we see all see the winning number pop up onto the TV screen, but Michael can't say anything until the caller actually says the number. Which seems like is taking FOREVER. Our whole table was about to explode when Michael yelled out "BINGO!" It was very exciting. Michael collected his winnings and we high tailed it out of there because we could feel all the eyes staring daggers at us. Well, except for Judy's and her sister's. They congratulated us and we all said our goodbyes.
We had such a good time. Both of us agreed that even if neither of us had won anything, we still would have had a good time. We laughed and joked so much. Winning was exhilarating and we talked about our bingo night all weekend long. And then on Saturday, Michael used his bingo winnings to buy me a new bicycle. He said that he had been trying to figure out a way to get me a new bicycle for Christmas or my birthday. So winning $500 (technically it was $499, because of taxes) worked out perfectly. Turns out, my old bike could not be adjusted to make it more comfortable because the frame was too small for me. I replaced it with a vintage style Reid seven speed. It's the same color as my scooter and I'm thinking of naming her Bessie.