I live in a pretty upscale town. OK, it's really upscale. In one small downtown area we have 2 Starbucks, our very own Saks Fifth Ave., Pottery Barn, a grocery store where you don't touch the groceries after you place them in your cart, and about a zillion banks. I grew up here, but I didn't realize we also have our very own Moose Lodge. My sharp-eyed Boy #1 did, though. For weeks now, as we've driven by the Moose Lodge he has been saying, "Mom, I want to go play BINGO there--the sign says BINGO every Tuesday night at 7. Doors open at 5. Mom, next Tuesday we HAVE to go play BINGO." So last night, at 6:40, I told the boys to get their shoes on and that we were going somewhere.
For the next 15 minutes it was like listening to two little stream of consciousness detectives. "Where are we going, Mom? Tell us! Is it the mall? No, we're going the opposite way. Is it the library? Is it Dairy Queen? Where, Mom?" I just kept driving.
We parked and the guessing continued. "Is it Williams-Sonoma? Is it Chipotle? Is it Jamba Juice? Is it Ann Taylor?" Yes, boys, I know Ann Taylor does sound like a fun surprise outing, but...no. As we got close to the entrance of the Lodge, it all clicked. "We're going to play BINGO!!" they said. "BINGO!" I said.
Well, after we entered and were told the boys could watch but they couldn't play a bit of the enthusiasm had worn off. I guess I never realized BINGO was considered gambling. I sort of think of it as wholesome family entertainment, like BINGO night at school with pasta as the markers and toys as prizes. But we were there to play and we were determined. I purchased 6 BINGO cards. The regular kind, not the kind you use with daubers. See, I had already learned something new about BINGO--daubers vs. markers--who knew?
We entered the BINGO area and it was like a whole new world. Boy #1 whispered, "Mom, they're really serious about their BINGO." Um, yeah. Rows and rows of tables with many many SERIOUS BINGO players. WITH their own daubers. With their own garbage bags for their tear-off BINGO cards to use with the daubers. One woman brought her own little personal fan. One had a few Beanie-type stuffed animals (for good-luck?). Many had magnets with handles (sort of like a hairbrush without the brush) to clear the cards of the metal-edged markers. Where would one buy something like that? Mostly older women, a few younger women and a few older men. I would say that the three of us brought the average age down to about 62.
I tried not to look at the two giant moose heads staring down at me--one on either end of the hall. It was hard not to look, though. Those eyes. The Moose Lodge runs a great little concession stand--hot dogs, chips, soda, microwave popcorn bags, candy, etc. And when we walked in a table in the lobby was covered with plates of pie slices. Maybe there's a social hour after the BINGO. Who knows? We were loaned chips to use as markers and found seats in the back of the hall. As we walked in there were a few stares. I guess children are not a common BINGO accessory but they were quiet and well-behaved so the staring didn't last long.
We....I mean, I, played about 8 games. Interesting ones like four corners and postage stamp. The most exciting one was 9-pack--with a $60 prize. Needless to say we...I...did not win. A couple of times during the play one of the Moose men running the BINGO passed by us and gave us an extra card. By the time we left we had 9 cards.
At about 8:15 all of a sudden everyone got up and headed for the pie. It was the first break of the night. We decided we had had enough excitement. Thanks a lot--we had fun in this brave new world. We'll be back when we're all legal.
2 days ago