A few weeks ago, Melissa and Emily came over to do some cooking for 80 Plates. We got to talking about stuff and I just sort of blurted out, “Man, I miss playing bingo!” They both agreed that they’d like to play and would be happy to come, so we all got out our calendars and decided to plan a girls’ night out to play bingo here in Fredericksburg. There is a place almost literally around the corner from our house that has a separate smoking room, and thus is far more pleasant to play in than most bingo halls, so when I sent out the Evite, I invited everyone to come play there to support Catholic schools in our area.
We had 9 affirmative RSVP’s, and 7 of us actually went and played. I was thrilled to have Heather, Cecily, Dustina, Lauren, Meredith, and Melissa join me for a night of fun, and we agreed to go in on some KFC to make the night even more fantastic. (ha!) Melissa contributed soda and cookies, Dustina and Heather each brought some snacks, and we were ready to roll! The first task was finding a suitable table where all 7 of us could sit. This was not easy—a lot of singles were taking up double tables. We decided to try and cram ourselves into a single table, but it was obvious that was not going to work, so we finally took over one table where there was room for us, except Melissa had to sit behind a post at the adjoining table, presumably because she’d been naughty :-)
Once we were assembled, we tucked into our dinner, and I have to say, we were quite the celebrities. If you ever want to make a splash at bingo, bring fried chicken. We had people inviting themselves to our table, people asking what the special occasion was, even the workers commented on how well laid out our provisions were! Everyone got their bingo sheets and we were ready to play. We started out slowly, warming up until we got into the groove of the game. I think I was the most experienced player at the table, which says something considering I think I’ve played about 4 times in my life. We were throwing out sheets that weren’t finished, people were trying to give us tips, it was pretty funny. Chicken was flying, papers were flying, ink was flying, it was great.
Then Lauren for some reason starts reading the dabber wrappers and reads, “Scented inks” and the next thing we know, she is sniffing her dabber to find out what it smells like. Even though she says it doesn’t smell good, we all decided to sniff our dabbers just to make sure. Dustina had also raised a bit of a fuss because they hadn’t gotten their free dabbers for being first time players, so Dustina, Cecily, and Lauren got free table delivery of new dabbers. Which required new sniffing tests, just to see.
By the time we were half done with the game, almost all of us had ink somewhere on us. Meredith had inadvertently dabbed my arm (or I guess I should say my arm ran into her uncapped dabber), I pointed out it looked like we’d all been to vote in Iraq.
After the jackpot coverall game (which I was playing to cover all 9 squares on my page, not just one, but fortunately I clarified with the judges to find out just in time to lose that we only had to cover one square), there was an intermission. We cleaned up some of our mess and the people with pull tabs started collecting their winnings. It was interminable with those pull tabs, between every game there was another color of speed ball ticket that had winnings, so the seven of us just kept gabbing during the whole thing. Then the lady behind us says, “Girls, you need to look at your tickets!” and we were like, “We didn’t buy any!” and she told us to look at the slips they gave you in case you win. The caller was reading some numbers off the bottom, and guess what? Dustina won! She won $15 worth of free cards at any game in the next two weeks. Oh my God, we were like, living now! The thrill of winning, even if not a cash prize, was really exciting. We quickly began plotting playing again.
Then the old folks behind us asked about our cookies. The old man told Lauren he’d sing her a song if she would give him a cookie. She passed him and his wife cookies and then demanded he sing her a song, so he sang her “Happy Birthday”. It was so cute! Then the lady behind us who clued us into Dustina’s winnings won something, and the seven of us clapped like crazy for her, so she said she was pleased to have her own cheering section. Yeah, we rocked the Fred bingo scene!!!! It was a blast!
So the games start back up, and each of us was getting closer and closer, and closer to winning. The tension in the room was mounting as there were fewer and fewer games to win. Heather decided to buy into the Keno racket, and purchased three tickets, one of which had good odds of winning since it had one of the winning numbers on it. Unfortunately, she didn’t win anything, but she had a 1 in 15 chance out after finding 1 of 15 cards out of 500, so we didn’t care, she had a card with red ink!!! Another stroke of luck!
Finally I decided to go buy some extra cards for the last 2 bonus rounds. After the first bonus round, a lot of people left, so we decided that we had much better odds of winning with much less competition. We were playing an X pattern on the cards, and it was taking some time, but the caller was playing a lot quicker than the regular game because a lot of kids and older people had left, so I guess she had more into it. She announced it was a $51 jackpot to be won, so while it was small potatoes compared to the $1000 prize awarded earlier, it was still nothing to sniff at.
As it got closer and closer, I noticed I only had one number left to get: I25. 25 happens to be my lucky number. So of course, they called I26 and I23 and I18 in quick succession, and I was like, “Darn it!” I was getting aggravated. Then she veered away from the I’s for a while, and I was thinking, “Well, I probably won’t win” so I just settled in to wait it out. I was playing and not really paying attention to the monitors when Heather said, “Hey, Susan!” and pointed up to the next ball. Damned if it wasn’t I25. We all started praying no one would call bingo, which no one did, and the minute she said, “I25”, I cupped my hands to my mouth and yelled, “BINGO!!!!!” She verified my card number, and yes, I won FIFTY ONE DOLLARS, coincidentally the exact same amount of money I had spent this morning at the Moms of Multiples yard sale!
Victory, my friends, has rarely felt so good. The caller said, “It’s about time one of you ladies won!” I made a speech about how graduating in the top 10% of my high school class was nothing compared to the glow of a bingo, nor was magna cum laude in college. About the only thing I didn’t do was thank the Catholic Business Alliance or whatever it is that sponsors bingo.
And then it was over and we had to go home. Everyone agreed what a wonderful time it had been and hopefully we will get to do it again sometime! Dustina and I posed a final time with our winnings and I headed home to tell Michael of our good fortune :)
It’s true what they say…