Bingo! (325th new thing).
July 9, 2012 § Leave a comment
I’ve passed by the American Legion in Duluth, GA hundreds, thousands of times over the past several years, often taking note of the sign outside which reads, “Bingo, Wednesday and Friday at 7:30PM.” I’d always thought it could be an enjoyable way to spend an evening, but never took the chance to stop in. That is, until Day Three Hundred Twenty-Five.
On Bingo Nights I imagined the inside of the brick building would be smoky and full of retirees with large pages of bingo cards laid out in front of them. In reality it was a brightly lit room with a stage at one end for the caller and many plastic tables laid out in rows. The attendees were a mixture of ages and races and I wasn’t the only single woman in attendance. People are serious about their bingo.
I bought a “three book paper” for fourteen bucks an a “dauber” for a dollar twenty-five and found a seat at the end of a table populated by a quartet of retirees on a double date. The book had six pages of nine Bingo squares. We would be playing six rounds, each with a different objective.
In the first game we had to stamp out an equal sign in the center of the board, no Bs or Os being called. I didn’t win.
In the next game we had to block out a square of four blocks in any corner, followed by a diagonal line stemming from it to the opposite corner. I didn’t win that one either.
There were three other games before the grand finale, the blackout, none of which I won. I even purchased additional cards half way through the evening. There was no “traditional” bingo game, where a straight line across any part of the board would win you a prize. Apparently that’s too boring for these seasoned champions.
The grand prize was six hundred big ones. I was beginning to see why people came back every week. One square was always blocked out before the game, which I found out later was because the pot had turned over. At the beginning of a series of games (one which is played every Friday night), there is an added bonus to the blackout winner if he or she gets bingo in fewer than a certain number of calls (which I think is 40). If no one achieves this, the number is raised the following week and the additional prize is rolled over. So the six hundred dollars included the bonus, and number 53 was always free since they had spent thirteen weeks without a winner of the additional money.
Until that night.
It wasn’t me. Did you think it could have been? No, it was actually the man sitting one table over from me, playing on his electronic card which resembled a child’s fancy See ‘N Say. He called it as the fifty-second number was read out, and thus walked away with six C notes.
I’m going back next week.