Bingo Adapts to Changing World
Dear Aunt Bingo:
When the Covid-19 pandemic was in full swing and at its scariest, no one had to lecture me twice on wearing a facemask, practicing social distancing and, the smartest and simplest move of all, staying home.
Luckily, as a retiree, it was easy for me to stay close to home much of the time. It also got pretty boring pretty quickly, but I hung in there and followed the rules as every intelligent American did and should.
As my community moved from phase one to phase two to phase three, I actually felt myself relaxing a little, being less fearful of going for a walk around the neighborhood, taking a drive to the grocery store or touching the handle of a self-serve gas pump.
But my social life stayed mostly unchanged, consisting of phone calls with family and friends and not much else.
Activities, like my beloved Bingo, remained in limbo. That is, until one afternoon when I got a phone call from my friend Elaine, who said that her community center was having an outdoor Bingo session. “Bring a folding chair and something to rest your Bingo paper on and you’re good to go,” she said.
I grabbed my Bingo bag, a clipboard from my desk and a folding chair from the garage and met Elaine, appropriately masked, in the community center parking lot. It was a beautiful late summer afternoon and the crowd wasn’t too large, so it was easy to place our chairs a safe distance away from each other and the rest of the players in the center’s big side yard.
Workers brought us our Bingo paper (no lines!) and handed it to us using long-handled pinchers.
When Bingo started, hearing the first number called was absolute heaven! It had been so long, and I really, really missed Bingo so much!
Neither Elaine nor I won anything, but it hardly mattered. We got to get out and do something social, play Bingo again, and visit for a while.
After our outing we both scoured the Internet for other outdoor Bingos and found two more—one at a library and one at another community center. We attended both and had a few friends join us. Each one was just as careful about seating and social distancing as the first and made for very enjoyable outings.
I strongly encourage people who feel that they have been spending too much time isolated at home to look for Bingo and other activities like these that are occurring outside and are managed safely. They are a dream come true!
—Janice J., Florida
Your letter was perfectly timed. It arrived just a day after I attended my second of two very different outdoor community Bingos.
The first was a neighborhood Bingo a friend invited me to. No cash prizes, but a lot of jovial competition and candy bar prizes.
The second was an official charity Bingo that was moved down the street from an indoor auditorium to a park. Early birds got the picnic tables; everyone else contended with sitting in their own folding chairs or on the ground. It was a little breezy and a little buggy, and the player turnout wasn’t great, which translated into smaller prizes. But the determination of everyone to have some semblance of a “normal” Bingo outing was clear, if not 100-percent realized. And I won $20!
Best of luck to you and all our fellow Bingo fans as we slowly move toward a universal normal and an unhampered life. —Aunt Bingo
Share your views! Write to Aunt Bingo c/o the Bingo Bugle, P.O. Box 527, Vashon, WA 98070, or email her at STENGL456@aol.com. Be sure to include your name and address (you can request that your name not be published), as typically she will not include anonymous letters in her columns.
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