Bingo with Mama


MAY 2020


I'll admit, I don’t go to the bingo hall as often as I did before Mama passed away. She really enhanced the whole experience—plus, we always split our wins. It was a mother-daughter thing, and no one went home jealous of the other’s winnings. I have friends who play, but it’s often difficult to coordinate our personal obligations with a bingo meet-up.

Mama and I often played “daytime bingo.” Our local hall had a nice double session that ran from noon to 4:00 p.m. (if you played all the games). The bingo hall had an impressive snack bar, but Mama would often choose to pack a lunch for the both of us. I’m sure the players seated near us appreciated our egg salad sandwich luncheons. Oh well, sometimes you need to save your cash for more bingo cards…or pull-tabs.

I prefer daytime bingo over evening sessions. I can get my bingo fix and be home before dinnertime—and even bring dinner with me if I had a big win. I remember my dad exclaiming “You must have won!” when Mama and I came home one evening with a family-size bag of BBQ with all the fixin’s.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m more than willing to go to evening or nighttime bingo. I just prefer to have dinner at home and enjoy my TV shows and not drive home in the dark. But, to be honest, I ain’t gonna say no if you call and invite me. One night, I quickly changed from pajamas to jeans when a couple of friends called to invite me to MIDNIGHT bingo. I drank a lot of coffee that night.

My biggest bingo win was at daytime bingo. It wasn’t our usual hall, but they had a very flamboyant bingo caller that Mama liked. He would crack really bad jokes (I think we laughed just because they were so bad), and flirt with the ladies between calls. Mama never wanted to sit close enough to the caller to become an object of his flirtations; just close enough to enjoy the “show.” My big win there was $1,500 and I think Mama was more excited than I was. After I tipped the floor worker, Mama and I had a nice big kitty to split. She leaned over to me and said, “Let’s not tell your father how much we won.” Secret money is the best money!

I miss those daytime bingo sessions with Mama. I would give my best dauber (and all my wins) to sit with her for four hours, eating egg salad sandwiches and chatting the afternoon away.

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Elle & Company

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