by John Rubens
August 3, 2017, Bullhead City, AZ, River Valley Senior Center of August 2, 2017 Bingo Wednesday night.
Liz, Don and I played 31 beforehand. Liz pointed out my lucky penny after sharing her coffee with me during the Bingo intermission. I didn’t pick it up at first, but when she passed behind behind me a second time seeing the penny still on the floor, I asked her, “Do you want it?” and picked it up to show her.
“Is it heads?” she asked.
“What? Was the penny heads up?” I inquired.
“Yes,” she responded.
“No, it was tails.”
Just then Claudine sitting opposite me showed interest in the lucky penny. I was a new shiny penny with a shield reverse. Claudine said she had never seen such a penny.
“It’s a new one,” I said. “You haven’t seen it yet?”
“They have a shield now. Do you want it?” I asked.
She nodded assent and said “Yes, I’ll take that, I’ve never seen it”, and I handed the penny to her.
Liz had won the first Bingo game and after the intermission, we played “Double Action” bingo where you have to keep track of a JUMBO card and two number in each square on the “double action” card.
It was a long game. When Claudine yelled “Bingo!” and went up to get her winnings, I realized I had not marked the #46 which would have given me Bingo some time before Claudine’s, but under the rules, once another Bingo number is called, your Bingo expires. One must “Bingo” on the last number officially called by the caller.
Claudine came back smiling. “A hundred and twenty one dollars.”
“Look!” I showed her my double action card. “I had Bingo too, just like you did last time, but didn’t call it.”
Her smile turned to business. “You want to split it?”
“No,” I said knowing the five people that split her pot on the previous Saturday did not share their pot with her. We sat opposite each other on that day too, only she was watching out for me more.
Claudine reminded me of my Irish grandmother Frances. Where we sat opposite each other, I was able to admire her Irish blue eyes and painted eyebrows that reminded me of our “Grandma Tici” as we used to call her. We distinguished my maternal grandmother by her daughter and my aunt Patrice and my paternal grandparents by their dog, Bowsie, Grandma and Grandpa Bowsie.
As we played the next couple of small pot games, she saw I was determined and businesslike. “Watch and pray,” I had read that very morning from the gospel of Mark. I didn’t watch. Every caller is different and Irma proceeded quickly with the games, not as slow as George but slower than the Riverside Casino across the Colorado River in Laughlin Nevada.
“Maybe you’ll win again!” Claudine would say, just as Grandma Tici would. “Hit a home run for Grandma” she repeated from the grandstand. “Hit a home run for Grandma,” and to my amazement, I hit it over the centerfielder’s head for a three run homer.
Claudine still was lit from her winnings and showed me the $121.00 confidential smile, not wanting to bring out the envy of the other members. Some gal called me the “Big Winner” afterwards in the lobby as I was getting ready to leave. I had won an $18.00 “bow-tie” Bingo game after raising my arms in a triumphant gesture to Claudine saying “Bow-tie tuxedo!”
Claudine interrupted me as I said “tuxedo” after a momentary pause, my mind searching for the word. I don’t know what she said while I blurted “tuxedo.”
“Big Winner? I had the double action but didn’t call it. Then you’d really hate me.” I left the Senior Center, a member and a winner and a benefactor.
To Liz, Claudine, the U.S. Mint, and Jesus Christ.
“You’ll win again!” Claudine said. “You’ll win again!”
copyright August 6, 2017