Thursday, November 12, 2009

Basement Bingo

Bingo was the vice of choice for the Cowman's maternal grandmother. She was a lovely elder, who had the "sight" and could drink you under the table any day of the week. When she moved closer to family so we could keep a caring eye on her, the vice came with her.

My volunteering to be the one to take her to weekly bingo in the church basement seemed at the time, a kind thing to do. How much would it take for me to drive in from the ranch, pick her up, and take her for a few hours of bingo? In my inexperience I hadn't realized how serious the whole thing was to her.

She always met me at her apartment door, nicely dressed, carrying a cane, and a huge handbag. The huge handbag contained several sweet little ol lady hankies, her bingo money, a dozen or more brightly colored marker dabbers, her special cushion, a wallet for identification, her smokes, a propane fire stick lighter, her mace, her loaded pistol, and her flask. Most of these items were not allowed in the church basement, but she said that was between her and her God!

She would hustle into the basement while I was parking the pickup, and was usually settling in by the time I got down stairs. There was a whole lot of prep before the bingo games started. A certain place to sit, a certain order to the placement of all her paraphernalia and a few comments to the other elders (usually of a derogatory nature).

One particular evening she commented to me that she had just about had it with the ol crone setting next to her. Thinking to divert her attention I asked if she had spoken to an elderly gentleman in a wheelchair that she had previously seemed to be fond of. "No, and don't be trying to change the subject." Having put me in my place, she continued her game.

Things got a bit worse when the ol crone won the next game, Gran thinking she had bingoed first. The elder gentleman wheeled over to congratulate the ol crone. He no sooner got the words out of his wizened mouth than Gran was on him like a bad rash. She took to him with her cane, at the same time trying to keep up with the dobbing of her multiple bingo cards, and giving the ol crone what for. After I pulled her off the elder gentleman, righted his wheelchair, picked up all her paraphernalia, apologized all around, and hustled her towards the door, the sirens sounded. She had set off the fire alarms with her smokes.

I got a call from the Priest a few days later, the Cowman's gran was banned from bingo, and would be expected at confession and mass, frequently. Good luck on that one, Father!

19 comments:

  1. This post is so truly wonderful. I thought characters like this only appeared in books and movies. You come from RELIGIOUS stock!

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  2. Please GOD let me grow old like that!!

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  3. My mom is a bingo fanatic too. She goes everyday they are open. I would hate to see it myself! LOL(-: Those Bingo players are very serious about their game! That bag of hers must way 20 pounds. I never looked in there but I can imagine whats in it!!!

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  4. These oldies, they're just a bunch of hoodlums. I like her spirit, better than being a "nice old dear" who's braindead. I hope I'm as bolshy as that in my dotage. You'd have to drag me kicking and screaming to a bingo game though.

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  5. That was so very funny and having been there with my own Granny, I KNOW what you mean.
    These ladies are rabid about Bingo. When I quit smoking I had to quit going. Bingo halls have a denser smoke clouds than a neighborhood bar.

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  6. What a spirited old lady. We need to be like her in our old age!

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  7. "...her mace, her palm pistol..." I like that image, an old lady going to the bingo armed to the teeth, you frontier people live the life don't you :)

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  8. "Mimi"(gran) was quite a gal. Miss her spirit and pluck. The holiday poker games are definitely not the same.

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  9. That sounds like someone I would know. She wasn't from Montana, was she?

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  10. Alice Welcome, Nope, she was an Oregonian thru and thru.
    Thanks for coming by.

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  11. There is a lot to be said for feisty.

    Especially looking back on feisty from a distance. With a smile.

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  12. Hi Barry, I'm for feisty every time. Another time & place would have been less, if not for her.

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  13. She reminds me of my grandmother for whom bingo was a way of life but at the Veterans not the Church. But she wad just as feisty.
    Great story.

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  14. Thanks Dr. John, Glad to see that your doing better, Think Feisty!

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  15. OH how funny is this post. I love it. So glad I stopped by to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving.
    Maggie

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  16. Maggie, Glad you could come by. Happy Thanksgiving to you as well.
    I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.

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  17. Yeah, those Oregonians can be just as feisty as us Montanans, though frankly she reminds me more of a Texan..

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