I pledge allegiance to a pointless game and for the chance I won’t be bored…every other Thursday night.
They don’t say it aloud but rest assured, I’m thinking it for them. For my slightly foolish friends and neighbors, I suppose it was a matter of scaling down to one good, recreational cause. And may the good Lord bless their contributions in any case. But honestly, how is B-4 and I-64 even slightly entertaining. B-4 is a preposition and I-64 is an interstate highway. I’d much rather mingle with young people.
Make no mistake, rain or shine, the faithful flock shows up every other Thursday night. I don’t have any problem admitting that Showanda Coltrane and her feisty congregation is a sight to behold. Showanda is Bingo royalty in Old Bern, West Virginia. She did, after all, turn her name into her destiny.
In any case, this Yankee transplant from Ol’ Connecticut became such a wonderful performer that most Old Bernians stopped thinking about where she was from and accepted her for who she was, not for who her people were during the war.
Showanda’s life was a country music song. Between games, she never failed to tell the Bingo birds bits and pieces of every excruciating detail. Plus, she fine-tuned her southern accent. Now, when she speaks, she’s completely captivating. She fits right in.
Still, some people cannot afford to lose chunks of money on a regular basis. I heard it from my widower friends, Doc Vaughn and Gunther McDonald, that things were brutally out of control at the Two Cousins Savings and Loan building on West End Avenue. Ironically, the quest for big prize money and amusement takes place in what used to be a bank lobby, for pity’s sake. Showanda felt no shame in jacking up entry fees so she could advertise big prize money.
As for the Bingo birds, the prospect of even a small win replaced any need for comfort. For a couple of hours and some odd minutes, players were content to give up simple luxuries. They were perfectly willing to sit on stiff picnic benches and rusty lawn chairs bunched up around dozens of eight-foot long tables covered in plastic. The decorating committee managed to string up some white twinkle lights in a couple of fake fichus trees. Showanda built herself a platform stage and painted it red, white and blue, very patriotic. But the rest of it was downright dreary.
I admit, I’ve gone to meddlin’, but only because I went one time with my friend Edna Jean Wilson. I was there to observe and make a donation. I suppose I could put it that way. In any case, winners left happier than a unicorn eating a rainbow cake. Losers weren’t even slightly upset. In fact, they acted all virtuous because at least the Boys and Girls Club got newer equipment and better programs out of it. I trust this is what led Showanda to believe her charity gaming events were sanctified.
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