This past weekend, our little town held a winter carnival. Typical small town fun: pancake breakfast, snowshoe egg relay (which Carter’s team won), potato sack relay (the funniest moment was when a little girl jumped right out of her sack but didn’t realize it and continued jumping all the way across the yard!), tug of war, spicy chilli and bun lunch, and (of course) bingo.

I haven’t played bingo for years. I think the last time was when I went with my (then) boyfriend’s mother to a fancy bingo hall at West Edmonton Mall. Easily twenty years ago. I remember the serious fun of it all. The regulars came in with their bingo boinkers, taped down six to eight cards on the table, propped up the lucky stuffed toy or picture of the grandkids, and they were set. I could not keep up with them. I was lucky to do two cards at a time, although I remember I won twenty-five dollars that night.

While not quite of the same caliber, our Saturday afternoon bingo game at the Parish Hall was great fun. I sat down at a table with a group of older women, and thoroughly enjoyed myself. The cards were old relics from a bingo hall that had closed down years earlier. They were cardboard, with little coloured plastic windows that slid across to cover the number if it was called. I won the blackout round! But the most fun was visiting with the women at my table.

I discovered that two of the women, sisters, had grown up in my house. Their grandfather was the original owner, and the house itself was built by the father-in-law of one of the sisters. They described the house as it was when they lived here. They remembered sitting on the veranda on summer mornings, shelling peas or snapping beans. We had a wonderful visit, and I invited them to stop by any time to have a look at the old place. They said they were expecting relatives in the summer and they would give me a call and come by then.

All in all, a lovely Saturday.

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