Friday evening in Excelsior Springs, Missouri, 7 p.m.
It’s BINGO night at the American Legion. $12 buy-in and one glance at the “cheat sheet” tells me I’m already over my head. We don’t have any daubbers, but thankfully the two women whose table we’ve joined have a rainbow collection and they’re kind enough to share so we can use our remaining cash on cheese fries and ginger ale.
Our table-mates give us pointers on how to really do BINGO:
- Pre-mark your card because the games we’ll be playing are not your simple five-across and it’s easier to focus only on the squares you need to win.
- Watch the screen, so you can get a jump on marking your card for the next call.
- BYO paper bag to peel off and trash your used, loser sheets.
I was an absolute disgrace, daydreaming in the middle of the games so I’d get behind in marking my cards.
We wound up here on a whim, a left turn in search of dinner after a day relaxing at the spa at The Elms. We’re younger and gigglier than the rest of the crowd, but under the wing of Janice and her mother-in-law, we’re learning the ropes and having fun.
I accidentally toss my pre-marked final BINGO card into the paper bag with the losers, and I’m ready to just let that be that. But Janice paws through everything with me until we find it – just in time. And, life lesson: It’s a winner.
The American Legion in Excelsior Springs, Missouri, has never heard the blend of cheer/screech/laughing as erupted from our table. A $100 payout! Our tablemates get a cut of the winnings and the rest is just enough for our pizza, salad and beer tab down the street at Dubious Claims Brewing. We leave giddy. This is not the actual winning card, but you get the picture. We were a crew.
The next morning, after yoga in the gazebo, salt scrubs, sauna and serum* time, we met up with Janice in the parking lot of the Walmart. She gifted us a mason jar of her homemade hooch (an Everclear, Koolaid, Strawberry concoction) so we were sure that the night before hadn’t just been a strange but wonderful dream.
(Christa gifted me an incredible lovely face oil from STL-based LARK Skin Co. and now I’m a fancy lady whose skincare routine will involve more than drug store moisturizer. I love everything Christa has been doing through her Instagram to encourage people to consider how to pursue more sustainable choices!)