The Bingo Game
Aunty Ruth loved Bingo. She'd drag me and my brother Nicky to the church hall every Friday night. I was fascinated by the chain smoking ladies with curlers in their hair who managed to keep track of ten different Bingo cards at once. We giggled about Franny, Aunty Ruth's friend who always wore pin curls in her hair, day after day. Nicky would say, green eyes gleaming, "WHAT, is the Big Occasion she will finally take them out for?"
We'd roll on the floor, and Aunty would glare at us. "Don't embarrass me, or I'll smack you good!" she'd threaten, and we'd run around the tables taunting her. We knew she wouldn't bother to try to catch us; she wouldn't dare miss a called-out Bingo number.
This was a woman's world. The men were out playing poker or shooting pool. The only man in the parlor was the priest, a young, dark haired dreamboat with emerald eyes and long eyelashes that, according to Nicky, some of the curler-clad women had crushes on. This was a fact I found interesting, a clue to the Mysteries of the Adult World.
Aunty Ruth would buy us one card each, but I usually got distracted by the donuts and the other kids. Nicky would play his card very seriously, writing down various strategies the chain-smoking ladies gave him.
When I asked why Mom never came anymore Nicky whispered, "Poppy's jealous. Of Father Reilly."
"Says I have his eyes."
17 July 2014