Learning from a Pro
My grandmother, whom I called Nana Bingo for as long as I knew her, first took me to her local independent bingo hall when I was three years old. We continued going together every other Wednesday until I started full time at Primary School at the age of five. Of course, I can’t remember that very first day but I can easily remember her friends (Sheila, Jane and Mary in my mind practically all roll into one person with their large knit cardigans and pink rinses, and then Margaret was ten years or so their junior with designer jeans and handbags and beautifully manicured nails), the caller (a short, stocky man with impressive sideburns and a bristly moustache) and a lovely lady called Doreen who worked at the book sales desk (she would give me a lollipop every now and then).
My Nana loved her bingo and amazingly she never got into trouble with it, possible because of my granddad. She would never hide how much she was paying, how much she lost or how much she played which was never more than twice a week, actually. She was always in a good mood when it was bingo day whether she won or lost as she was surrounded by good company and having fun with the game.
As she grew older and frailer, she sadly had to give it up and despite our efforts would try online bingo for herself. Without a computer and with no knowledge of the internet it would have been a momentous task for us to teach her but when I once showed her one website, even with all the online chatting you can do, she said it just wasn’t the same.
I was always fussed over by Nana’s friends with my cute little dresses and curly blonde hair in the bingo hall and I loved it. Although I never fully understood the rules, and I still have never had time to learn them or play my own game of bingo anytime, I always enjoyed myself and my Nana Bingo was a pro who taught me how to be a gracious loser and a dignified winner.
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