When it comes to winning prizes, I’m not abundantly lucky.
At least, that’s my belief.
In my two decades at the Journal, no one has ever – on special occasions – pulled from a bowl or a box a slip of paper containing my name. It matters not if the prize was $5 or $100. Mine it was not.
I confess that on occasion I’ve purchased a lottery ticket from states beyond the borders of Mississippi. But I’ve not chosen winning numerals at any time.
Then I remembered there is something at which I’ve consistently had good luck.
Now, here’s the deal about bingo and painfully shy people: Having to shout out “bingo” when it’s appropriate is mortifying.
When I was in junior high, my parents took me along one Saturday night to the Moose Lodge in my hometown.
We played Bingo and when the time came, my dad hollered “bingo” for me. I won enough money to buy a beautiful blue five-speed spider bike with a sparkly banana seat at Grenada Hardware.
It would be years before I’d play again. I was teaching school on the Gulf Coast and was asked to participate in a bingo fundraiser on a Sunday afternoon.
Within the first 15 minutes, I’d won a free grocery trip. I almost had to give my prize to my co-worker who did the shouting for me.
When I worked at the Vicksburg Evening Post, I showed up one night at the bingo hall to sit, watch and chat in order to write a feature for the paper.
Times had changed since my last foray into the game, it seemed.
Ardent bingo devotees showed up with backpacks and briefcases from which they pulled rainbow-colored daubers for marking their bingo cards and good luck charms that ran the gamut from little stuffed animals to rabbits’ feet to bracelets, necklaces and pins alleged to contain a bit of magic to bring about a bingo.
These folks didn’t play a single card – some purchased as many as 20 or 30, and kept up with them all like seasoned professionals.
I was amazed.
A few years ago in Brookhaven, my friend Cheryl and I went to the Exchange Club Fair. It was hotter than a Carolina Reaper pepper and the only fan in site was under the bingo pavilion. So that’s where we went.
We purchased cards for the next few games and the caller commenced to shout out the numbers: B14, G52, 075 ... until someone got lucky.
“Bingo,” I shouted, with a confidence that accompanies advancing years, and walked to claim my prize. Next game was mine too. And the next.
My third trip to pick up a prize, I noticed the eyes of the local folks were upon me and not in a warm and friendly gaze.
I loaded my arms with my loot and walked away.
Quitting before my luck ran out.