As soon as we push through the double doors, we can hear the excited oos and ahhs, and the scrapping back of the chair legs as those who are able to, rise to their feet to greet us.
“They grow up so fast,” they tell us solemnly, as they stroke a soft baby cheek.
We catch up with some of the ladies, and mourn the loss of those who have passed. Just this trip, one of our favorites had passed since we visited last, her photo on a memorial board. “The Black Widow,” as we called her. You see, during bingo, I’ll sometimes call out a discussion question so we all get to know each other better. Such as, “What’s your favorite season, favorite food, etc.” When I asked about favorite past time, our dear friend yelled out, “SEX!”
We couldn’t help but all burst into laughter throughout the whole room. “I’ve been married 4 times,” she smiled, her face bright. “I killed ’em all, one after the other!” She added, jovial. We couldn’t help to joke about it weeks later.
Jaime was our caller so she could continue to cuddle her teenie boy, and the rest of us filled our spots with plastic chips, pretending to be very competitive, and mentioning how much we would love to win one of the prizes.
When a bingo was called, we made it a big deal. Declaring their name, presenting their present that they got to unwrap, usually to someone so surprised, their mouth open in stunned surprise as the gift is placed into their hands, no words coming out of their mouth, eyes wide. Until they slowly start to unwrap, a shy smile coming to their faces as they hold up their prize.
When the prizes are gone, and the chips are stacked in a tupperware, we say our final goodbye, tell our friends that we will miss them and that we will see them very soon and that we are praying for them.