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Bingo knows no age limits


We’ve been playing Bingo at Christmas time for a few years now. At first, I though the 20-something grandkids would scoff at playing a child’s game, but one look at the gift-wrapped prizes and they couldn’t help themselves. They would pick a card, find a seat and start listening for the numbers to be called.The prizes started out as nothing special, a flashlight or a case of pop. But then as they gained interest, I began to pick up gift cards and the occasional tool or some candy with a five dollar bill taped to it. Last year I decided they could contribute to the prizes and asked each of them to bring a gift to be included in the prized basket. When they all forgot, they came up with a $20 buy in and we put it all in one sweet jackpot. I had no idea that would take Bingo to the next level.This year was no different. I had various prizes which included some Craftsman tools, water bottles, ice cream scoopers and bottle openers that I had saved back from the cattle conventions. I also added in some of my dad’s paraphernalia from his insurance business including some plastic trash bags for your car (with his insurance agency on it) some Richard Peckens pens and round green keychains of which my mom has a drawer full!While some of the family was sick or out of town, the grandkids sat down at the table with their grandma and great aunt and began playing, anticipating winning one of the prizes in the center of the table. One person would shout “BINGO!” and everyone else would groan in disappointment. Conversation between numbers would vary from curiosity about the prizes to remembering last year’s worst prize and every now and then we would stop and listen to one of grandma’s stories from being on the livestock judging team at Michigan State.A tradition for young and old, this silly game has brought us all together year after year through the good times and bad. While this kid’s game may seem unimportant to the rest of the world, it never fails that when December rolls around at least one of my adult children will ask, “Did you get prizes for Bingo this year?” And my answer is always, “Yes!”Melissa is a farmwife, mom and freelance writer residing on a dairy farm in southern Michigan. She is available for speaking engagements by contacting her at mhart1@frontiernet.net. Visit her weblog at www.knolltopfarmwife.blogspot.com.