“Bingo!” hollered my Aunt Toogie. “Beat you again!”
I had just started to read the sports page, a task that usually takes under a minute now. I was multitasking, also listening to the television behind me and keeping score on my Bingo card. I was just one square away from winning when Toogie snatched another victory.
“Read ‘em and weep,” she crowed, putting her card in front of me and pointing to a vertical row. “That Shelly Leeke ad gave me Bingo.”
Perusing it, I muttered, “I heard the Bill Green ad, but I didn’t hear Cantey Can Fix It.”
“It was just on!” Toogie exclaimed. “Right in between the dental implant and Budget Blinds ads. Open your ears.”
After a pause she grinned and held out her hand for the one dollar bet on each game. Opening my wallet I inquired, “Are you sure you want this? You don’t know where it’s been.”
Grabbing the cash she replied, “Not to worry. I’ll sanitize it.”
My lovely wife, Grace, set down a nearly-completed crossword puzzle. “Win again?” she asked Toogie, who was waiving the dollar above her head.
“Like shooting fish in a barrel,” Toogie chortled, adding, “You’re right. He is a candidate for Miracle Ear. I whip him almost as much as you do in your nightly game of Five Crowns.”
I wasn’t so sure about the hearing part but had to admit that they each held a sizable lead in our respective competitions. The object of Toogie’s contest is to get five in a row on a Bingo card that contains descriptions of frequent local TV ads. She created a batch of these randomized cards utilizing a Bingo card generator app. We play every morning during breakfast. It is the latest in a long line of at-home activities enjoyed or endured to pass the time during Quarantine 2020.
Our pursuit of new and different projects has progressed through phases. We watched “Tiger King,” although Grace thought they should all be locked up. Grace enjoys “Mrs. Maisel.” Toogie loved “Ozark” and is now watching “Hell on Wheels” while I have skipped through some old Sherlock Holmes movies on YouTube and am now watching reruns of college football games from the 1990s. Grace reads several books a week from our library. Toogie has spent hours listening to Alexander Hamilton on Audible and I read
“Breezing” by local author Michael Ferrara. It is very good.
Jigsaw puzzles fill the dining room table. No need to remove the myriad of pieces; no one is coming to dinner. I liked the one with pictures of old candy bars better than the one with images from vintage television shows. But I refuse to try the one that is just a tiger’s face. Way too hard although Grace and Toogie are making excellent progress.
The ladies weren’t much interested in my exploration of family genealogy despite my discovery of kin generations ago in Kingstree, South Carolina. At the same time, they volunteered to go on a day trip to Kingstree, or any other place, just to get out of the house.
A trip to Mount Pleasant is a treat. Have mask, will travel.
The Wii console we keep for grandchildren has been a big hit. Grace is very good at bowling while I can now shoot golf scores in the 60s. Toogie is a whiz at tossing a Frisbee to a virtual dog. We have cycled through a bunch of board games – Balderdash, Dominos, Wits & Wagers, Sequence, and Apples to Apples to name a few. An unusually intense competitive side of Grace emerges any time we play Pictionary. She also nixed my suggestion of household hide-and- seek. Too bad because I had discovered a perfect hiding place behind an enormous stack of toilet paper packages in an upstairs storage area.
I know these are uncertain and trying times. I hope you and your family are safe and have been spared any distress or heartache from the pandemic. While each new day may seem a bit like Bill Murray’s “Groundhog Day,” please keep yourself well and hopeful.
We all pray for discovery of a cure/vaccine and a return to whatever “new normal” awaits. In the meantime, find small things to cheer and celebrate even if they are as trivial and fleeting as TV ad Bingo. If you want some of Toogie’s TV ad Bingo cards, call me. I’m
glad to give them up.
In the meantime, I’m holding onto one card I found in Toogie’s stack. On one of the diagonals it has George Sink, My Pillow, and the Free Space. This baby is a sure one-dollar winner!