Monday Morning Musings

Posted on October 8, 2018 under Monday Morning Musings with no comments yet

Bingo. Bango.Bongo

 

Yes indeed, Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks for the abundance afforded Canadians. We are inundated every second of the day with negativity and bad news, that is, if we choose to get sucked into that vortex. Life is not without its trials, tribulations and suffering but there is a lot of wonderful stuff going on around us. As we gather with family and friends today to celebrate Thanksgiving, let’s reflect on those things that make us smile.

Let’s start with bongs and bingo.

As a rule, I don’t purchase lottery tickets. It would appear that this is a retirement strategy for a lot of people. On my birthday in August, I received a (saucy!) card with a few scratch tickets. They sat on my desk for the better part of two months, such was my faith in instantly winning $100,000. I was surprised to discover that I won $4.00. That’s the good news. The bad news is that I would have to go somewhere to claim my prize.

I sauntered down the Main last week clutching the winning ticket which felt something akin to transporting contraband across the border. I looked in both directions before for skulking into Downtown Convenience. I was just about to enter when another older man appeared and I did my best Emily Post impression and held the door.

Mistake.

He made a beeline for the counter. For once in my life, I prayed that the person in front of me would buy cigarettes. When he pointed down at the myriad of lottery tickets peeking out under the glass enclosure, my heart sank. He painstakingly pored over every ticket before choosing the “cupcake ticket.” He tendered his $2.00 and I drew a sigh of relief. As the clerk was making change, he decided to increase his odds by purchasing a “poker lotto” for $5.00. She returned $13 from the $20.bill.

Well, that wasn’t too bad as I stared up at the wall behind the counter and saw an impressive array of bongs or water pipes, apparently a big seller at this establishment.

The man was set to take his leave when he stared at the small Lotto screen that flashed all kinds of pictures of winners and other potential winning scratch ticket options. “I think I’ll have one of those,” he said pointing to the plasma screen. “Which one,” replied the clerk? We all stood and watched the screen in breathless anticipation. “That one.” Yes, there was little doubt that “Super Crossword” was a winner.

For the uninitiated, a bong or water pipe is a device used for smoking marijuana or other drugs.

“Do you sell many water pipes,” I asked the clerk as she took my ticket to validate my new found fortune? With a university crawling distance away, my guess is that they were the target market. I was surprised to learn (not really) that many ordinary folks in the community like to experience a higher level of consciousness.

I was tempted to buy one and see if it might be useful for pain management once marijuana becomes legal on October 17th. Actually, if the man in front of me had purchased one more ticket, I might have asked for a demonstration of the bong on the spot.

Other than in my childhood, I have played bingo exactly once in adulthood and I am pretty sure that on that occasion, it required a few adult beverages to coax me into going. What I remember most was the cigarette smoke. It hung in the air like a thick fog. Someone in our group (outsiders all) won $100 and I distinctly recall the withering stares.

So when my brother announced that 18 of us (average age well north of 65) would play bingo down at the cottage after Thanksgiving dinner, it was met with a few raised eyebrows.

I didn’t think I would be remortgaging my home at the age of 67, but when there’s a high stakes bingo game, a fella will go to any lengths to get part of the action. We all plunked down $5.00 and a few extra bucks were tossed in to round the pot up to $100. We played three games: the first two games were warmups and the prizes were non- monetary. The last game was full card, winner take all.

There were a lot of laughs as you can well imagine. It was a beautiful fall evening and we could hear the gentle rolling of the waves in the background, a far cry from a smoke filled hall. The winner graciously donated his winnings to the Antigonish Emergency Fuel Fund. Others in the room followed suit and we were able to round up $700 for this worthy cause. Over 400 families in the Antigonish area require support to keep their homes warm during the cold winter months. On this day of Thanksgiving, it was a good opportunity to pause and remember those who aren’t quite as fortunate. The organization always welcomes donations.

Enjoy Thanksgiving and be grateful.

Have a great week.

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The Macdonald Notebook: Business & Politics in Atlantic Canada
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