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Scene: Time for the youngsters to take on bingo

By JR Ortega
May 8, 2013 at 12:08 a.m.

Who doesn't like winning? Take a break from the bar scene and head over to Palace Bingo for lively competition and fun.

Saturday nights as a child were different for me growing up.

We'd drive over to grandma's house, pile into my grandpa's 1980s beige Crown Victoria and head out for a night on the town - bingo hall, here we come.

These weekend escapes started when I was maybe 7 years old and carried on until I was about 10.

Grandma had her handy bag with more than 10 dabber pockets; her assorted array of "marcadores" snuggly filling each hole. Then, of course, there was a pocket for her red pack of Marlboro 100s - bingo wasn't bingo without a pack of smokes and a small, plastic Buddha for good luck.

I often frequent those memories of a crowded bingo hall - an open space with long wooden tables bustling with old people and kids like me dragged by their aunts, uncles and grandparents for their chance to hit it big.

To date, if I close my eyes and really think about it, I can still smell the ink drying on rough bingo paper and the smell of stale cigarette smoke.

The image of older people dabbing away at their bingo cards has not changed much, but if you look around any bingo hall today, you may see something you haven't seen - younger people taking the chance to win some dough.

In Victoria, there is Palace Bingo on Houston Highway. Why wouldn't some young whippersnapper want to try out something a bit different from the typical bar or club?

Bingo gave my grandmother a lot of joy. She would line up several bingo cards and dab like there was no tomorrow. To be honest, I've never played bingo as an adult, but I'm thinking of giving it a try.

I'd do it to win money, of course, but if nothing else, just to have a good time with friends and remember the good ol' days.

This one is for you, Grandma.



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