Bingo lovers unite – C-1, C-2 or more, or B-1, B-4 lunch |

Bingo lovers unite – C-1, C-2 or more, or B-1, B-4 lunch

April E. ClarkGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Post Independent/Kara K. Pearson

Nine ladies sit around a rectangular table, the sound of pennies scraping on its surface as they clear their bingo cards. Another winner at bingo on a Friday morning at Colorado Mountain College’s Lucy Huntley Senior Center.The senior women wear short, salon-set hairdos and sweaters colored pink, purple or blue. Each player studies her bingo card like a cat watching an occupied bird feeder.The caller, Phyllis Carver, quiets a few women talking nearby.”Why does time go fast?” comments one of the players, as High Country RSVP volunteers begin setting tables for lunch next to them.Carver turns the handle of the wire bingo cage, spinning the yellow balls before calling out letters and numbers.

“N42, four-two,” Carver says, enunciating so the eight players can hear.”They really look forward to this,” senior programs director Gwen Stephenson says. “We play bingo and pinochle, and we’re starting a book club. One of my goals is to get more activities in here.”Stephenson doesn’t take the credit for bringing bingo to senior programs. She gives all the kudos to her mom – who’s also the caller.”She’s actually the reason we have bingo,” Stephenson says. “It was her idea.”The bingo winners win more than a nickel here and a nickel there. They can win Traveler tickets for free shuttle rides to and from bingo and lunch, as well as meal tickets at one of the programs’ eight meal sites. That afternoon, one lucky winner would be enjoying pot roast and vegetables, apple pear salad with almonds and dark chocolate mousse.A meal fit for a bingo queen.As lunch nears, a new winner calls out the magic word.Carver checks her credibility, with a roll call of the letters and numbers needed for a true bingo. Then, a new game begins.One of the little yellow balls falls to the ground and bounces on the linoleum tiles.

“There goes somebody’s lucky one,” Carver says. “It’s over by the piano, so I’m not going to track it down.”A few more letter-number combinations are called.And they have a winner.”Do you have a bingo?” Mellie Stecklein, who’ll be 71 Monday, excitedly asks her neighbor to the right. “Good for you!”Donning a purplish-pink colored sweatsuit, Stecklein says the bingo games are more about the fun than just winning.”It’s not cut-throat here,” she says, with a smile. “I always look forward to it.”Bingo’s over for the day, but will be back at the senior center Tuesday.”Fellas, are we finished?” asks Rose Coggins, who lives in Glenwood Springs, but hails from New York City.Like Stecklein, Coggins says bingo is a game she’s played for years that gives her the chance to get out and socialize.

“I always played bingo back in New York,” she says. “It’s something I like to do. I don’t like to stay in.”Calling it a day, the ladies reach forward to scoop up their pennies from the tabletop and neatly place them in clear plastic cups.Until they meet again.For a friendly game of bingo.Contact April Clark: 945-8515, ext. 16601aclark@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO

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