One of THE Most Exciting Nights of My Life… EVER!

On Christmas Eve we were invited over to our daughter’s new in-laws. I will be the first to admit I am a creature of habit and do not give up old traditions or start new ones effortlessly. But her in-laws are wonderful people and so the invitation was much appreciated.

They had prepared a buffet dinner fit for royalty, with the plant-based foods displayed prominently to make it easier for those of us who choose to focus on them. And there were pies! So many pies! I decided that evening that I could become a “pie-a-tarian”. In fact, I’m going to experiment with this increasingly in the future. My son-in-law’s grandmother had made these oh so delightful celebrations of fruit and she is a pie artist in the truest sense. Could there be a more perfect food than pie?

During dinner it was announced that there would be games played after dinner. I am so old! I had to internally roll my eyes because frankly, nothing sounds lamer than playing games. Then it was announced that the game would be BINGO. BINGO. Really? BINGO? That game that people play using those ink daubers in gigantic halls? Don’t you have to be over 70 to play BINGO? “B-9, O- 24…” I could feel a sudden illness coming my way, which would require a quick exit from the whole game-playing portion of the evening.

Then it was explained that there would be prizes. My interest was piqued somewhat. And there was a twist. When you got a BINGO, you could either take a gift bag with contents that were unknown, or you could take any of the prizes of the previous winners. Now that sounded absolutely diabolical. All right, I was in! No faking of sudden on-set illness required!

We were allowed to play with 2 or 3 cards. As a competitive type, I obviously took 3. I also assumed this would force me to pay more attention and keep me from nodding off. It was, well, BINGO after all.

And so began the suspense. How is it possible to have so many matches on one card but none in a complete line? Then others began yelling “BINGO!” The prizes were awesome and I wanted one. In fact, I wanted all of them. Within minutes of the first few BINGO’s being called, I was overwhelmed with the desire to win.

I have never wanted to win anything so badly, in my life… EVER! It was downright ugly.

When I finally got a BINGO I chose a wrapped gift, which turned out to be a Christmas decorative candleholder and some After Eight mints. They were lovely. But I had my eye on the pile of prizes that were accumulating around my son-in-law’s brother, Jordan. His success at winning so many prizes reeked of some sort of collusion with the BINGO caller. No one could be that lucky. But I decided to not make my suspicions public. I was determined to win regardless of the hopeless odds stacked against me.

One of Jordan’s prizes was a pair of winter weight boot socks, the kind that keep your feet warm in below-zero weather. In the snow. They looked great. I was jealous. I was envious. In fact I began a very public discussion of the fact that if I won another BINGO he would in fact be forfeiting those socks to me. Now I really wanted to win. It didn’t help that when I yelled my first BINGO I jumped up with such vigor that I knocked my cards off my lap and spilled all of my chips, so that I had to start again from scratch. No matter, I would win those socks, come hell or high water.

As the game progressed from that point on basically every number that was called led to a BINGO because everyone’s cards were very full and the prizes were quickly diminishing. NOTE TO SELF: Next time you win a BINGO don’t knock all your markers off the board! I was getting quite frantic about my NEED to win those socks!! Finally my younger daughter won the final BINGO prize. So the pressure was on her. What would she do? Take the unknown prize or usurp those socks from Jordan, which had been elevated to epic proportions. There was much back and forth. There was public coaching from all sides. Pros … Cons … But because of her excellent parenting she made the right choice and took the socks. And then surprisingly, the following afternoon I unwrapped the now truly historic most awesome-est work socks … EVER MADE! Best Christmas EVER!

On Boxing Day the new in-laws were at our house for brunch and as I was helping Michelle serve it was surprising how often I was able to work into the conversation how warm and comfortable my feet were on our cold, 1888 farmhouse-hardwood floors, thanks to my new, totally unbelievably awesome socks. I was quite merciless, in fact.

Luckily I had a backup plan. As I am wont to do once in a while at this time of year, I may have in fact purchased a package of 4 outdoor, thermal boot work socks for myself. So before the in-laws arrived I had wrapped them up and gave them to Jordan in the spirit of family harmony.

I believe the greatest hope for humanity lies in all of us adopting a new spirit of unity and cooperation to take on the challenges that lie ahead, especially environmental. Our “winner takes all, top of the heap” attitude of competitiveness must change. Cooperation and not competition is the solution. And because of this I am most disappointed in my display of hyper-competitiveness playing BINGO. Perhaps I would have been better if we didn’t have the ability to take someone else’s prize. Perhaps I would have risen above the fray if the prizes weren’t as good, or if those darn work socks hadn’t been included. I must do better. I must defeat this evil competitive streak that lies deep within.

In the meantime I’m off to add Jordan to my friends list on Facebook so that I can post photos of me in deep snow with sub-freezing temperatures, raving about how warm and toasty my feet are! Look at me; I’m king of the world! I won at BINGO! Best night EVER!

bingo-cards

3 Responses to “One of THE Most Exciting Nights of My Life… EVER!”

  • tiffany:

    hilarious. I too need a chuckle and feel the same competitive spirit when we do our ‘Christmas Pie”. a lot of stuff (some cheap, some not so) are wrapped in brown paper and tied with long strings. Each person in turn grabs a string and unwraps. Once the box is empty the free for all trading starts. I love the bingo idea, will entertain that thought for an adult family gathering.

  • I really shouldn’t have read this – I should be other things but I’m easily distracted. Don’t regret it though, really needed the laugh. Thanks for being such an entertaining writer…that comes through in many of your posts!

  • Catherine:

    Cam, you are too FUNNY! Thanks for the smiles.

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Cam Mather and his wife Michelle live independently off the electricity grid using the sun and wind to power their home and their CSA. Cam is working towards the goal of making his home “zero-carbon” and with his extensive garden he aims to grow as much of his own food as possible. He is available to speak at conferences and other events and has motivated many people to integrate renewable energy into their lives, reduce their footprint on the planet and get started on the path to personal food, fuel and financial independence.
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