what better way to spend a morning then at the linville-edom ruritan club. to anyone else… the group meeting there every tuesday morning looks like a bunch of senior citizens. but they are anything but senior, or old or elderly or anything else that comes to mind. they call themselves “recycled teenagers” and if you ask how old they are, they’ll quickly tell you how many years young.
i first met some of them monday afternoon for a quick interview. i pulled into the gravel parking lot. richard ran to get my door, “i have to practice being an escort” he said. they all greeted me cheerfully and called me things like honey, doll and sweetheart. i set up my camera and out came the easter bonnets. see, that’s what the story was all about… the recycled teenagers were having an easter party and bonnet contest on their regular bingo morning the next day.
richard asked his wife if they could take me home. norval said his friends helped make a bucket into a hat. frances couldn’t remember if she had 6 or 7 granchildren but she definitely had 4 great-grandchildren. arletta said i reminded her of her granddaughter.
after quick interviews they asked if i would come by the party tomorrow. there would be food and music. how could i refuse? i offered to bring my flute since easter is my second favorite holiday and they were elated.
tuesday morning i headed back out there and brought an intern. this time i had to park on the side next to the post office because the lot was so full. as we walked in the building richard nearly tackled me in a bear hug. his wife charlotte was over at the keyboard singing with a little group. frances, with her half pink half blue eye glasses squealed, “you came!”
70 of them were talking and eating and almost all of them had a hat on. there were cowboy hats with fringe attached. there was a colander with plastic easter eggs dangling from it. a big straw hat covered in pastel silk flowers. real bonnets. dozens of little chickies and duckies and bunnies glued or taped to other hats. egg and bunny stickers plastered one piece of headgear. the man that would be the caller for the bingo game wore a golf hat with world war II items… he must have missed the memo. loving arms reached out to squeeze and hug. and we heard all about their children and grandchildren’s accomplishments.
everyone insisted that we eat the goodies they all brought… i had coffee cake, macaroni salad, cheese & crackers and trail mix. without warning there was quite a commotion and bingo boards were handed around and the caller stood at attention. arletta interrupted him before he could begin to announce that i had brought my flute.
i played “o saviour thou who wearest a crown of piercing thorn” and “that easter morn.” i was concerned that the flute’s pitch would be rough on their fragile ears… but the applause drowned out any doubt of discomfort.
then the game began, and we were even given boards. the table nearest us made sure we knew how to play. i nodded appreciatively, thinking, it’s bingo. not too difficult. but soon they were explaining ways to win i was never aware of.. you can win with the small diamond or the big one. with a postage stamp or all four corners. so many ways to win.
bingo had never been so much fun!
bingos were shouted out here and there and the winners got to select a prize from the table up front… saltines, condensed milk, trash bags, toilet paper…
i helped tally up all the votes for the bonnets… and then i got to announce the prettiest, funniest, craziest and most original. our friend norval with the “bucket hat” took the cake for originality.