It was a wooden board with a groove to hold a bingo card. You know, the hard cards with the slide-thingies that covers up the number with a transparent film. For easy transport, the board folded in half. And it was sold at JC Pennys.
I remember circling the display with her and finding a half-dozen boxes on the bottom shelf, right inside the store entrance. If I glanced up to see her reaction at seeing the boards, her boards, I don’t remember.
I also don’t remember any discussion about the invention. Just the trip to the mall. I’m sure there was plenty of hubbub. Maybe, being a teen, it whizzed over my head. At fourteen, I had other pressing things on my mind: the zit on my chin. Did Critchfield like me? Why wouldn’t that weird feeling (later I learned it was anxiety) go away?
Today, while driving to sister’s breakfast, the idea for this blog surfaced. It was more of an epiphany really. My mother, Lois, was an entrepreneur! She had passion in her bones.
Like many kids, my parents weren’t real people with feelings, wants, and desires. My mom’s side of the family, the Barfoot clan are gentle spirits. I know I’m generalizing here, but it’s true. They are truly kind and generous folks, Canadian and cozy. A cup of tea is always nearby, along with a comfy sofa. And maybe toast.
Before this light bulb moment, I never considered my mother much of a go-getter. But as I parsed apart her Bingo invention, much became clear.
This gambling pursuit that requires staring at numbers and willing B-22, or G-56 to be called, is serious fun. Even glancing at your neighbors cards, and swearing under your breath when someone else yells Bingo, is fun. The snacks are high calorie and plentiful. The conversation lively.
Today I’m declaring that our collective love of bingo is thanks to Lois. She might not have been the first in the family with Bingo in her blood, but she had the passion to dive deeper and dream up an invention. I’m certain that there were wooden bingo boards before her invention and after. But she did it! And I love knowing that my entrepreneurial spirit may have stemmed from her side of the gene pool.