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.
Often we use simple terms to describe the friends we know, declaring attributes we most admire or more likely, desire. Either way we find ourselves smiling when we say, she’s fun, outgoing, and a daredevil too!
When we are searching out a new friend, complicated thoughts bubble to the surface. Stating that someone is simply fun isn’t enough. We tend to define what fun means to us. I want a friend who enjoys long walks and tea parties. Who drinks beer and can sing karaoke on a moment’s notice.
Sometimes though, words evade us and we are left with edges of a feeling we can’t quite put into words. Like cool air drifting over us, we are drenched in heightened awareness, and the elusive word(s) are replaced with a picture.
For me it is creased leather cushions.
The buttery leather is inviting. When I sink into it, the creases give and expand as if they’ve been patiently waiting for me. Together, the cushion and me, find the perfect position to rest. I love that the cushion hides the parts of me that I prefer to keep from others, tucking them deep in the folds, like a secret. As I relax into the tawny leather, my mood often lightens. And, whether or not I am aware, peace comes. Often it’s ever so subtle; my nervous leg stops bouncing, I stop futzing with my hair, wondering if it looks flat against my head. The breath I’ve been saving for no particular reason, releases in a slow escape.
There are plumper cushions. Some with fabric that sparkles and sticks to your skin so all can see where you’ve been. Tight weaves leave you sitting high on the cushion, above the other friends. I’ve had those friends-oh, I mean cushions. You had better hold tight to the chair arms because you might bounce right off.
My closest friends are creased leather cushions. While other fabrics may fray or stain, leather endures. However, effort is needed to care for them. A gentle rub or hug. A polish or compliment. Sometimes, just sitting with them when they’ve been wounded, the weight of their pain, carving another crease into their being.
When I look in the mirror, I see creases across my forehead. And fine lines around my eyes and lips. And when I dare to look, the deeper ones mottling my neck. Then I smile and remember that I am someone’s creased leather cushion.