I have never been much of a gambling gal. Never been to Vegas. Never bought myself a scratch card in hopes of winning the million(s). I think I find myself too much of a "realist" to know that the odds are stacked against me for winning and I would rather spend my $10 on ice cream :) . But here on PEI, "winning it big" is an underlying theme to being an islander. "Chase the Ace" is in every small community on the island - you will see the signs as you drive through Summerside, Miscouche, and Richmond. Sometimes the prizes are in the tens of thousands! It's not a car accident at the side of the road-it's the fire truck with lights rotating like a weather vane on a windy PEI day - selling tickets for "Chase the Ace" at Day's Corner, next to Randy's Pizza (and no, there is not a "Randy"). When you purchase a ticket for "Chase the Ace," you are actually hoping to win the opportunity to choose a card (from what remains from the deck of 52 cards) in hopes of drawing the Ace. Each week the prize expands as islanders work themselves into a frenzy of excitement - thinking about what they will purchase with the big prize if they should win...pizza at Randy's...a new four-wheeler...a new watercraft...a parcel of land "up west"... the list goes on and on. So it should not be a surprise to anyone (particularly an "Ontarioite") that BINGO is also a community event on this beautiful island. Every legion (which I think they have more of on this island per capita than they do grocery stores) has their BINGO night. With COVID, of course, the BINGO nights have either been cancelled or certainly re-jigged to fall in line with Dr. Morrison's expectations. Then there is radio BINGO.
I was asked to participate in Radio BINGO by my friend Mary, who was having a total number of 6 of us (in compliance with Dr. Morrison) at her home. The BINGO "cards," which are actually newsprint sheets of BINGO cards, are purchased from just about any grocery or convenience store (who knew?) on this little island for $8 for 5 sheets. Mary has a plethora of BINGO dabbers and food. There was no need to extend myself beyond the eight bucks. I was in. The evening began with a glass of home-made red win, a handful of "Toffifays" and the other hand dabbing the centre of the card (like the other ladies..I had no idea what to do besides consume wine and chocolate as I have done that before). Mary had her phone at the ready for the radio station as we prepped for the 7:00pm start of the game. Our anticipation (or mine did) grew with each country croon we listened to before the "ball drop" started. Like tittering schoolgirls, the group of 50plus women clung to the radio (phone) like families did in the 30's, waiting for their favourite radio shows.
The radio (phone) breaks out with the sound of what seems to be popping corn. I, however, know that is is actually the sound of the BINGO balls flying around in their cylinder, waiting to be launched. I have to admit, with my first dab, I was hooked by the anticipation. All of us around Mary's kitchen table suddenly became razor-edge focused on the task at hand - DABBING. I could not imagine a BINGO hall filled with this kind of energy - it would be electric! It could be life-threatening!
In my ignorance, I suggested that Radio BINGO was a great idea for our COVID plan...only to find out that Radio BINGO has been going on for years. Who knew?
This little island never ceases to amaze me.
Just another reason "Why I love PEI."
I have been retired for approximately 5 years, relocating to PEI from Ontario. Creating a recreational living unit was something Mike and I wanted to do since we purchased the house.