Mrs Eagle


The weather was abominable, -30 and the wind howled. It was Boxing Day, for God’s sake…

The Eagle’s Hall basement was a sickly beige and lit by fluorescent lights. It had an industrial kitchen large enough to feed the militia during an insurrection and it featured a Bingo machine perched on a pedestal, the very altar of that subterranean chapel of penny-ante gambling.

It would be the site of a shower for me and my fiancée, now wife, Merm. It couldn’t be a wedding shower as we were not yet married, and she already showed a baby bump. My little Czech Grandma, ‘Mrs Eagle 1992’, delighted to make Merm’s acquaintance, decided it would be a ‘Mussolini-ous Show-ver’. Translating, I explained this was no Black Shirt rally; Grandma meant, ‘miscellaneous’.

The weather was abominable, -30 and the wind howled. It was Boxing Day, for God’s sake, but Grandma had attended hundreds of similar events, so this was her turn.

The high priestess of the venue, aka: The Bingo Caller, had been employed in that exalted position for decades. She was, on the bitterest day of the year, away from hearth, home and turkey leftovers, calling Bingo to the dutiful, sans any teeth whatsoever. She had been toothless for as long as I could remember but it never impeded her. “Under da O, shixchee shix…”

Bingo Cat Eye Specs

Finally, it was time for presentation of gifts, and what prezzies they were! ‘Re-gifted’ in the extreme: Apron and oven mitts smelling acridly of kitchen grease, resplendent with crocheted bunny rabbits. (The ‘rodent motif‘.) Used tea towels. Ceramic, cobweb covered ‘ornaments’ which might have been mice, kitties, or perhaps stylized Bear scat.

The piece de resistance, though, were three ‘Edwardian Goblets’ that I keep on hand to this day. They were yellow, blue & red thanks to a type of lead-based paint guaranteed to numb your extremities and render you fascinated by Monster Trucks.

It was the most bizarre event Merm had ever seen; I knew it could be a deal breaker. But somehow Mrs Eagle bored her way into my fiancée’s heart. On cranky days, I simply remind her that my 85 year old Grandma earnestly offered to loan her a dress for the shower, and all earthly gloom vanishes, as it well should. Because if that wasn’t Christmas magic, then there ain’t no Christmas magic at all.

Best of the Season to you all.

Bingo Trio


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Photos Credit: Mrs Eagle // V Ditrich :: Bingo Ladies //