A Fire Island Boy cannot live on a steady diet of Planters Punches and Low Tea at The Blue Whale every day. So doing a service for our livers and the community, the men and women of the Fire Island Pines Volunteer Fire Department have resurrected Thursday night Bingo this season.
Arriving on the Island early last week, I joined three friends at home for a “dresser” (note there is no alcohol allowed at Bingo) and dauber exchange and then proceeded to the Fire House on the early side so we could get good seats- our hearing is seriously compromised from years of late Pavilion nights. Two of us are Bingo pros having played the South Florida Bingo circuit. However, joining us on this excursion was one young friend who was a Bingo Virgin-from France nonetheless- and completely perplexed by the entire event.
Fire Island is certainly not your Grandmother’s Bingo in Boca, okay you may find somebody wearing the same wig as your grandmother, but with numbers such as “O- Swishy 2”, the crowd favorite “0-69”, and game formations such as “H” and “F- your interpretation” as well as Virgin Bingo- well you get the picture!
The surprisingly diverse crowd ranged in age from 8 something to 80 something and glancing around the room you spotted butchers from the Pines Pantry, local realtors, home owners, boys you dance with at Low Tea, entire families, and of course some “Daddy” firemen. And, to top it off legendary Jim Pepper was peddling raffle tickets for a 50/50.
Settling in to the rowdiness and no doubt helped by the “double dressers” we had at home our little group amassed a fortune of $15. However, we knew the end was near as our French pal searched for “B-58”.
And always remember, during the 10 minute intermission you can make a dash for Sip n Twirl next door where Patrick- no doubt used to this crowd- will serve you a beer on tap and get you back in time for round two!