Now what?

Service is over and I’m in the process of ticking off medical appointments–dentist, orthopedist, chiropractor, dermatologist and my GP. Much to my surprise I first had to find a new GP as the one I saw prior to service has, unbeknownst to me, apparently left town. The doctor she was sharing office space with is accepting new patients for the year 2019! Good heavens! I could die by then.  I was fortunate to find a new, young, highly capable doctor who is not long out of medical school and whom I think will not remain in Mt. Pleasant very long. Seems they long for the big city.

In the meantime, I need to find things to do while waiting to complete all of these appointments. My husband complains that since I’ve been home, he doesn’t get to do the laundry or to cook. Ummmm–what am I supposed to do? Sit around and eat bonbons? Well, my mother really wants me to come visit as do my sisters so I’ll go to California and visit them. Besides, it is warmer there!

So now I am in Galt, CA. Mom has developed some wonderful friendships  with a number of the women that belong to the Galt Senior Club. Because I qualify age wise (you must be at least 55) I join the club. I figure I will return to Galt a couple of times in the coming year so it is worth paying dues and becoming a member so that I can be part of the fun. I’ve met some of them before and agree to go to the club meetings with her where they play Bingo. But wait! They also play Hand and Foot and Bunco. These ladies have so much fun when they do this. One of them even gets the giggles like I do. If you’ve ever seen me laugh, you will know that I almost roll on the floor with laughter. So obviously, they play these games as purely fun, social activities and have fun talking about anything and everything. Certainly a wonderful break from discussing politics!

Bingo is pretty easy except when they say “Stella’s Bingo” or “Drunken Sailor (or elves or Santa or leprechaun)” Those need to be explained to me. I’m used to playing it as as horizontal or vertical game or a black out. They have prizes like garbanzo beans, Kleenex, toilet paper etc. (As a nonprofit, they cannot legally play for monetary prizes) They play this twice a week. It isn’t the most intellectually stimulating thing I have ever done, but it is fun and passes the time.

I’ve played Bunco with them before and with a quick refresher I am able to remember how to play it. Since one of the regular players is missing, I can fill in for her. This is basically a dice game that is fast moving and has you getting up and moving around. Moving around really is appreciated as we all seem to get a bit stiff if we sit for too long. I ended up being the big winner by losing the most hands and getting the most “Buncos” (three of a kind of the number we are rolling for at that moment). Mom won for winning the most hands. The Swinehart women were the Bunco champions of the week!

But Hand and Foot? No clue. It’s kind of like Canasta my mother tells me. That doesn’t help me one bit but I’m a quick study, I can learn to play it. We arrive at the home of the host where we are going to play Hand and Foot and all of the women have card shufflers. (Should I have bought one to play?)

Card Shuffler and cards

This game is played with a minimum of six decks of cards including the Jokers and so they need a way to shuffle the cards. One person starts shuffling and then they pass the cards around so that two or three people are shuffling at a time. The fact that my mother has her very own card shuffler just amazes me. The only card game I have ever seen her play was Pinochle. Now she is carrying her own shuffler and multiple decks of cards around in her car just in case she finds a card game. Has she turned into a card shark? (or is that a card sharkette?) Obviously she has fun and it makes her happy to be around her friends, so I don’t need to worry about checking into Gamblers Anonymous.

The tote bag with cards and shuffler kept in her car.

I learn the game fairly quickly and find that I enjoy it. Then they tell me that they don’t really play by the official rules. They have made a few changes to suit their desires. So now, if I want to go home and find a group of ladies that want to play with me, I’ll have to study the rules as written by Hoyle or whoever wrote them. But I bet it won’t be as much fun as I had with Mom’s group of friends.

I do sincerely appreciate the fact they let me play with them. They are kind, witty, intelligent women who just want to have fun, talk to each other and laugh a lot. They shared that with me and for that I am eternally grateful.