The middle and late 1970s were definitely not my peak earning years. I scuffled for a living, freelancing as a copy editor and proofreader, and occasionally making a few bucks writing jacket copy for a local book publisher.
To cut expenses I shared an apartment in Wicker Park with a guy named Mark, whose financial circumstances were not much better than mine. He eked out a living with temporary bartending gigs and occasional electrical work. We never had much money, but there was always plenty of alcohol and reefer on hand and sometimes there was a bit of food in the refrigerator.
Mark had the good fortune, at the time, to be dating a fine looking woman, named Maggie, who was a dancer in a modern dance company. Maggie and I always got along well and one day she said to me, “Hey, Milo, how would you like to go out with a beautiful girl? She’s a dancer, too. We’re in a show together.”
“Hmm. I believe I could make room in my schedule for a beautiful girl.”
“There’s a catch. You’ve got to come to the theater and see the show if you want to meet her. I’ll introduce you after the performance.”
I definitely wanted to meet this woman, but I had never been to a dance performance and didn’t want to go by myself. I asked a few of my friends if they wanted to go, but they all had other plans. Bruce Diksas was committed to a poker game. Ron Skelton had been drinking all day and was planning to direct traffic, later that evening, at the corner of Lincoln and Diversey. And Wayne Gray had a date with a prominent Gold Coast matron whose husband was away on business.
I had resigned myself to going to the dance concert alone, when I ran into a friend, named Carlos, at Swillagain’s Saloon. I asked Carlos if he wanted to go to the concert, he said, “No, man, I got no interest.”
I had known Carlos for a few years and I knew that his main interests in life were getting high, gambling and, most importantly, getting laid.
So, I said, “Don’t be a dumbass. It’s a dance concert. The place will be crawling with fine looking ladies. It’ll be a bonanza of babes, like Oxford’s Pub at closing time, but better. Even an ugly fucker like you should have no trouble getting lucky. You’ll be a disgrace to Puerto Rican manhood if you take a pass on a chance to get some pussy.”
“Well, since you put it that way, I’ll go. But first, let’s have another drink.”
I don’t remember much of the concert, but I do recall spending most of the time trying to figure out which of the dancers Maggie wanted me to meet. I couldn’t keep the smile off my face when, after the show, Maggie walked into the lobby with the woman I’d hoped to see.
“Milo,” Maggie said, “say hi to Sharon.”
We chatted for a while. I don’t recall what we talked about, but I do remember making her laugh once or twice. After what seemed like too short of a time, Sharon smiled prettily, said it was nice to meet me, shook my hand and left.
A couple of days later, I ran into Maggie and she said, “Sharon liked you, said you seemed like a nice guy. I bet if you asked her out she’d say yes.”
“Do you, by any chance, have her telephone number handy?”
“I’ve got it right here.”
The next night, Sharon and I were seated across from each other in a booth in a North Side restaurant. There was a bit of awkwardness at first, but after ordering some wine and making small talk, we got comfortable with each other.
“So, tell me about yourself,” she said.
“It’s a long story.”
“That’s okay, we’ve got lots of time.”
And we did. We had all the time in the world. Going to that dance concert worked out real well for me.
But I don’t remember if Carlos got lucky that night.
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Unless you keep a Galapagos turtle for company, chances are that you’ll live longer than your pet. I’ve already outlived three dogs, but I doubt I’ll outlive the new dog, a spaniel named Hubble.
The first time I had a dog euthanized was about 20 years ago, when Philly, the family’s terrier, developed heart congestion and breathing problems. I probably waited too long to put Philly too sleep. She was clearly suffering — wheezing, coughing, gasping for breath. The situation went on for nearly two weeks, when, finally, my wife confronted me.
“Milo, you got to do something about Philly. The poor dog is in a lot of pain and it’s not going to get any better.”
“What am I supposed to do about it?”
“Take Philly to the vet and have her put to sleep. I can’t watch her suffer like this.”
“Ah, shit! Why do I have to do it?”
“Do you expect your wife to do it, or one of your daughters?
“Sure, why not? Tell the girls I’ll take them to Six Flags next week if they’ll have the dog killed for me.”
I was fond of all my dogs, but my favorite dog of all time was a sporty mutt named Rocky, who belonged to a guy who, for purposes of this blog, I’ll call Bruce Diksas, to spare him undue embarrassment.
Bruce found Rocky in Central America and, under circumstances that are still somewhat unclear, managed to smuggle him into the United States.
Rocky took to the streets of Chicago like a natural born boulevardier. In a short time, Rocky was a regular in many of the taverns on Lincoln Avenue and on a first name basis with most of the bartenders.
One day I was idling away a few hours in Sterch’s Tavern, when Rocky stuck his head in the door, obviously looking for Bruce. The man behind the bar at the time was a gentleman named Harlan Stern. When Harlan saw Rocky, he called out, “Bruce ain’t here!”
Rocky nodded his head in understanding and trotted off down the street to try his luck at another saloon.
Rocky had a way with the ladies, too. He had sniffed out the locations of some of the hottest bitches on the North Side. When romance was in the air Rocky would disappear for days at a time. When he returned to Bruce’s apartment, he would doze all day and night, recovering from his considerable exertions.
In 1979, the future Mrs. Milo and I were sharing an apartment on Southport, just north of Irving Park Road. Bruce had an apartment on Diversey, which he shared with a woman whose name I’ll omit for legal reasons. Although Bruce’s place was at least a couple of miles away, Rocky would come to visit me once or twice a week.
I doubt a lesser dog would have made the trip. It was a treacherous journey, requiring the crossing of some of the busiest streets on the North Side – Belmont, Lincoln, Addison and Irving Park.
Personally, I wouldn’t have attempted the trip unless I was completely sober. Yet Rocky never had any problems. He would appear at my back door, scratching for admittance.
I was always glad to see him. He was good company. I’d let him in, give him some water and spend a few moments scratching his head. When Rocky got ready to leave, I’d say, “Give Bruce my regards,” and I swear the dog understood me.
Time eventually caught up with Rocky. He grew old and feeble and began suffering severe pain. Bruce put off the inevitable as long as possible, but he couldn’t stand watching Rocky in such a miserable state. It was a sad day when Rocky made his final trip to the vet.
Rocky’s wake was held at Sterch’s Tavern. His ashes held a place of honor on the bar. The place was packed with Lincoln Avenue regulars, a bunch of old dogs celebrating the memory of another old dog. Everybody, including me, had a Rocky story and most of them were true.
Everyone was wasted by the end of the evening. Just before closing time, Bruce stood up and made a drunken, rambling and completely incoherent speech extolling Rocky’s many virtues. Nobody understood a word he said but all agreed it was a fine send-off.
I’m sure Rocky would have enjoyed hearing it.
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Being in New York City, I decide to make a major statement and buy a Bulls cap!
I know what you’re thinking. How many Bulls caps does one guy need, especially when he already owns at least three and he’s not getting a slice of the sales action?
I mean, I’m paying them for the right to advertise their product.
Think of it as my way of helping the Bulls cover the cost of Jimmy Butler’s new contract.
Into Modell’s I go. That’s the big sporting goods store on Flatbush Avenue, right across the street from the Barclay Center, home of the Brooklyn Nets.
That’s right–I’m in the belly of the Brooklyn beast. Like I’m saying–Yo’, Brooklyn, I’m wearing my Bulls cap right in front of your face!
Everyone on Flatbush wants to know about Derrick’s knee…
“I’m here to buy a Bulls cap,” I tell the saleslady.
“Okay,” she says.
Maybe she didn’t hear me.
“That’s Bulls as in Chicago Bulls,” I say.
I’m rapidly coming to the conclusion that no one in NYC gives a shit about me buying a Bulls cap. Especially, the folks at Modell’s, who obviously see it as more money for them!
There are many hats to choose from. It comes down to black cap with white brim, or red cap with black brim.
I turn to Brian, my fashion consultant, who knows a lot about sports caps cause he comes from Milwaukee. Not sure what one has to do with the other, but whatever…
“Go with the black cap,” says Brian.
Brian `n me show off our hats!
So I buy it. And off I boogaloo down Flatbush to Lefferts Garden–where all the cool people live.
Here’s the stunner. Everywhere I go people want to know about Derrick’s reconstructed knees.
Who knew D Rose had so many fans in Brooklyn?
I guess they think I have the inside scoop on D’s knees since I’m wearing a Bulls cap.
Fast forward to the next day…
I’m standing in the Target, across the street from the Barclay Center, waiting for my wife and younger daughter to finish shopping.
This Target is no joke. First of all, it’s packed–you can barely move there are so many people in the aisle.
Second of all, people are crazy. Probably cause it’s so hot in the store. Hey, turn down the heat!
I watch a woman in an motorized wheelchair cut off a woman with two kids.
“I know you didn’t just cut me off, bitch!” says the woman with the kids
I’m telling you–they’re tough in Brooklyn!
Bored out my mind, I start counting basketball caps to see which team is most popular: Bulls, Nets or Knicks?
Final score: Bulls caps 4, Nets 3, Knicks 2. Bulls win!
Let’s hope it’s just the start to a glorious season.
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When I was a younger man, in my mid-20s, I shared an apartment in Wicker Park with a couple of dear friends, who I’ll call Wayne Gray and Bruce Diksas, to spare them undue embarrassment. It was a funky three-bedroom place on Evergreen Street, next to the three-flat where Nelson Algren lived for many years.
One night, the three of us were partying on Lincoln Avenue, hitting all of our favorite joints, Sterch’s, the Farthings, Oxfords, and the Wise Fools Pub. We were having a high old time, drinking, smoking a little weed, listening to music, and hanging out with friends.
At one of the taverns, Wayne began talking to a girl. I didn’t pay much attention because Wayne talked to people all the time. You couldn’t shut him up. He would talk to anybody, about any subject, for any length of time. He was an expert on everything and nothing. His preposterous, long-winded rants rarely made sense, but they had great amusement value.
When the three of us left the smoky, dimly-lit tavern, heading for another smoky, dimly-lit tavern, the girl that Wayne was talking to tagged along. Once we were out on the street, I was able to get a good look at the girl and was surprised, shocked actually, to see that her nose was badly broken. It must have happened recently because there were still bruises on her cheeks and under her eyes.
The girl stayed close to us for the rest of the night. She seemed to be in a daze and looked scared and needy. When she wasn’t clinging to Wayne, she was standing near Bruce, or following me around.
I bought her a drink and tried to talk to her, but she didn’t have much to say, and I didn’t want to ask about her nose. When she did speak, she kept her eyes lowered, not making eye contact.
Later that evening, while Bruce and I were in the alley behind Sterch’s, smoking a joint, I said, “What do you think happened to the chick? Car accident?”
“I doubt it. I figure some asshole beat her up.”
“Well, there are a lot of rotten fuckers in the world.”
“It’s a shame. I bet she was good looking before her nose got fucked up. She’s got a nice body on her.”
“Yeah, real sweet ass.”
“I wonder why she’s hanging out with yahoos like us.”
“I don’t know. Maybe she feels safe around us.”
“Jesus, I find that kind of insulting.”
“Yeah, she doesn’t know us that well.”
We called it a night about three in the morning, got in the car and drove back to Wicker Park. Without anything being said, the girl hopped in the car and came with us.
We stayed up for another hour, drinking, smoking, listening to music and more of Wayne’s off-the-wall ravings. When we began drifting off, the girl asked if she could spend the night on the couch. We said it would be no problem and provided her with a pillow and blanket.
I had trouble falling asleep after crawling into bed. After all, I was a young man, in my prime, and there was a young woman in the next room. I briefly considered going out to the couch and lying down next to the girl with the broken nose.
I was sure she wouldn’t turn me down. She might have even appreciated a little affection. But then a troubling thought occurred to me – what if she said “yes” only because she was afraid to say “no.”
On the other hand, there was the possibility that she might be offended if nobody made a pass at her. Maybe she’d think that her disfigurement was more than any of us could handle.
I didn’t know what to do, so I did nothing. Besides, Wayne and Bruce were both randy fuckers and I figured one of them would take a shot at her. But they, too, left her alone.
The next morning, after having a cup of instant coffee, the girl smiled at us and said, “I have to go now, but thanks, guys, for everything.”
“Where are you going?” Bruce asked.
“I have to be somewhere.”
“Do you want a couple of us to come with you?” Wayne asked.
“No, I’ll be okay.”
“Just take care of yourself,” I said.
“I will,” she replied, and then she left.
We never saw her again.
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A while ago, I went to the Jesse Brown V.A. Hospital to see my physician, Dr. Frankie “Disco” Lopez, and hit him up for some new meds, preferably industrial-strength opiates. Dr. Frankie is a notoriously easy touch when it comes to handing out pain-killers. But just to be on the safe side, I Googled some exotic diseases and their symptoms to help make my case.
When I walked into Dr. Frankie’s office, he said, “Dude, we’ve got to make it quick. I’m meeting a nurse from ER for a nooner at the Diplomat Motel and I don’t want to keep her waiting. How are you feeling?”
“Not too good. I’m pretty sure I’ve got a case of Pontocerebellar Hypoplasia and I need something for the pain.”
“No problem. I’ll prescribe some shit that’ll make you feel real good. Hey, you’re a smoker aren’t you?”
“How long have you been smoking?”
“I started when I was three, about the same time I started drinking.”
“It’s time you had a chest X-ray. I’ll set it up.”
Two days later, as I was out on my back porch, enjoying a cigarette with my morning whiskey, I got a call from Dr. Frankie. “Dude,” he said, “I’ve got your X-ray in front of me and it looks like you’ve got a spot on the lower right lobe of your lung.”
“I’m going to order a CAT scan so we can get a better look.”
“Doc, should I be worried?”
“If it was me, I’d be shaking in my boots and crying for my mama.”
I’m not the kind of guy that rattles easily. Anyone that reads my blogs knows that I’m a badass, tougher than concrete, meaner than a snake, as fearless as an Acapulco cliff diver. I’ve stared death in the face more often than a mortician. I’ve survived growing up on the mean streets of Gary, Indiana, a war in Southeast Asia, 30 years of marriage, the Bush administration, and a career in the advertising business.
That said, the possibility that I might have lung cancer scared the shit out of me.
After giving it some thought, I decided to keep the information to myself. I didn’t tell anyone, not even the lovely Mrs. Milo. I figured the situation would upset her worse than it upset me. I knew she’d be angry with me for not telling her, but I didn’t want my wife to worry until I knew that there was definitely something to worry about.
I had to wait three weeks for the CAT scan and, trust me, it was a very long three weeks. Everything slowed down. The days dragged by. I felt like I had a ball and chain attached to my leg. My thinking was scattered and murky. The words biopsy, major surgery, chemotherapy, and painful lingering death were never far from my mind.
My wife sensed there was a problem. Every few days she’d give me an odd look and ask, “Milo, are you okay?”
“Sure, babe, I’m fine. Everything’s peachy. Why do you ask?”
“Well, you’re acting weird. I’ve seen you staring off into space and muttering to yourself. Plus, you’re drinking more than usual.”
“Heh, heh, you’re probably just imagining things.”
There were a dozen other miserable-looking fuckers hanging around in the waiting room of the Radiology Department when I arrived for my CAT scan. And all of us were there for the same reason. Doctors had found something in our bodies that required further investigation. We were all hoping for the best.
Later that day, a few hours after the CAT scan, I was in my back yard, enjoying a cigarette with my afternoon whiskey, when the phone rang. It was Dr. Frankie. “Dude,” he said, “it was a false alarm. Other than a touch of emphysema, your lungs are clear.”
“Doc, that’s great news.”
“Well, I’ve got to call a couple of other guys who won’t be as happy to hear from me.”
That night, at supper, I told my wife the story. As I suspected, she didn’t take it well. “Oh, you’re such an asshole! I’m your wife! We’re partners! How could you keep that from me for three weeks?”
“Honey, it wasn’t easy.”
Gary, Indiana, in the middle to late 1960s, had a sizeable Jewish population. Like a lot of other families in town, including mine, many of the Jewish families were post-WW2 immigrants.
As is the case with most immigrant groups, Gary’s Jewish community was hard-working and industrious, their lives centered around traditional values like family, faith, education and a belief in a better future. Some did pretty well for themselves.
For example, there was a kid who went to my high school named Joey Stiglitz who was pretty good with numbers. Like any Gary kid with a knack for math, I’m sure Joey aspired to be a bookie. When that career choice fizzled, young Joey Stiglitz tried his luck in the field of Economics and eventually won a Nobel Prize.
I don’t want to give readers the wrong impression about Gary’s Jews. Not all of them were pillars of the community. They had their quota of drunkards, druggies, whoremongers, thieves, gangsters, bookies, murderers, tough guys and rotten bastards. Some of them, I’m proud to say, were dear friends of mine.
That said, the toughest Jew in Gary was a man who made other dangerous men tremble in fear. His reputation as a hard, unforgiving, vengeful badass was legendary. He was a mean, vindictive, cold-blooded, pitiless son-of-a-bitch with a long history of dealing with crime, violence and bloodshed.
His name was Judge Richard Kaplan and he ruled the Gary City Courthouse with an iron hand.
Although Judge Kaplan’s given name was Richard, he was known throughout the City as Judge Max Kaplan because he always handed down maximum sentences. Miscreants who appeared before Judge Kaplan always expected the worst and they were rarely disappointed. He believed everyone was guilty until proven innocent — and he refused to believe that anyone was completely innocent.
As far as I know, only one person ever got the better of Judge Kaplan – and that person was me. Here’s how it happened.
I was 18 years old and going nowhere. I had dropped out of college after one semester and was hanging around Gary, trying to figure out what to do with my life. One night I ran into some friends, went out drinking, got into a wild brawl, got maced by the police and ended up in jail. The charges were illegal possession of alcohol, public intoxication, creating a public disturbance, assault and battery and resisting arrest, although, to this day, I believe the last charge was a bum rap.
When I was released on bail the next morning, I was given some paperwork informing me of my upcoming court date, which was just a few weeks away. The presiding judge was going to be “the Honorable Richard Kaplan.” My goose was cooked. I was a goner, as doomed as it was possible for a young man to be. To make matters worse, I had a couple previous run-ins with the law, and I was fairly certain that Judge Kaplan would hold that against me.
That evening, I was hanging out in Stu and Ducky Greene’s basement with a few other guys, drinking beer and listening to the brothers’ collection of shoplifted 45s.
“You are fucked, man,” Ducky said, sadly. “You’re looking at 90, maybe 120 days in Crown Point.”
”That’s if Judge Max lets you off easy,” Stu Greene added. “If he’s in a bad mood it could be worse. It’s a good thing you’re not Jewish.”
“Why’s that?” I asked.
“Because he’s extra tough on his own kind.”
Dickie Simon, another friend who had an unpleasant experience with the City’s justice system, spoke up. “Too bad you’re not in the military. That’s Judge Max’s only soft spot. He takes it easy on soldiers. He’s an ex-Marine Captain, fought in World War Two.”
The next morning I went down to 7th and Broadway, walked into the Navy Recruiter’s office, and said, “I want to join up.” I spent several hours filling out paperwork. The only thing I had to do to officially be in the Navy was sign on the dotted line. But, I hesitated to sign. “Do you mind if I take these papers home and show them to my mom and dad?” I asked.
“You’re 18 years old. You don’t need your parents’ permission.”
“I know. But I’d like to show them anyway. I’ll be back tomorrow. I promise.”
The next morning I went down to the Courthouse, explained my situation to a secretary and asked to see Judge Kaplan in his chambers. After a two hour wait I was ushered into Judge Kaplan’s office.
“Tell me what you want and make it quick,” the Judge said, not even bothering to look at me.
The last place on earth I wanted to be was in a courthouse, talking to Judge Kaplan. I was nervous as hell, scared actually, but somehow I got through my poorly rehearsed pack of lies. I told the Judge that I was terribly sorry for any trouble I had caused. I explained that my inexcusable behavior was due to immaturity and the influence of bad companions. I said that I had given my situation a lot of thought and realized that by joining the Navy I would get away from bad influences and be in a disciplined situation where I would have the opportunity to become a responsible member of society.
Judge Kaplan quickly glanced at the Navy paperwork I laid on his desk, then looked at me for the first time. “I dislike young punks and criminals because they usually grow up to be old punks and criminals,” he said. “Had your case gone to court, it wouldn’t have turned out well for you. But I have a feeling that you’re a sincere young man. Your decision to join the military is a wise one, especially with our nation at war. I’m going to dismiss this case. Good luck in the Navy, son. Just remember, be on your best behavior. If you get in trouble, I can assure you that the officers who sit on military tribunals are not as good natured as I am. Now, get the hell out of my chambers.”
As soon as I left the Courthouse, I went back to the Navy Recruiter and handed him the paperwork. “I’m sorry,” I said, “But I changed my mind. I think I’m going to study for the priesthood instead.”
There was a strut in my walk when I left the Recruiters’ office. I was pretty proud of myself. I had gone into the lion’s den and come out without a scratch. I had outwitted the dreaded Judge Kaplan. I had gotten the best of the toughest Jew in town.
My euphoria was short-lived, however. A couple of months later I received my draft notice. And a few months after that I was in Vietnam.
Many years later, when Judge Kaplan died, an old Gary friend sent me a copy of the judge’s obituary. When I read it I noticed that Judge Max had served on the Lake County, Indiana Draft Board, which meant that he had a say-so about which local boys were eligible for the draft.
Was it just a coincidence that I got drafted so soon after pulling a fast one on the judge?
I couldn’t help but smile when I realized that maybe, just maybe, the tough old bastard had the last laugh after all.
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This past Saturday I made the one-hour drive to Munster, Indiana to visit my 91-year-old mother at her assisted living facility. She’s been in the home for a few years now, and I don’t see her as often as I’d like. Fortunately, my sister lives about five minutes away from the place and visits Mom almost every day.
Mom wasn’t in her room when I got there, so I went to the nursing station and asked one of the nurses if she knew of my mother’s whereabouts.
“I believe she’s in the dining room, playing Bingo.”
Sure enough, that’s where I found my mother, playing Bingo with about 20 other elderly ladies. My mother recognized me when I greeted her, which made me happy. The dear lady has Alzheimer’s Disease and I know that in another year, if she lives that long, she probably won’t know who I am.
Mom gave me a big smile and said, “What are you doing here?”
“I just came by to visit.”
She seemed puzzled. “Where am I?”
“You’re in an assisted living place.”
She looked around the room, taking in the scene, then, nodded her head in understanding. “Well, I’m playing Bingo now.”
“Yes, I can see that. I’ll just go sit down and have a cup of coffee. We’ll talk when the game is over.”
While I was enjoying my coffee and watching the Bingo game, it occurred to me that most of the ladies playing the game were very much like my mother – blooded veterans of the cut-throat Northwest Indiana Bingo circuit.
In their prime, they had played Bingo in church basements, VFWs, school auditoriums and American Legion halls all over Lake County, from Hammond to Gary to Valparaiso and beyond. When they were younger, these Bingo stalwarts were fierce competitors, keen-eyed, quick-witted and aggressive. They were apex bingo predators. Some were so good that they played a half a dozen cards at a time.
At least once a week, these badass Bingo queens would hit the streets, looking for action. And they were hardly ever disappointed. Most of the time they came back as winners, bringing home supermarket and department store gift certificates, beauty salon coupons, and, occasionally, some cash money. When the holidays rolled around, the ladies usually came home with Christmas turkeys and Easter hams, bags of frozen shrimp, and boxes of Omaha steaks.
Sadly, the ladies playing Bingo in the nursing home, my mother included, were way past their prime. The skills they needed to succeed at high-level, competitive Bingo were long gone. Dementia, hearing problems, poor eyesight, and various other afflictions had robbed them of the considerable abilities they once possessed. Watching them was like watching one of your childhood baseball heroes hobbling painfully around the bases during an old timers’ game.
When the lady who ran the Bingo game spoke into her microphone and said, “The next number is G 16, G 16,” the old ladies did their best to swing into action.
“What did she say?”
“I think it was B 15.”
“No, that’s not it. The number was B 13.”
“Marge, did you catch the number?”
“No, I wasn’t paying attention.”
“LaVerne, did you hear the number?”
LaVerne said, “Lumma, lumma, lumma.”
The announcer, who, by the way, had the patience of a cicada, repeated the number. “Ladies, that was G 16, G 16.”
“See, I told you it was B15.”
A few minutes later, one of the players hollered, “Bingo!” When the announcer walked over to check the winner’s card, she said, “Edna, you don’t have Bingo. Two of those numbers were never called.”
“Darn, I thought I had a winner.”
A short time afterwards, another lady hollered “Bingo!?” When her card was checked, it turned out that she was mistaken, too.
I was hoping for the best when my mother called, “Bingo!” But, unfortunately, she had also gotten a couple of numbers wrong.
When the day’s Bingo action was over and the cards and markers had been cleared away, I walked over to talk to my mother. She gave me a big smile when she saw me. “Honey, what are you doing here?”
“I just came by to visit.”
She seemed confused. “Where am I?”
“Mom, you’re in an assisted living facility.”
She was quiet for a few moments, thinking things over, then she said, “You look skinny. You should eat more.”