Essays

Game Time

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In Carpenter Country, Bunco season is about to begin. Since this month I’m the hostess with the mostest who’s never ready to entertain until things are perfect, I decided to get an early start.

Three days before the scheduled game, the outside of the house was groomed, which meant flower beds were replanted and edged, decks were power washed, the lawn was mowed.

After that it was on to the inside for dusting, vacuuming, the placing of three tables in various corners of the room, then covering them with felt-backed green or red cloths, dice, pencils and score sheets.

Next, paper napkins, plates and bowls needed to be bought. Plastic cups had to be hand-lettered with the names of the twelve ladies who would sit at the three tables in groups of four.

Years ago, Bunco parties included a full-fledged lunch. Thankfully these days we’re down to snacks. So the pantry was checked for popcorn and other munchies, while the frig was filled with cheese, deviled eggs, grapes, apple slices, soda and juice. A pitcher that would hold frosty iced tea was set on the countertop beside the coffeemaker.

Bunco is played with three dice. Before the start of the game, the hostess collects five dollars from each player. When the final set is over, the money is handed out to the winners in four different categories.

The game has been around since the mid 1800s, and was often run by crooked gamblers, leading to the word ‘bunco’ becoming associated with shady characters and confidence scams.

At my house only luck will get you a prize–and most likely there will be more talking, joking, eating and gossiping than playing.

Good thing, because I’m pooped from all the preparations.

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