Cottage season can be as ritualistic as the more traditional holiday times of the year, like Christmas . . . at least for me, anyway. There are certain things that get done every day – like putting the Canadian flag up in the morning and then putting it to “bed” each night, a polar bear swim before breakfast, and a nature walk in the morning.
Then there are those other things that are done more on a weekly basis, like saturday morning cinnamon bun breakfasts, cocktails and appetizers down by the lake instead of on the screened-in porch, and visits to the local market.
And then there are those special things that only get done a few times a season, or possibly even as little as once in a summer. Things like staying up late to roast s’mores. Or making the big boat trip down to Henry’s for a fish and chip lunch. Or making the little boat trip over to Gilly’s for a fish and chip dinner.
One of my most favourite cottage traditions as a kid was the weekly Bingo night that was held at a local church. Prizes ranged from a can of cola (!) to actual cold hard cash. Ten dollars to my ten year old self was pretty much the equivalent of winning the lottery.
While in town today to do a little grocery shopping, I came across a few silly little containers of candy and a variety of those little squish-em toys. And it hit me. All the cousins were old enough to have our very own Bingo night. And these would make excellent prizes!
After dinner, after all the dishes had been cleared away, and the table cleaned, and the floor swept . . . the bingo set came out of the games closet. Each kid sat down with their own Bingo card and a stack of bingo chips. And beside me, I had the bag of Bingo prizes. While I think we defied the laws of probability in how many numbers we had to call before anyone got an actual Bingo, I have never seen happier kids. And the smiles only got bigger as each kid got a Bingo and the chance to reach, with eyes firmly shut, into the big bag of Bingo prizes.
And as everyone drifts off to sleep tonight, the big question has been . . . how MANY rounds of Bingo can we play tomorrow night? And if that isn’t a morsel of joy, I don’t know what is.