I like bingo and ever since I was a little girl I've enjoyed playing bingo. It's fun to play and even more fun to say! "Bingo, bingo, bingo..."(I think there was an announcer when I was in school that even shouted this out when a 3-pointer was made at the basketball games.)

I played bingo last night. I didn't win on any of my cards, but I did win $100 on a pull-tab! Sitting amongst the crowd of bingo-ers...young, old, and some in between, I started to reminisce on our family tradition of the game.

As far back as I can remember we've always played bingo on Christmas day. My great-great grandmother Gudakunst (Gertie) loved the game and until this day has the trademark on our tradition. She passed away some time ago, but the game still lives on. My great grandmother (Nannie) insisted we continue to live out the game Gertie loved so much.

And of course you couldn't bingo without getting compensated! From Big Lots gifts to lottery tickets, to cold-hard cash, the prizes have always been there.

The memories, however, are what have lived on in our hearts. And I would have to say that I have to do with the memory that is brought up every year. Yes, one Christmas we were all sitting around the table at Grandpa and Grandma Hartwig's house (when they lived on US 127 across from Wayne Trace high school) having the grandest of times when all of a sudden I felt something circular slide down my throat. Being not more than 9 or 10 (maybe younger) I liked to put the bingo chips in my mouth. Maybe it calmed my nerves, I don't know. But what I do know is that I swallowed one of the boogers. You would have thought it was the end of the world! I cried and panicked not know what to do and when everyone realized what had happened, they laughed at me! My grandpa, God bless his giving heart, told me that if I 'exited' the bingo chip he would pay me money for it. Of course I never found it and I lived to tell the story, but there isn't a year that goes by that someone doesn't say, "Remember when Kara swallowed the bingo chip?".

And we can't forget about the repeats of what was just called due to the fact that everyone always talks so loud that we can't hear who's calling the numbers. (Letters and numbers I guess, huh?) Or the fact that my mother insists on using the bingo 'slang' such as "O-66...tring-a-ling-a-ling", or "B-9...malignant" and "B-4...after". Or that my sister Jenna almost ALWAYS wins the big stuff. I could go on and on...

We didn't get to play this past Christmas due to some lifestyle changes. Does that mean the tradition is over? Heck no! That just means we will have make it bigger and better and more spectacular than ever this year.