Today I went to Chick Fil A breakfast bingo.

Yes, you read that right.

I played bingo. At Chick Fil A. At 8:30 a.m.

Other than the PTA spaghetti and bingo night at my kids’ school in Germany, I’m pretty sure I’ve never actually played bingo sober before. Or in a place where no one is shushing me when I talk too loud, or chastising me when I don’t understand the particular “bingo” we are supposed to get (chevron – what the hell is that?).

The friendly caller at Chick Fil A even happily repeats the numbers when you ask her to. She obligingly slows down if you can’t keep up.

And when you yell “bingo,” she doesn’t even check your card.

This is my kind of game (except for the lack of alcohol – if Chick Fil A sold wine, my life would be complete).

Breakfast bingo lasts 90 minutes, and all it costs is whatever food or drink you decide to purchase. Prizes are coupons you can use the next time.

I started going to Chick Fil A bingo every Thursday about six weeks ago. I found out about it through a Facebook page I had recently joined for retired military spouses in our county. One of the ladies posted that she was going, and I figured, why not?

That first time meeting up was like a blind date. I had her FB profile pulled up on my phone, so I could see her picture. The only thing that would have made it funnier was if I had to swipe right.

A few others have joined us since. This morning there were four of us. Sometimes there’s as many as six.

Overall, there’s usually between 10 and 20 people playing. The other patrons are mostly women, of all ages, some with kids in tow. A few brave men sometimes show up, as do a couple of pairs of senior citizens, and one really cute elderly lady who always concentrates very quietly on her cards.

I like to imagine she’s one of those people who, in other circumstances, would probably have her good luck tchotchkes laid out on the table, bring her own dabber to mark her card, and maybe even react like this when O-69 is called.

There’s a lucky table, or so the rest of us claim when the people who sit there every week seem to win multiple times. The non-playing customers tend to stare with amusement at all the weirdos hunched over paper bingo cards and eating chicken biscuits.

In the military, spouses have lots of ways of getting together and getting to know each other. There are unit functions, like hail and farewells and Family Readiness Group meetings. Almost every military base has at least one Bunco group, and coffee groups are a time-honored tradition.

But we retiree spouses sometimes feel like we are left hanging in the wind. As much as we used to complain about going to some of those functions, we really miss them. Luckily, another retiree spouse in my area decided to start that FB page. Without it, I’m not sure how I would have met this lively group of women who all share something in common.

We were military spouses. We still are, and always will be. We’re just in a different phase of that life right now.

It’s all about what works at the time.

And for me, right now, that’s Chick Fil A breakfast bingo with a whole new group of friends.


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