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Ladies on a roll

The only thing missing from monthly Bunco games at the South Washington Senior Center is the men.

"A few joined us for a while but they couldn't stand all the noise and fun," said Betty Meyer.

The games, which take place in the morning on the third Friday each month sound more like a junior high sleepover than women playing a dice game called "Bunco."

Up to six tables of four players each gather to play. Rounds end when one team achieves 21 points and shouts "Bunco." The losing pair goes to a new table and the game starts again.

Laughter and kidding are routine during Bunco play, but not everything goes smoothly.

Sandi Einberger yelled "Bunco," but it was just after someone else got 21. Einberger protested. "If you think I'm giving that up, you're full of prunes," she said.

The group opinion was that the first Bunco was the one that counted. Einberger, a good sport, agreed and another game ensued.

When Margaret Bestul moved to a new table with her partner, her luck ended.

"I played so good at the other tables," she said. "I just went completely cold."

"Oh, that's too bad," Meyer said, in a teasing way after Bestul failed to make any points and had to give up the dice.

"I'm sure you feel just terrible," Bestul said.

""One more kiddo, come on," and "close but no cigar," are heard as dice are thrown on the table. Everyone at the table usually laughs at the comments. Giggling is routine.

If the players have to give up attending a program or activity, Bunco is not on the list of items to get tossed.

Some have been playing Bunco most of their lives. Others, such as Salie Stange, did not play until after she joined the Red Hat Society, a social group for women over 50 years old.

More than a few players are diehards, going to one or more Bunco sessions a month with other groups.

Meyer first played Bunco while volunteering to substitute for a friend. That was 23 years ago.

The game itself isn't the only attraction for the players.

"Pretty soon we get to eat," Carol Urbanski said. "We play bingo, we eat snacks. We play Bunco, we eat."

"When we get through, then we eat dessert," Bestul said. "We eat a lot."

Judy Spooner
Judy Spooner is the longest-serving staff writer at the South Washington County Bulletin. Spooner, who covers education and features in addition to writing a weekly column, has been with the newspaper for over 30 years.
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