Serendipity | Friendship and fun play well together

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SANDRA DEMPSEY POSITION

Playing games has always been a great way for me to have a good time. I remember playing board games on my own when I was a kid. I would take on the role of the other three players the game was originally designed for. It was more fun to play with family or friends, but sometimes that wasn’t an option and I learned to adapt. Before, I had kids, friends and I would get together every month to play Bunco. It is a perfect game because it is possible to play, talk, laugh and enjoy food and drink without losing focus. We played for a few years, and during that time I gave birth to a lovely baby who thought 6am was a great time to start the day. That and another baby soon joining our family helped me decide to take a Bunco break.

Ah, but some 27 years later my youngest child, Tara, also avid games enthusiast, asked me if I would be interested in inviting friends over to play games every month. Bunco seemed like the better choice because the options that had been enjoyed decades earlier were still possible. We needed 12 to play, and a replacement in case of absence. We made our lists, deciding on six people in Tara’s age group and six in mine. We sent out invitations to those we thought would enjoy the fun and friendship, inviting them to an introductory party.

On Monday April 26, 2004, we met, discussed the details and decided that June would usher in the first roll of the dice. Our original check out time was 7pm and we were serving drinks and snacks. Later we moved on at 6:30 p.m. and finally decided to meet at six and share dinner together. We each chose the month we wanted to host, and while preparing a meal for 12 people takes effort, a round only happens once a year. Our original group underwent some changes before the arrival of the second month. One person decided they didn’t want to continue playing. No one took it personally and we invited someone else to join us. Later we had two people who left the state and another person who gave up for personal reasons. We took it all in stride and continued to get to know and appreciate each other even more.

Accepting that diversity is part of our humanity and watching it develop through friendships gives us inspiring examples. We are 42 to 82 years old with mixed experiences. Together we celebrated the arrival of babies; the joy of seeing women become grandmothers; we said goodbye to those who moved; we shared the thrill of those buying a new home; we comforted those who mourned the loss of their husbands; we prayed for those whose health took sudden and frightening turns; we celebrated 17 years playing Bunco; and we sadly said goodbye to two women who have passed away and who will always be missed. Intertwined among all of these situations, we learned about the differences and similarities and how much we appreciate the wisdom, humor and kindness so generously shared.

Each month we are excited about the prizes we could win. And no matter who the lucky winners of the night are, we all know that the real prize lies in the respect and affection we have for each other.

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