This stop was more about the people than what we did or saw. The private campground we stayed at was quite busy with activities - even this late in the season. Outdoor movies, haunted hayrides, mini-golf, cornhole - all available to guests. We could tell this campground had a tight community - moreso than we’ve experienced elsewhere. It wasn’t the newest, cleanest, or nicest but had some of the friendliest people we’ve met.
We came in on a Friday night and it was Bingo night - which from what we gathered drew mostly people from the surrounding area versus being all from the campground. The kids each ponied up $1 of their allowance to buy a card which was good for 10 games. The calling was done by two older gentleman using a classic ping-pong ball style bingo machine with the light-up board on the wall. This was no amateur affair - to win you had to make “T”,s “P”‘s, goal posts, 4 corners, etc. Payout was $19 if you won, but you had to be 18. I told the kids if they won I’d sign and they’d get half…;)
Every time the number “N-40” was called the audience would repeat “N-40” and the caller would say “All night long.” After the 3rd or 4th time of this we asked why this call and response took place and no one really knew - it was just one of those community traditions that no one remembered the roots of. During the final game it changed slightly to “last time for tonight” then “don’t let it break your heart”.
To play the final game you had to re-up $1 per card, then the game was to fill your card completely. This time if you won you earned $287 so the stakes were definitely higher.
The kids and I ended up sitting next to a gal named Laney. When we mentioned where we were from she turned to me and started speaking in Dutch. After I told her that I didn’t know it, she explained that she and her parents emigrated from the Netherlands when she was 9mos old. I don’t quite recall the sequence of events, but her parents met here in the States when her mothers dad spotted her dad walking around town in a Dutch Navy uniform. Happy to meet another Dutchman the future grandfather invited the future father home to dinner, where Laney’s parents first met.
Laney had a snappy sense of humor, and at one point jumped up to show a tattoo. She offered Miranda the chance to see other tattoos, which Miranda had no immediate response for (other than a slight reddening..). Laney pulled up a pant leg to show off a combination of two tulips and a frog. The tulips represented her parents, and she said the frog was her. Looking at Miranda she asked “You know what FROG stands for, right? Fully Reliant On God. I’m a Christian.” I think this helped bond the two, Miranda responded that she was too, and they were Bingo buddies the rest of the night. During the final round Laney pushed a card to Miranda saying “You watch this one for me, if I win we’ll split the the money.” Alas, there were no winners in our group.
On Sunday morning we were wrapping up some laundry with plans to pull out at noon (our site wasn’t available any longer) when we became aware that the campground held a church service in the Bingo hall on Sunday mornings. It started at 10:30 so would make the timing tight, but since it was right next to the laundry MsBoyink figured she could multi-task. When we first arrived we were half of the congregation (including our new friend Laney) but a couple more folks soon joined. Henry (the Bingo caller) also turned out to be the Teacher for the service. He asked if there were any “piana players” present and MsBoyink was quickly called into service as accompanist (after Henry found the keys to the padlock on the “piana”). For those who don’t know, MsBoyink has extensive experience accompanying different groups on piano - we actually met in a music/drama group where she played that role.
MsBoyink did Amazing Grace and Old Rugged Cross , then Henry delivered the message. After that and prayer we wrapped up our road prep and laundry, and drove just 1/2 hour down the road to another private park outside of Waynesboro, VA. I didn’t want a long travel day because it was a perfect fall day, and I wanted to get up on the Blue Ridge Parkway.