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Tomorrow night marks the first game of the 21st year of our Bunco group. For the uninitiated this is a simple dice game played in multiples of four with a minimum of 12 players. Most established groups are made up of women who meet once a month with members taking turns hosting. Our group started in my old neighborhood where about half of the players still live. The hostess provides everything, the house, the food, the booze (white wine by the gallon), and boobie prize. We begin the evening with a half hour of socializing before we begin play. This half hour has begun to stretch, much like our middles.

I try to host once every other year and find it utterly exhausting! By the time the first player shows up I’m spent. How some of these women can be so gracious after working, cleaning, and cooking for a crowd of all females, is beyond me. By the time I get around to scaring up a boobie prize it’s likely to be a disembodied Barbie head . Most of the ladies go around the house finding new things they don’t want, stuff like that purple powder room set your mother-in-law gave you for Christmas last year.

When we started in 1997 all of us had at least one child at home, most of us worked outside the home, were married, had some post high school education, and we’re relatively healthy. Sounds like a pretty homogeneous group. But over the years we’ve come to accept and appreciate the profound differences among us.

We have varying degrees of liberals who roll the dice alongside staunch conservatives. Several of the women are deeply religious while others are not. We didn’t go into the group knowing about these differences but discovered them over the years and many glasses of wine. We have vastly different interests outside of Bunco. If I go to hell it will be a holiday bazaar held at a NASCAR race where the only thing to drink is cheap Rose. However this would be the ultimate vacation spot for some of my Bunco cohort. I’m sure they feel equally uninterested in my hobbies like doing crossword puzzles and staring out the window.

Despite our differences, in more than 20 years, there has not been a single major falling out among us. Can you imagine? If you multiply 16 women by 160 games (we take a break in the summer) you get 2,560 opportunities for someone to get bitchy, nasty, or catty. But as far as I know this has never happened to an extent where it seriously affected the group. That’s pretty impressive. United Nations take note!

Perhaps it’s what we’ve been through together that creates this amazing sense of tolerance for different perspectives. We’ve had births, deaths, divorces, unemployment, empty nests, unexpectedly refilled nests, relocation, and illness. Some of us have experienced profound difficulties that don’t even fall into a category. One woman lost two siblings in as many years.

But no matter what’s going on, we all come back to the table once a month and roll those dice. I guess it’s hard—al beit REALLY corney—not to look at our Bunco game as a microcosm of life. You go out there and do your best, get beaten up, have victories, and have defeats. If you’re lucky, you have a supportive family to come home to at the end of the struggle. I think maybe that’s the role my Bunco group plays in our lives. A family more stable than the chaotic environment that surrounds us.

We refer to the woman who started our group as “Bunco Mama.” I can see some of you rolling your eyes at the saccharine reference, but we do think of her as they head of our clan. This woman has been through more challenges over the past twenty years than Jobe. Yet she continues to treat this group as a priority. Everyone should have a Bunco Mama in their lives, even if they don’t play Bunco.

So here’s to 21 more years of rolling along with the FoxHead Bunco Group.

Thank you for visiting.

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