Bingo Prompt

The Game is different from bingo, only in that, instead of matching letters you write for ten minutes about a specific prompt. Here are 4 of my responses.

Bingo Prompt: “Write About Sinking”

Janeen and I and our son Andy and his family were enjoying a weekend on Lake Powell. Our boat is not large, a 22 foot Hydroswift with a cuddy cabin. The boat runs well for a 25-year old boat. The 350 cubic inch V8 puts out 311 horsepower.
We had just left Forgotten Canyon where we had beached the boat on shore while we walked to see some ancient American Indian ruins. We waded through some muddy areas, and when we got back into the boat, we wanted to get clean; so after we got back into the main channel of Lake Powell, we decided to take a swim to clean off. Most of us jumped into the water, but Andy was still in the boat when Andy’s son Connor, age 6, asked why there was water coming out of the side of the boat. “That is the bilge pump,” Andy replied as he wondered why the bilge pump needed to run. There was no reason why there should have been that much water in the boat. Then he noticed that the rear end of the boat was lower in the water that it should be and that it was taking on water. He called to me that the boat was taking on water, and I said I would check the drain plug. I dove under the water at the back of the boat, and even though I did not have any goggles on, I could see that there was no plug in the boat. The boat was sinking.
I immediately put my thumb in where the plug should have been to stop the flow of water into the boat, but I could not stay in that position and get my head out of the water to breathe. I came back up for air and yelled, “There is no plug!” I took a deep breath and went back down to put my thumb back in the whole while Andy looked frantically for a plug. I always kept a couple of spare plugs in the boat, one under the foot rest below the steering wheel and one in the tool box under the front passenger seat. Andy went for the toolbox and found the plug in there and gave it to me as I came back up for air. I put the plug in the hole and stopped the intake of water, but we had a dangerous amount of water in the boat to deal with. Once everyone was back in the boat, we crossed our fingers to see if the engine would start, and it did, but the bilge pump had a lot of work to do. We used a large Big Gulp cup as well as a bailing pail to get as much water out of the boat as possible while we drove the boat at a high speed. Andy thought driving the boat fast would keep the engine from taking in water, and who was I to argue.
We all thanked Connor for alerting us and saving the boat and possibly our lives.

Bingo Prompt: “Write about a shade tree.”
From 1947 to 1952, I lived in a small frame house about 50 feet behind my father’s parents’ home about 2800 South on Highland Drive. My mother’s mother, a widow, lived in a nice walk-out basement apartment in my father’s parents’ home. I had three loving grandparents on that site to spoil me, cook my breakfast, and comfort me when I was disciplined for doing the things that little boys do. The space between the two houses was a fun place to play — there was grass, flowers, an arbor, and a large shade tree in the middle. My sister and I played games around that tree, climbed the tree, and enjoyed the cool summer shade the tree provided.
My family moved away from that home when I was six years old, but my father’s parents stayed in their home; and sometimes when visiting my grandparents, I would wander back to that tree and remember the fun times there.
As the years went by, my father’s parents died, my father died, my mother remarried and her second husband died, and the two homes, my home and my grandparent’s home, were torn down to be replaced by Greystone Condominiums.
It was about 45 years after we moved from that home that my mother, by then twice widowed, could no longer care for her home. She rented a nice apartment near town, but when those apartments were to be turned into condos, she either had to move out or buy. She did not want to buy her apartment, so I offered to help her find another apartment. The apartments we looked at in her price range were not the kind of apartments I wanted for her. My business was doing pretty well, so I decided to purchase a condominium for her.
I gave her a figure for rent that was below what the condo cost me, but was in her price range. I purchased one of the Greystone Condominiums thinking she would enjoy moving back into the old neighborhood.
One day my sister and I were walking around the grounds outside my mother’s condo and I saw this large shade tree. I pointed it out to my sister and she told me that is was the same tree we had played around as kids. The tree had survived all the demolition, the new construction, and the passage of time. Again, the memories were there, embedded somewhere within me, and I recalled the games we played around that wonderful tree.
Do trees remember the children that loved them? Did the tree recognize my sister and I as my sister recognized the tree? If trees do remember, what stories could they tell? It makes you wonder.

Bingo Prompt: “Someone’s Playing the Piano”
I married the woman who plays the organ in church. She is a very good organist and pianist, and has been playing the organ in our ward for 15 years. She describes herself as a pianist who plays the organ. She began accompanying on the piano at 12 when she accompanied the school orchestra in the sixth grade. She played the organ or piano in every ward she was in ever since. At times she has had so many requests to accompany vocalists, musicians, and choirs that scheduling them was a problem. With all that, she still needs to practice, and practice is where I benefit. I love the live music in our home while she plays Christmas carols, popular music, classical music, or hymns. Since she plays for church, she mostly practices hymns, which are enjoyable, but not as enjoyable to listen to as some of her other favorite pieces such as Clair de Lune. Hymns are religious poems put to music. They are less melodic, more rigid, and sometimes follow a tedious common format, which makes the occasional romantic pieces much more enjoyable.
My wife also plays for the church choir, and usually those pieces go beyond the typical hymn and are more melodic. I go with her to choir practice and sing in the choir. I enjoy singing, but I would enjoy playing the piano even more. I have had private voice lessons on two occasions, but after a little criticism, I would quit. My father, Ray Halverson, was a world-class baritone. The New York Metropolitan Opera tried to recruit him, but he did not want to move to New York. He sang in local operas, for funerals as a member of the Larkin Mortuary staff, and regularly on a live Sunday evening radio program before technology made recorded music sound well enough for radio. After a few months of voice lessons, I sang a piece for my sister and her husband. When I finished, my brother-in-law said, “He is no Ray Halverson, but it wasn’t bad.” Well, I took that as criticism and that was all the criticism I needed to quit taking lessons.
I always had a piano in my home, but until the last 11 years when I married Janeen, the pianos were not played on a regular basis. I took piano lessons for one year — the obligatory year when I was a boy, but I dropped it and later took up easier instruments, the trumpet and the guitar. I played the trumpet in junior high school, and the guitar in high school. It would have been nice to play the piano instead of the trumpet in junior high and not have to carry the trumpet to and from school every day.
I was in high school during the era when folk music was popular and hootenannies were in style. I enjoyed such groups as The Kingston Trio, The Brother’s Four, The Lettermen, and The New Christie Minstrels. I had a couple of friends who would walk around the neighborhood at night playing our guitars and singing folk songs.
I wish I had continued with the piano since there is always one around and the piano serves as the basis of most music. My trumpet and guitar have long since gone to Deseret Industries, but the piano is always there. I think my early aversion to the piano was a matter of intimidation. My parents were all very musical. My mother played the piano and she, my father and stepfather were all members of the Tabernacle Choir. They were often critical of other musicians so I did not want to play or sing around them for fear of their criticism. I could play the trumpet and guitar mostly away from home. I always have it in the back of my mind to take up the piano again, especially since I may be more capable of handling criticism now.
Bingo Prompt: “We Go Out After Dark”
Sitting outside with friends and family after a hot summer day enjoying the cool breeze coming down from the Canyon and watching the children playing Hide and Go Seek and other after-dark games are beautiful memories. Those summer evening games as a child are some of my most memorable recollections.
My parents had a lot of friends, and they would often have my sister and I ride with them to the homes of those friends while they visited. Usually those friends had children that we could play with, and if not, we went there often enough that we got to know the kids our age in their neighborhoods. They were usually playing outside, and we could join them in games of Steel the Flag, Pomp Pomp Pull Away and, of course, Hide and Go Seek. If friends of our parents came to visit our house and brought their children, the first thing we would do is go outside to play.
In those days there was little concern about child molesters, kidnappers, or any other type of bad people. I remember leaving our front door open all night long to allow the canyon breeze to come in through the screen over the front door, which had no lock on it. We never had a problem doing that. Now days, however, things are different. We have a registered sex offender living a few blocks up the street, so we don’t want to let our grandchildren play outside, especially after dark without adult supervision. Were there sex offenders in the old days? Yes, probably, but they were fewer in numbers and they were not registered, so we did not know about them.
Those summer-night activities being reduced to only a memory is also due to Daylight Savings Time. It does not get dark now during the summer until after it is time for children to go to bed. I am sure there are dozens of reasons in favor of Daylight Savings Time: It saves energy by not having to turn on the lights as soon in the evening, and fewer pedestrians are hit by cars during daylight savings time.
I still want to enjoy a summer evening after dark, so I go to bed later and suffer from too little sleep during the summer. I also miss watching the children play their after-dark games on summer evenings. I would like to join Arizona where there is no Daylight Savings Time, even if I am too old for Pomp, Pomp, Pull Away – or am I?

Camping (?)

CAMPING (?)

I was never an avid camper, but I did consider it to be an enjoyable adventure. I camped as a boy scout, both in summer and in winter. My stepdad took me camping and gave me his WWII army surplus mummy bag. This old bag made the winter scout camping trips particularly enjoyable when the other scouts were freezing and I was warm. The other scouts were highly motivated to get up in the morning to build a fire while I stayed on bed. My parents took me and my sisters on several camping trips, including one summer when we camped for a weekend in a tent on Doheny Beach in southern California.
As an adult, I took my family tent camping on several occasions. Once I packed all the gear for two adults and two children including tent, ground cloth, air mattresses, sleeping bags, stove, chairs, table, food for a long weekend, and clothing into our Volkswagen Beetle. Later we camped in Moab for the Easter jeep safari, and on the shores of Lake Powell, but we had a larger vehicle than the Beetle.
Years later, when my marriage was falling apart, the family stopped taking camping vacations. I spent many weekends going to BMX races with my sons, while my wife and daughters went their own way.
After getting divorced and remarried, my new wife Janeen and I wanted to be with each other as much as possible, especially on our weekends. This reinstatement of life styles, that included the bliss of spending time with someone who also wanted to spend time with me, once again included camping.
My wife’s extended family enjoys an annual camping trip together. Her extended family includes a mother, two sisters, and two brothers, their children and their families and our children and their families. I wanted to impress my new in-laws by making meticulous preparations for this camping trip. I borrowed a tent, and made sure we had warm sleeping bags, air mattresses, pillows, extra blankets, chairs, a table, stove, cooking utensils, food, and as many of the comforts of home as possible while living in a tent for four or five days.
My wife wanted to support me and helped with arrangements. She had owned a motor home, but it was about 30 years old, had leaked for years, and was trashed inside. She gave it away to a charitable organization for the tax deduction. That explained why she did not have a tent and other camping equipment that would be expected with annual camping trips.
It was the word “camping” that threw me. I did not make the connection between the motor home and the term “camping.” We packed everything into our SUV and headed for the mountains. We arrived at the campsite early and chose a good site for our tent. It was a large campsite with what appeared to be more than enough room for even a large extended family.
As the others began to arrive, however, I realized that the term “camping” meant something different to me that it did to the rest of my wife’s extended family. Each family arrived pulling well equipped travel trailers, campers, motor homes, or toy haulers. Their idea of “roughing it” was having to manually adjust their portable satellite dishes for their TV reception.
The members of this group were kind and accepting of me, a newcomer to their family. They did not say anything negative about my lone tent among all their luxury mobile homes. Their idea of camping, however, did not extend to the lowly status of a tent. I took it in all in stride, and although I was somewhat embarrassed about my plebeian status, I got back at them by teasing them about their concept of “camping.” I have continued to tease my wife about her idea of “camping” since then.
I always enjoyed the annual camping trips, but instead of borrowing a tent, I arranged for some kind of travel trailer or motor home for my camping facilities. Wanting to fit in, I have since purchased a truck which is fully capable of towing a travel trailer, but I have not been able to justify purchasing my own camping “home,” partly because it reminds me of my mom and stepdad, who owned either a travel trailer or motor home after their retirement, and I associate those vehicles with being old. In my heart, I hope I never get that old — even though I am already older than my stepfather was when he died.