CLARKSVILLE — Eight women who have been part of a bunco club that's lasted nearly 58 years say it's about more than just rolling the dice.
“It's not the game itself, it's the socialization,” Joyce Timberlake said. "We're all friends and it's just a nice social aspect. We just like to get together once a month.”
Members of the eight-person club have changed over the years. Timberlake, 82, and Liz Jenkins, 81, are two of the original players from when the club began in the 1950s.
What began as a neighborhood thing — all of the women are from or live in New Albany — became a good way to escape the daily grind and have a good time.
“Just to get away from the kids and to have happy times with our friends,” Jenkins said. “We just got together.”
Jenkins said it means the world to her to be able to still get together with these women after all the years.
“I just love it, getting to see everybody,” she said.
Sue Bobo, 75, has been part of the group for 45 years. She said that she thinks the club has lasted so long because everybody gets along and enjoys being friends.
“I think that everybody respects everybody, and once somebody has to drop out then we just invite somebody else to come in and it's another connection,” she said. “I think it's unusual to get eight people together and get along, and everybody does get along. That's a good part.”
The women used to take turns meeting in each other's houses once a month for the game until in recent years when they decided a restaurant was the way to go, especially, if they have free pie. The past few years they've been meeting once a month at O'Charley's in Clarksville. Bobo said changing locations didn't change the essence of the club, however.
“It's always the same like this,” she said. “We used to do it at home and everybody put up two card tables at their place."
“Then as we got older, we just decided it was just easier to go out,” Edna Beets, 81, said.
The game is played by two sets of partners at two tables each taking turns rolling three dice until each team at the table rolls all ones, then all twos, and so on until six. The $5 per month dues pay for the cash prizes for winners.
“The first person gets $20 for winning, then the second one gets $15, then $5 for the pin prize,” Bobo said.
She said although eight is the normal number of players, they can either get a sub for a person who couldn't make it, or the person without a partner that day just takes both turns.
“We let the person who has a partner, if her partner doesn't show up, then she throws for the partner and herself all the time,” Bobo said. “So she gets all the points. And everybody kind of likes it when there's somebody missing because they get to go twice.”
Bobo said they take some time off in fall and winter when the weather is bad, but still keep in touch. Wednesday's was the last meeting before the women take their fall break.
“There's probably three of them that still drive besides me and when it gets really bad nobody wants to drive so we miss a month or two and then we go back,” she said.
Although the women, some in their late 80s and one who is 91, may not be able to get out as much as before, Beets, who's been playing for 56 years, said she can't imagine not playing every month.
“It's just a good outing," she said. "We enjoy it. We all enjoy each other. I'd hate to think I didn't have these friends to look forward to every month.”