It all began a few years ago on New Year's Day. Every year, Chris and I host a New Year's Day party in our home for family and friends. Everyone brings two or three small wrapped goodies for use in a game of "cut-throat bingo." Cut-throat bingo is played similarly to regular bingo, except that at the beginning of the game, all the prizes are handed out so that everyone has about the same number of them. They are then opened, and everyone can see what everyone else has. Then, the bingo begins - - except when you bingo, you are allowed to take someone else's prize, and they are just S.O.L. (except if the bingo themselves, they of course can take back the prize from you.) There are usually a few popular items in each year's bingo game - - this past year, it was microwave popcorn and Orange Crush.
At any rate, one of the not-so-fabulous prizes in the game from a few years back was a can of Pork N Beans. Chris ended up as the recipient of this marvelous prize - - can you believe that no one wanted to take it from him?!? Gretchen was lamenting that she had had her good prize taken away, so we joked with her that we would let her take the Pork N Beans home if it would make her feel better. She ever-so-politely declined.
After she left, I realized she had forgotten her dish that she had brought a dessert in. A few days later when I was going to be out and about, I grabbed her dish to return it to her. Sitting right next to the dish was the can of Pork N Beans. I couldn't resist. I went to her house, and the garage door was open with her Tahoe sitting inside the garage. I went into the garage and put the Pork N Beans in the cup holder of the Tahoe, then retraced my steps back to the front door and rang the bell and returned her dish, never mentioning the can I had left for her.
A few hours later, I got a phone call querying me about "breaking and entering" into a vehicle without permission and leaving behind unwanted items. A few weeks later, I found the can of Pork N Beans in my music slot in the choir room at church. And the game was officially on.
Since that time, the can has been traded back and forth at least 15 - 20 times. At some point, Gretchen added a smiley face to the top of the can. That smiling can of pork n beans has racked up a lot of miles. One time, we were over at the Kirby's for a party, and I snuck upstairs and put it under Gretchen's pillow in her bed. Another time, I found it in Aleita's backpack when I picked her up from daycare after Gretchen had enlisted a friend who worked there to place it for her. Her kids received it this past Christmas, wrapped up under the Christmas tree like a present from us. Chris found it one day in his office at school where he is the liaison detective, after Gretchen had visited there for a career day. Once when Gretchen picked me up for a meeting at church, I had sacks of food to take for the food pantry. As we got to church, I removed the pork n bean can and stuck it in the seat pocket on the passenger seat and then carried the bags on into church. This past fall when we moved, lots of people gave us boxes to use - - in one from the Kirby's, wrapped carefully in yards of bubble wrap, was the pork n beans. This past winter, we went with the Kirbys and others to Chicago for the weekend - - I conspired with the babysitter who stayed with their kids to hide it for me while they were gone (she put it in with the pop in the fridge.)
As I said earlier, the Kirbys are currently in possession of the smiling can of pork n beans. An attempt was made by Gretchen this past Monday to tag us, but her mission had to be aborted. She had just left a meeting at church and drove by, intending to hide the can somewhere around the house or on the porch, I'm sure. However, she didn't anticipate that Chris would be sitting right in the window seat looking outside when she drove by. She slowed down as she came by the house and started to pull over, then pulled away and continued on. He called her later that night to let her know that she had been busted. Our time is coming to be it soon enough though, I'm sure.