BRATTLEBORO, Vt. (WCAX) It's a weekly ritual. Every Wednesday Thelma Underwood and Roland Therriault journey to the VFW in Brattleboro.
They brought dinner--it's hot and it's home cooked. Soup and a casserole for a hungry crowd who will be arriving later to play bingo. For years, Thelma prepared the meals by herself. Now the 92-year-old has helpers.
Roland and Thelma aren't hitched, but they're definitely a couple. Both were previously married.
Joe Carroll: He's a keeper?
Thelma Underwood: Oh yeah, after 13 years I'm going to keep him.
Roland Therriault: Oh good.
They met at the VFW decades ago under different circumstances. Let's just say they didn't feel the love.
Thelma Underwood: He didn't like me.
Joe Carroll: He didn't like you?
Thelma Underwood: We can't say it on television what he thought I was.
Joe Carroll: Does it start with a 'B'?
Thelma Underwood: Yeah.
It was an argument about Roland bringing in outside food. But it was Thelma's best friend, Rosemary Haselton, who arranged an end to the food fight.
Joe Carroll: So you're the reason.
Rosemary Haselton: I guess so. I started the whole thing.
Rosemary had known Roland for years and thought he was a nice guy. So one day at the club, Rosemary approached Roland. Thelma was there too. "I said, 'How about you taking me to Hawaii honey.' And he said, 'Sure, we'll go.' And then she said, 'I decided he might be kind of fun.' So then she asked him out," Rosemary said.
"And I found out he was fun, so I decided I wanted him," Thelma said.
Joe Carroll: You're impulsive?
Thelma Underwood: Yes!
They've been cooking ever since. "I don't know, we both need someone. When you're older, you need somebody," Thelma said.
"They're cute together," Rosemary said.
An hour before the meal, hungry bingo players trickle in. And for many, it's their only night out. "Where can you get a hot supper and a piece of pie for $6," Thelma said. "People who play bingo eat!"
About 60 people will play -- Thelma isn't one of them. The volunteer is too busy running the kitchen.
Rosemary Haselton: Everything is Thelma's way.
Joe Carroll: Does Roland know that?
Rosemary Haselton: Yeah, he doesn't pay attention either.
Roland will be back to help pack up. Thelma has no intention of laying down the ladle any time soon, but realizes the other women will have to take over someday.
Thelma Underwood: The old gray mares ain't what they used to be.
Joe Carroll: Oh, you're still kicking.