Gathering up the ragged edges of winter we sallied forth yesterday morning. There was a chilly wind, but the sun shone with some determination, and we stopped at the Senior's Centre for a cup of coffee and a look-see as to the condition of the Saturday morning bridge tables. Did they need a spare? Were there people hanging around looking for two more out of practice bridge players to make up a table???
There was only one vacant chair, and whoever was dummy was hopping around from table to table, filling in. We had a cup of coffee. Charles got into deep conversation with other drop-ins, so I went to take the place of the rotating dummy, feeling a little nervous as it has been many years since bridge was a steady and pleasurable part of our lives, and I did feel a little like a dummy, nervous and hoping that the others at the table were kind bridge players, - not the snippy types who make no bones about it and look down their nose when you bid inadequately, of trump your partner's Ace! Oh, I have never done that......but it happened to Charles once. Iris trumped his Ace, and he was such a sweet gentleman about it, - never blinked an eye..but it has gone down in history as one of our bridge stories!
All went well, and I enjoyed the game, but when we came home and were having a little conversation about who did what and why, etc. I began to think of the many Saturday nights we spent with friends, visiting, playing bridge and cementing the bonds of friendship.
A small dish of bridge mix in opposite corners of the table, a drink by your elbow, perhaps an ashtray close by, it being part of the time before smoking became such a dreadfully dirty habit and was instead a few moments of relaxation.
No stress. Unhurried games, interspersed with friendly discussions, a few laughs, a few taut moments when it came to the opening bid, - they were wonderful times and we played bridge whenever we could, - Saturday nights, Sunday afternoons, impromptu get togethers - a few hands here, a few hands there - marvelous cheap entertainment. Pickles and crab sandwiches waiting in the fridge for when we reluctantly put the cards away, but still replayed the most memorable hands of the evening and sat around talking, sometimes until the small hours of the morning. And probably there was further pillow talk if the cut of the cards happened to present one with their spouse for a partner!!!
You know I'm livid, - you went to bed with an Ace
Eventually, as the children grew older and we grew busier, our entertainment grew more sophisticated and the bridge games happened less frequently, but at least once a month there was an invitation to "come to dinner, - I'll make a lemon pie for Charles and we'll play some bridge later".
Time passed, as it is so wont to do, and now we have lost many of those friends we played bridge with, to death or dementia, - we would be hard pressed to put together a foursome of old and dear friends for bridge now.
So we will go back to the Senior's Centre and play bridge with old acquaintances, and strangers, who will in the course of time become friends, and life in town will continue to present all sorts of lovely surprises.
There is blue sky and sunshine this morning, - after a cup of coffee I think I will go out and pick some pussy willow branches and poke about to see if anybody planted daffodils in this lovely mini garden, and reminisce a little about days gone by and friends who live only in our memories.