I’d put money….and you should, too…..on the odds that I’ve played bridge longer than just about anyone you know. Let’s be clear. That doesn’t make me a better bridge player, by any means. It just means I’ve had my feet under a bridge table for slightly over 70 years at this point.
My parents played bridge most Sunday afternoons. There were usually six of them. Four at the table; two to do other stuff. They cut in and out as the afternoon went on. The sit-outs were in charge of libations, nibbles and gossip. The sit-ins obviously played bridge, until, as my father always warned: “Move your feet, you’ll lose your seat .”
I sat on the kitchen stool and kibitzed during those afternoons. I learned Goren, the system used to bid way back then. My mother had a book or two on the game and we dealt hands together. That’s a nice memory for me.
But what I really learned at their bridge table had nothing to do with cards.
Primarily, I learned that bridge is fun. That the game of bridge is also one of manners and respect. That frowns, tsk-tsks, and harrumphs were unacceptable. That friends at the beginning of the game were even better friends at the end of it. That scores meant nothing. Even if you were playing for high stakes like a tenth of a cent per point.
I went forth into the world believing that. And I still cling to that position even though some hard-core gamers tried, in vain, to disprove me of that notion.
As I enter my 8th decade of “playing” bridge, I, now more firmly than ever, refuse to give up the fun. While that seemingly steadfast position may decrease the number of people who’ll play with me, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Bridge my way, anyone?