49. Sociable Bridge: More blogs lost in the shuffle

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8. Bridge As You Like it. I came across a bit of trivia that this was the name adopted in the past by several bridge clubs, as far back as 1913 (as I recall). And I have blogged about it here and there, but never did get around to contacting newspapers in Missouri and few other states to search their local newspaper databases and find out, if possible,  just how prevalent it was back then. I include it here because I’d like the phrase revived by bridge clubs as a way of identifying that club as one that welcomes other than duplicate bridge both for lessons and to play.  And of course I’d like the ACBL to do that too if anybody from the ACBL reads my blog. Meanwhile, I’ve added As You Like It Bridge to my master list of things to research in 2014.

Examples:      Somewhere City Bridge Club 
                             “Bridge as You Like It”


The As You Like It Bridge Club of Somewhere City

9. Men & Sociable Bridge. 

Because I originally conceived my Bridge Table book as a look back at both sociable bridge, and the role of the ladies-only lunch in bridge popular culture, I’ve mostly written and blogged about women and bridge.  I’ve discovered along the way, that even though it is generally true that men prevail over serious bridge and women over sociable bridge–despite that women outnumber men in both worlds–men are just as likely as women to enjoy sociable bridge over serious bridge.  And I have come across men as nostalgic about their mom’s bridge club as any woman–that’s how they learned to play.

If I had my writing life to live over, I probably would not have confined my book to the theme of bridge and ladies-only lunch. It’s doubtful I have time, but were I ever to write another book about bridge in America, I’d do my best–or at least acknowledge–the various versions of men’s sociable bridge.  They may not have lunched but they gambled, played it on commutes to the city, had bridge groups connected with their Rotary or Elks or Knights of Columbus all-men clubs.

And of course they were part of a long tradition of couples bridge–dinner parties with bridge or the classic neighborhood weekly or bi-weekly bridge game with same two couples.  I do touch on this kind of thing in Bridge Table or What’s Trump Anyway? but emphasis is definitely on the ladies.

These days, it is quite apparent at senior centers that many men–even if they’ve been lifelong duplicate bridge players–prefer to end their lives playing sociable bridge. It DOES change the dynamics in the center where I play–not nearly as much chitchat as a ladies-only group. Nevertheless, it is a stress-free bridge environment. At least it is where I play.

10.  “Women, generally, have more fun playing bridge than do men.”–I’ve had this clipping from the Richmond Times-Dispatch in my files since 2010. Always wanted to use it someplace because author Guy Fridell says basically, that women have more fun because they talk and play at the same time, and they do that because “women’s minds tend to be multilevel.”  They’re better at multi-tasking than men.

I loved that viewpoint! –making a virtue out of what I always thought was one of the flaws of womanhood–get us in a group of more then three and impossible to keep everyone totally silent.  Except of course at duplicate bridge games when they are “scared straight” so to speak.

What do you think?

11. “I spent the first five years sober learning to play bridge.” A 3×5 card with that quote from a recovering alcoholic–no source–has been cluttering my files for years and I’m finally using it.

When you think about it, teaching someone to play bridge probably would be good therapy for replacing hours at the local bar with a non-alcoholic activity. If he lasted five years, probably worked, right? I should have blogged more abou that!

12. Peter Lawford’s bridge game with Liz Taylor and Johnny Cash at the Betty Ford Clinic for rehab of the alcohol and drug addicted had a dubious outcome–but funny, black humor one might say and I wish I’d included this in original 48 Bridge Table Chronicles under Sociable Bridge.

Peter Lawford, ex-brother-in-law to President Kennedy, and famous actor of his day, by 1983 booked himself into the Betty Ford Centre “in an heroic effort to get off the booze once and for all” according to an article in Britain’s Telegraph by Andrew Brown in July 2011.

“Once safely esconced in the Ford clinic . . . he was happy to play bridge with fellow patients Liz Taylor and JohnnyCash. . . . Lawford survived the five weeks of the programme without consuming alcohol, but did not stick strictly to the rules. When Patty, his young fourth wife, opened his American Express bills, she discovered that he had been paying for a helicopter to deliver cocaine to him in the desert behind the Centre.”

Lawford would evidently just take a stroll in the desert (maybe while he was dummy?) get some cocaine and walk back to the clinic.

Observed author Brown: “Celebrity patients, in a rush of optimism or under pressure from angry employers, would agree to undergo Betty Ford’s rigorous program, only to find later that their heart wasn’t in it.”

13. And finally, I wish I’d blogged about it when Wanda Zyla who wondered about the etiquette of hosting a social bridge game. I promised to blog about it and never did.

She had hosted an afternoon of bridge that went very well but was surprised when only one of those who attended emailed a thank you. Evidently people did contribute refreshments but at least one participant took home what was still left.

Frankly, I don’t recall the many many years–decades really–when we took turns hosting our neighborhood bridge club in Bayport, New York sending or expecting thank you notes–one took ones turn, which sort of made that unnecessary. When we did throw a luncheon bridge “party”? Again, as I remember (but it was long long ago) few called up (no email then) to thank the hostess. But again, as I remember, people DID reciprocate!

If the game she described was a one-time new thing? And simple e-mail would suffice? I guess we (me included) SHOULD take the time to write. Even more important (to me at least) we should RECIPROCATE with a bridge at our house.

I plan to keep this list of 13 topics lost in the shuffle at hand, so that I don’t forget to include them at times in blogging for 2014.


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