I grew up in a fairly idyllic neighborhood. We had sidewalks on which to roller skate, or throw annual bike parades. Basketball hoops in the driveways, a skating rink and sledding hill. Dad’s who went to work in the morning, and ate supper with their families every night. Mom’s who led girl scouts, baked class treats and made sure you got home for dinner when the street lights came on. We had sandboxes to play in and sprinklers to run through and played house in the basement and danced to the Monkey’s in the living room. On summer nights we sat on the porch and watched the big kids drive by, flew kites in the school yard and made forts under the picnic tables. And every third Wednesday night of the month our Mom’s played bridge.
On the day of bridge night at our house, I would come home from school to the sight of two card tables set up in the living room. The “bridge cards” set out and new bridge tallies on the tables. The bridge tallies usually had a theme, depending on what time of the year it was and there were always small dishes of candy and peanuts. On the dining room table the dessert plates and coffee service was set and there was always something special made for the “bridge club”. Yes, on the third Wednesday night of the month the neighborhood Mom’s ceased being mothers and became, “The Bridge Club”.
As a child I can remember laying in bed listening to the slap of the cards, the murmur of conversations and the bursts of laughter. Always wondering what they were talking about and how as a group they could set their tone so that little ears upstairs could not hear anything! Bridge night was sacred, Dad’s went to the basement, kids made themselves scarce and bedtime was adhered to, no whining or complaining. If we were lucky there was a little extra dessert made for us.
I am not exactly sure what year the bridge club started. Suffice it to say, it has been around as long as I can remember. Well over 50 years of cards, stories, and laughter. Kids grew up, and one did not. Parents died, and grandchildren were born. Anniversaries were celebrated in silver and gold and retirements flourished. Cancer and Alzheimer’s, new houses, new neighborhoods, RV’s and winter’s south. Life moved on every day but for the third Wednesday night of the month.
Eventually the third Wednesday night was traded for the third Thursday afternoon as spouses died, and eyes grew dimmer. Dessert was traded up to lunch, and great-grandchildren were born. Canes and walkers, hearing aids and trifocals had all been added to the mix, but cards and stories and laughter remained. Bound together by tradition, friendship and a deck of cards, eight women, over 50 years, a story in and of itself. On Monday they will gather, one less in their group, to say goodbye to Beverly. Seven women, bound together by tradition, friendship, a deck of cards and love.