Games People Play

I’m better this morning.  My hip has calmed down, although my back and knee are painful. Both are arthritic.  I’ve had knee surgery for a torn meniscus and Doc M gives me shots in my knee regularly.  My back is helped by pool walking.

Yesterday, I deduced the way I hold my leg when Johnny (who weighs less than 10 pounds) sits between my feet and shins pushes my leg into a bad position, so I put a small pillow under my knee and voila…it alleviates the stress on my hip, knee and back.


Last night, I was cleaning Dory’s cage (my African Red-bellied parrot) and discovered the “bridge column” in The Washington Times.  (David reads The Times and Post.  I read The Post and NY Times.)   I did not know it appeared anywhere anymore.  There was a time when the people who mattered in my life read it.

Year ago, when I was a young housewife, money was tight.  We entertained ourselves on Friday nights getting together with other couples with young children. Each week, we met at a different house and ate home made pizza and played card games. The guys, all enlisted service men, mostly drank beer. When my husband was made a Warrant Officer, our finances improved and we graduated from Hearts, Crazy Eights and Old Maid, to a crowd that played Pinochle.

Later when my husband was commissioned into the Company Grade Ranks, I learned how to play Contract Bridge, a requisite of belonging to the Officer’s Wives Club which I joined.

Years before, my Mom had taught Bridge and she showed me the fundamentals of the game. She told me to read Jacob Goren’s newspaper column, ‘On Bridge,’ which I did faithfully. From his columns, I learned how to finesse a play, and came to understand other subtle moves.

A set of 52 playing cards.
A set of 52 playing cards. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When my husband was over seas, I belonged to the ‘Officer’s Waiting Wives Club’ here in DC.  Week after week, we played bridge and discussed the Vietnam War. I recall one woman’s husband was a conscientious objector. He would not carry arms, but he flew a rescue helicopter to pick up the dead and wounded.  Another woman’s husband was a tank commander and he participated in the Cambodian Invasion. Yet another had a father in the CIA. She and I had several heated discussions.  I was a college student at the time, and my sociology professor was the president of The Vietnam Veterans against the War, so I was armed with much negative information about a subject I did not understand. Lynda Robb belonged to our group and at one point she had the wives over to the White House for tea.

One day, the highlight of my Bridge playing career arrived.  I was partnered with the wife of my husband’s commanding officer or “CO’s wife” as we knew her.

I bid us up to a Grand Slam in Hearts. This means you say you can take all thirteen tricks or rounds of cards (52/4=13).  She probably thought I had lost my mind bidding the game so high, but when I laid down my cards, so she could play the hand I had been dealt (I was the Dummy), she saw I had the Ace of Hearts – and all the Heart face cards, plus the 10, and the aces of Spades and Clubs. She had the remaining Hearts.  We won our Grand Slam.

After my husband and I separated, I never played Bridge again.

English: San Diego, Calif. (May 21, 2005) &nda...

San Diego, Calif. (May 21, 2005) – At a ceremony to honor Vietnam veterans, service members and their families observe a Vietnam Memorial Monument on board Naval Amphibious Base Coronado. The ceremony was held to honor Navy and Coast Guard personnel who lost their lives during the Vietnam War. U.S. Navy Photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Prince Albert Hughes III (RELEASED) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

6 thoughts on “Games People Play

  1. Glad you found a strategy to ease the pain. My parents got together weekly with my mother’s sisters and spouses for supper and pinochle. Now they are all gone and I after reading your “card” history, I wonder if they all started playing during the spouses WWII military service.


  2. I’m glad to read that you’re feeling better. Joint pain is no fun, I know all about it. I usually help myself with ointments and a hot pad.

    Bridge is not only a clever game but also a posh game. I never learned it; games aren’t my thing at all. I was always loath to play cards with grown-ups or kids. Not a joiner, that’s me. More your solitary reader kind of person.

    I can see why your aunt should think of you as a favourite niece, getting regular updates from family members is gratifying, particularly if the writer can make her routines sound interesting. I find minute details about the lives and family members of complete strangers rather different. Now and then, fine, not every day. I would soon stop reading. My own routine life is boring enough.


  3. I’m glad you figured out the leg pain too. I’m impressed with your card playing. I’ve never learned how to play bridge or poker.
    You got to have tea at the White House? Wow! I hope you took a few photos.


  4. You have really been on top of things the last three days…..and I behind. Yup, those of us with arthritis need to keep moving. I forgot to take my squshy seat to the museum thing last night and could barely stand when it was time to leave. Here in CA Costco starts selling suits in January. Speedo’s. I look awful in them, but they are only twenty bucks.

    Just really glad you found a solution to the leg etc pain.


  5. What an incredible post. It reminded me of the time Lynda Johnson (LBJ’s older daughter) visited my high school and sat in my classroom for some reason. She didn’t say a word, but I remember how pretty she looked. Your post also reminded me of the time David and I took Bridge lessons, and how bored I was. Bridge just did not appeal to me, but I can see why it would be addictive to some.


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