Planning An Afternoon Seniors’ Bridge Party

It was a dreary Thursday in April 2019 when three of us headed out to the southwestern town of Bragg Creek, Alberta to play Bridge at 1:00 p.m. in the afternoon. The weather forecast was for overcast skies and the possibility of snow later in the day. It is a short drive on Highways 8 and 22 to the town and soon we were there!

Organizing a ladies and gentlemen group to play Bridge is not an easy TASK an any age but seems to be more of a challenge as we get older. There had been a large contingent of players originally in this group but the number has dwindled as participants have left the area. Bridge players had come from near and far to the community center and often there were three, four and even five tables playing the game.  Back a few years ago there were many players from Bragg Creek, Redwood Meadows, Longview, Turner Valley, Cochrane, Airdrie as well as the former residents who now live in Calgary.  It was easy to attract volunteers back then to bring the coffee, dessert and to set up the tables.  The hall was booked the second and fourth Thursday each month of the year and very well attended.

You would think that with modern technology it would be easier to organize such an outing but that doesn’t seem to be the case. The number of bridge players has decreased as the seniors have aged and young people have not taken up the game.  Now there is a challenge to get two let alone three tables of participants. 

We seniors often need reminders.  A sticky note put in an obvious place in the kitchen is my favorite reminder. It needs to be in sight for me to see upon arising each day. This really helps me to know my plans for the day. I even put alerts on my IPAD for the day before AND the day of my engagements.

Back to the party. We arrived around 12:30 p.m. to set up the tables with playing cards, Bridge tallies and pencils. When we walked up the stairs to the loft in the Community Center where we were to play there were two ladies there who had already done all the set up.  How lovely.

The tables were set

I met the seven others who I didn’t know and we waited for two gentlemen to arrive from Cochrane. This would make three tables, four at each table. By 1:20 p.m. there still was no sign of these guys.  A search by one lady in her purse produced a cel phone and the men were called.  No answer, no message manager, and no call waiting. So we went ahead and played with nine people. Turns were taken as to one “sit-out” for each four hands.  (One gentleman decided to make things easier and he said he had some chores to do and went home.)

The “Bragg Creek”

I had a few good cards and had a great time.  Everyone was so friendly and for sure I would go again, if asked.  There on the counter was “help yourself to a pineapple/ginger loaf and coffee” and I sampled both.  When we finished six rounds of Bridge it was time for clean up. All cards and tables were put back in place. We said our good-byes and headed for home. Just as forecasted the snow arrived and we drove through a spring snowstorm back to Calgary.

Thanks to my friends who invited me to join them for the day.  Planning for group activities is not easy at anytime but with seniors there is just a little more to making sure we all “remember” what is planned.

2 Comments, RSS

  1. Colleen O'Shea

    Nice story, mom. Now I know that bridge comes with food and drinks, but can you tell me why? It’s rather like cricket, where they stop the game for tea. And when DO you eat? After the game, at mid-point — or as soon as you arrive?

    • In 1960 when I started a Bridge Club in Regina, there was your godmother Norma Ehman, Mary O’Leary, Rose Bertram, Jackie Meyer, Rita Poissant, Jan Campbell, Leanne Siller and of course myself. We started playing at 8:00 p.m. and had cocktails while we played. We played until midnight, served lunch, coffee and dessert. We never got home until around 1:00 a.m.

      Now we play at 1:00:p.m. and coffee, water and one dessert is served. We play while we eat and are home around 4:45 p.m.

      In both scenarios we have played seven games with four hands in each game. We change partners after every game and so we play with each of the other seven. Cost is $1.00 First place gets $4.00, Second place gets $3.00 and low gets her $1.00 back.

      Most community association clubs charge $2.00. The Prize payouts are determined by the number of people playing.”

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