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Nancy Evins: Why do I love bridge? Let me count the ways

Nancy Evins • Updated Jul 8, 2018 at 12:00 PM

I know many for whom this is not true.

Jack Olsen, whoever he was, wrote, “Whist led to bridge…whist, which led to auction bridge, which led to contract bridge which led to murder, divorce, suicide, mayhem and other social evils.”

I wonder if Jack had just had his ace trumped by his wife who was his opponent.

George Burns commented, “bridge separates men from the boys and husbands from their wives.”

Many years ago, a minister in my church, First Baptist Church, gave a sermon on the evils of bridge by relating this story.

It seems an older woman friend visited a young man while he was on death row.

Referring to his situation, he told her, “It all started in your house. You invited me to come to learn to play bridge, and I got so caught up in it that I gambled and lost and wound up robbing a service station. I accidently shot the owner, and now I am to die.”

I was both amused and horrified by this story. I had never heard of gambling at bridge, and maybe he should have blamed the guy who sold him the gun.

My mother heard a similar story at my childhood church and later when the minister was telling her how much his family enjoyed the game of Monopoly someone got for Christmas. She, tongue in cheek, exclaimed, “Don’t you use dice in that game?”

It got me to thinking how many criminals were known to play bridge. Poker, maybe, but not bridge. Can you imagine Al Capone, sucking on a cigar, bidding with other felons wondering whether to bid against him.

Or Manson who might have had one of his followers play his hand.

If Jim Jones had refreshments while contemplating the proper bid, I would suggest avoid the Kool-Aid.

Nope, the people you hear about who loved the game were Ike and Mamie Eisenhower, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Winston Churchill, Gandhi, Margaret Thatcher, and it is said Bess Truman spent more time entertaining her back home bridge club than she did for all the senators and representatives’ wives.

Many people think Gates and Buffett are partners, and maybe they are sometimes, but when they play in the big tournaments, like the nationals in Nashville a few years back, they were playing with their instructors and against each other.

Gates made the statement, “bridge is the king of all card games,” and Buffet went further, saying, “Bridge is such a sensational game that I wouldn’t mind being in jail if I had three cellmates who were decent players and who were willing to keep the game going 24 hours a day.”

And I’m saying, old bridge players never die. We just shuffle away.

Nancy Evins, of Lebanon, is a certified bridge instructor. Email her at [email protected]

 

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