Book Clubs and Bridge

I remember conversations. Not just “How are you?” chit-chat, but discussions with feeling. For quite a number of years, I mourned the loss of conversation. One or two friends kept the spark alive, but for others talk became a monologue bemoaning the ills of the week, the tedium of a job,  or the latest domestic crisis. And then several friends formed a book club. We were to read books we should have read in high school or college, discuss them, and eat. But the discussions grew, just as my reawakening mind stretched as it sank into t he vastly different worlds of Death Comes to the Archbishop and Great Expectations. We even threw in some contemporary novels. And not surprisingly, our discussions spread to include organic gardening, home decor, and out-of-town gigs.

When I rediscovered bridge, I recalled my mother’s Wednesday bridge group. There were usually two tables of four, Breck’s chocolate covered-Bridge Mix, and (in those days) a haze of cigarette smoke. They brought out their college nicknames—Bushy and Weezie, Kay and Phyl. They traded recipes, dieting tips, and the names of reliable babysitters. And they had each others backs. When one husband strayed, the others rallied ’round and continued to invite her to dinner parties and theater flings. When one had to have her face rebuilt after an accident, they put away the old photos and took lots of new ones, so she’d never be reminded of who she used to be. And when one of them suffered a stroke, the others took turns going to her home to help with physical therapy, five days a week for three years.

However you do it, through bridge, books, or happenstance, I wish you friends like these.

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