— this is really happening

in the name of transparency and learning

Who would have thought I might someday transmit from a town where, my Canadian relatives joke, "people only make left turns," to bang the blog bell in announcement of a big secret that’s been hiding deep within the historical right wing of this country? That’s right, Harold Sterling Vanderbilt, the famed railroad executive, champion yachtsman, and great-grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt (think Vanderbilt University) was also a prolific contract bridge player — in fact Harold was such the player, some of the rules through which conventional bridge is played today were sanctioned first by him and his yachtsman friends back in the early twentieth century. Apparently responsible for making bridge "hip" in 1930’s America, (whatever that looked like), H.V. was one of many purple classmen who played. Seen as a gentlemen’s game, and "not fit for ladies, or lousers." (old English for losers?), the game has deep hoity-toity history, mostly having risen to popularity by the British and Russian royal class in the late nineteenth century. Irregardless (which is a double negative, I know), the game finally made its way to the front lawn of my life. God bless. Left as I might be, and right as it may be, I played contract bridge for the first time last night in a newly-created Bridge Supper Club and lemme tell ya’ … it’s the Excalibur sword of card games!

We played many hands. Some open faced, some closed. With tricks. Without trumps. On teams. Solo. You name it, we tried it. It was a calvacade of questions and interruptions. New lingo sprung from our lips and we could feel the cumberbuns tighten: Dummies, rubbers, doubles, east, west, trump, shuffles, deals, no-trump … over the line, under the line … Phew! And of course,"in the name of transparency and learning" you were allowed to say just about anything at our bridge table (which I recommend). And after about 3 hours, I was juuuuuuuust starting to get it. 

Talk about complicated. [So complicated, in fact, my favorite blue-eyed lass and beloved bridge partner threw a bit of a tantrum (in the best sense of the word) at needing to learn yet another rule.]


Talk about wanting sneaky troublemakers on your team.


Talk about an opportunity to wow your friends with your psychic connection to the divine. 


It’s entirely fun, and entirely complicated. Just like us humans, really.

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