I couldn’t believe it. Not only were the double-point games at the Airport Bridge Club canceled, but my partners for the last two days of January – Marie Suprinick on Monday and Celine Murray on Tuesday, both of whom had reserved the dates way back before the Airport Bridge Club closed in December – had double- booked on me. Would I mind if … ? Of course not. Besides, I told myself, it could be a chance to hook up with one of the stronger players.
So I ask Carolyn Siracuse during the Saturday game and yes, she’s free Monday. We’ve done well together in the past, but not this time at Bridge Club Meridian. 40.46%. Not last, but not far from the bottom.
Come Tuesday, I had no partner at all. Meridian director Dian Petrov surveyed the crowd and pointed me to Gene Finton, he of the generous mustache and quirky sense of humor. I’d played against him – he’s a savvy guy, but a little unpredictable sometimes – but I’d never played with him. What are we playing, I ask. He holds up a blank convention card. This, he said.
Finton sometimes provokes great frustration in his partners, notably Judi Marshall, who rags on him constantly, but I found him to be pleasant enough once I accustomed myself to his oddball wit and realized we’re not that far apart style-wise. (For instance, he calls Cappeletti “cacciatore.” I call it “cappuccino.” We met in the middle.) Our game felt like a good one – we were on offense a lot and he played most of the hands. And it was – 59.52%, first North-South, 0.90 master point. Bring out those gypsy violins. Let’s have a last dance for January.