In the end, what made it a picnic was the food. And what wonderful food it was – fresh veggies from picnic chairman Paul Zittel’s farm in Eden (Zittel telling one and all how he went to steal broccoli from a neighboring farm, but couldn’t find it and had to ask). The corn salsa was irresistible. The cut-up cauliflower (from Zittel’s own fields) was fabulously crisp. And the corn on the cob with the lunch between sessions, also picked that morning, was supernaturally sweet. Zittel wins top prize at the Eden Corn Festival year after year.
Add to that the chicken from the place where Bill Finkelstein always gets his chicken barbecue and a bunch of heavenly desserts, pound cakes, coffee cakes, light and dark brownie squares, courtesy of former Unit president Betty Metz, if I remember correctly. It was so good and so satisfying that I kept wanting to drift off into a contented sleep throughout the afternoon play. And I wasn’t the only one.
At least we weren’t being laid low by the heat. On Buffalo’s first 90-degree day of the year, we were cool. For some, it was too cool. Ted Kahn and Dian Petrov moved their table to a corner to get away from a direct blast of A/C.
This climate-controlled oasis was a venue I didn’t even know existed – the Carousel Room at the Erie County Fairgrounds in Hamburg, your basic 50- to 200-seat banquet hall complete with glass-brick bar, a big etched mirror and Americana chandeliers with little merry-go-round figures on them. It’s tucked back between the grandstand and the livestock barns and would have been a complete mystery destination, save for a couple large signs saying “Bridge” with big directional arrows.
The promise of picnic food and the location in the Southtowns drew more than the usual number of new faces – new to me, at least. For example, the attractive lady playing with Joe Miranda turned out to be a player whose name I’ve seen in the results for the East Aurora game – Denise Mattingly.
At any rate, it was a big game – two sections, 11 or 12 tables each. Partner Florence Boyd and I, who play a rather uncomplicated game, sat East-West both morning and afternoon and were unsure just how well or poorly we were doing. Many of the hands defied easy assessment. More than once we bid on high card points and were laid low by distribution.
So we were gratified to find ourselves fourth in the B stratification when the morning game ended – 51.94%, winning 0.54 of a master point. We were even more gratified in the afternoon, when my drowsiness was making it hard to keep track of the play of the cards. Nevertheless, we improved upon our morning record – 54.42%, fourth in the A strat, second in B, for 0.67 of a master point.
Every little bit helps advance toward that goal of 20 or so master points for the month. As of Thursday, I had 5.23 points at the Airport Bridge Club. Add Sunday’s combined 1.21, the 0.91 in St. Catharines and the 2.13 for winning Saturday’s game at the Airport Club (58.11% with Cleveland Fleming), and it’s almost 10 points halfway through July.