July is my favorite month. And why shouldn’t it be? It’s my birth month. Moreover, here in Buffalo, it’s the height of summer, the best weather anywhere in the U.S., 31 glorious days that make up for all those bleak times at the other end of the calendar.
This July has been particularly glorious. I turned 75. Three-quarters of a century and very glad to have made it this far, a point that is driven home to me with every obituary I write for The Buffalo News.
As a bridge month, it peaked with not one, but two birthday celebrations, in which I bought a free game for the first time for everyone at The Bridge Centre of Niagara in St. Catharines, Ont., on my customary Friday visit July 14, and repeated my annual freebie at the Airport Bridge Club in Cheektowaga on the evening of my actual birthday July 18.
In Canada, they trotted out a terrific marble cake, accented with a layer of custard and hands of cards drawn into the frosting. At the Airport Club, it was a big old potluck dinner, but no cake, which is just as well. By then, I was caked out. Also part of the celebration was another player whose birthday is July 18. Val Derenda. He turned 90. I’d already given him a present back on June 27 when we were paired at the last minute and had a 62.81% game, to the great surprise of both of us (see Blog 960).
St. Catharines had 17½ tables, 70 players, which at $6 a head cost $420 Canadian. I asked the internet what that would be in U.S. funds and it came out to around $330. The Airport Club had 11½ tables, 46 players, which at $7.50 a head cost $345.Across the table from me at both games was my Canadian partner, Selina Volpatti. In St. Catharines, we turned in a respectable 53.97% game, seventh North-South, fourth in the B strat, fifth in B overall, 0.34 of a master point. At the Airport Club, not so good. 47.53%. At least we weren’t last.