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2017-08-09 / Loose Ends

Dating games

Who’s shuffling?
Susan Nienow

It was just supper with four couples. An easy thing. The host provides the entrée and everyone brings a dish. The problem is the calendar. Now that we are all retired, we have freedom, and we take full advantage.

The January dinner was moved to February and then, a week before, moved to March. Couple A was helping a sister through her surgery. Couple B was busy catching the flu. Couple C just heard their daughter was coming to the East Coast on business and could only come through Richmond on that date. Couple D was free in January but would be in sunny Florida half of February and half of March. So we settled on a date in late March.

In contrast, my bridge group – eight women – has a set date: every third Wednesday evening. About three or four months out of the year we have all eight of us. The rest of the time we get subs, since bridge requires four people per table. So each of us gets twelve opportunities to be doing something else that is more important than bridge that Wednesday.

One month we had just four players. Several times we have had to get three subs. Most of us have kids and grandchildren who live somewhere else. So we visit them or they come to see us. Then there is the illness factor – colds and flu. And the out-of-town guests. And the trips we take to visit others. And root canals and joint replacements. Just the everyday interruptions.

Subs have lives, too, unfortunately. They don’t just sit at home and wait for us to call. Even though we have an extensive sub list, sometimes they are all busy. Once every year or two, we end up canning the cards and going out to dinner. We can do that with any number of people.

One of the groups I belong to is informal and we schedule things six months in advance, so we often know who won’t be able to come. But life goes on when someone’s having a root canal or entertaining out-of-town friends. We go to the seminar or the exhibit or the tour anyway because, unfortunately, some organizers won’t schedule their events around our personal lives.

There is a problem when we plan on eight and only five show up: the tour price may go up. So let me know if you would like to fill in sometime.

It is up to me to put together a dinner (the organizing, not the cooking) for some friends of my other half and their wives. I used to look forward to this, but I know it will take several tries for us to agree on a date. It isn’t the kind of thing we can go ahead with if someone is missing. So I will pick three weekends and find out who can’t come on those dates and go from there. Will you be free or off visiting your second cousins? Or just having a root canal?

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