Sunday, August 9, 2009

Granny May's Way

The game of bridge requires you play in pairs. In the old days, at least, and certainly in the old days in South Africa this meant a husband-wife partnered as a team. Granny May (my maternal grandmother) was a master player who loved the game and played alongside her husband, Alf, until he died when he was thirty-nine; May too wasn't yet in her forties. After my grandfather's passing, May's bridge friends stopped calling her. No husband, no bridge partner. Life can be that cruel.

Crueler still, you might say, was that when someone's partner was ill or away, they would call May and ask her to play, to fill in for the missing player. How many in that situation, myself very much included, might well be inclined to tell them to go jump in the lake (to use a favourite expression of my father's because mine would all include obscenities). May, however, an optimist of a magnitude so high the glass would always have a little something in it, darling (she called everyone darling), would respond to the bridge request - every time - smiling, saying something like, With pleasure, that she'd love to come and play. The result of which, of course, was that any time they needed an extra person May was the first they'd call.

Bridge would continue to be a great source of pleasure in a wonderfully wise and contented woman's life whose legend, twenty years later, proudly lives on.


  1. I love this post and can picture your lovely granny.

  2. That's what we may learn from Granny May -- better being optimistic than noticing the bad aspects.
    I'll try!

  3. That's how I feel too, thinking back on her. That she was lovely to say the least, and that I can always try, though I'm a far, far cry from her level of optimism.


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