Thursday, April 20, 2006

Tuesday's Child

As far back as I can remember, Mama and her girlfriends have met once a week to play cards and eat a big old piece of something wickedly sweet that the hostess had prepared. Tuesday is their designated day for bridge and gab. Back in the day when I was a kid, and much later on, they would gather at somebody's house after the children and spouses were fed to catch up on yaya and sugar. If you ask me, the card game was just an excuse to get out of the house and into the estrogen zone.

Gaga taught my Mama to play bridge back in the forties when she was a young lady in high school. Every southern woman worth a damn knows about cards and how to hold 'em. I was always fascinated by the "dummy" in the game. Two or more tables would be covered with fancy tablecloths and topped with cute little scorepads plus a seasonal decoration. Often there were fresh flowers, a gift that sprang from my Daddy's passion for growing things. In October there were pumpkins and hay. Come November, old Tom Turkey was there in the middle of the bridge tables while the dummy served up dessert. Any of us kids wandering the house were expected to show up and make nice to the bridge ladies. Most of them worked outside the home, and the few that didn't paid their dues by puttin' up with idiotic husbands for the money that allowed them to take it easy by doing only one job. Bridge was about sisterhood that crossed the boundaries of age, work and family. It was girl power personified!

I don't remember exactly when, but the group decided that it was not a good idea to get out and drive at night. The girls began to gather during the day on Tuesday for lunch and a movie or simply to enjoy the company of old friends. Mama has pictures of them through the years on their many trips and adventures. I remember her saving up coins for a couple of years to travel to England with a group of 'em. She brought me back a piece of painted bone china, one of my favorite things in the whole wide world. Every spring and fall one or two of the bravest ones pick up the others and head for Pickwick. When somebody dies, they're the first ones up with a casserole or a visit to the funeral home. They all know what the adult kids turned out to be and who's married and divorced or estranged to who. Their offspring remain connected by the lovely friendship that our Mamas carefully cultivated over the years.

Y'all ready for dessert?