06:39 26 Nov 2014 Elk Point, South Dakota USA by GS Jade Barrett; CsbNews.org correspondent
“Thanksgiving is one of my favorite days of the year because it reminds us to give thanks and to count our blessings. Suddenly, so many things become so little when we realize how blessed and lucky we are” – Joyce Giraud
“We should look for someone to eat and drink with before looking for something to eat and drink” – Epicurus
The USA Thanksgiving holiday season is upon us and the Great American Bridge Tour finds itself following its traditions – at the North American Bridge Championships (NABC).
For most young people growing up in the States, Thanksgiving is about having a few extra days off from school, watching football, and in the company of a vast multitude of family and friends consuming a truly enormous feast that varies wildly in the quality of its preparation. Fortunately, my personal experience included living in a house with an excellent cook.
Our home was different than most – though in years gone by there certainly were other households that shared our passion – for a major part of the day was a small bridge tournament of three to four tables. A good part of the reason we had such a crowd at our house was that we had enough space that we could start playing before having to clean up the remnants of the Thanksgiving feast. Partnerships were determined by random draw (perhaps only in theory, for I do not recall my parents playing together on this special day), and you could always see the effort to not react negatively if your appointed partner was one of the children. After all, we are members of a group who are both thankful AND competitive.
In an odd way this tradition continues for my family as we have not missed a Thanksgiving NABC since 1989. We still gather together, eat a tremendous amount of food that varies wildly in its quality of preparation, watch football and play bridge – just with a significantly greater number of people about.
While I make the attempt to frequently express gratitude for the conditions of our lives, the Thanksgiving time especially narrows that focus, and the extra effort to greet all those who contribute to our quality of life comes more easily. Sharing their company over food and libation makes the holiday all the more joyous.
It comes to mind that all tournaments take the form of this special season – the fellowship of the bridge population as a whole gathering together to celebrate the game that is so much a part of our lives – even for those who participate less frequently. This communion of people, full of life, hope, genius, humor and ferocious competitive drive creates an environment where every day can be a wondrous experience – even when I lose.