Oct. 7, 2021
While growing up (if you can imagine), we never played with cards. The first card game I learned was bridge, while serving in the Peace Corps, after college. In the book locker supplied by the Peace Corps was a copy of Charles Gorenís Contract Bridge for Beginners. When a few Americans gathered (fellow PC Volunteers, the American Consulate, etc.), there was often a game I could enter. When I returned and got married, Beth and I would occasionally join in a party bridge game, increasingly as the years passed.
When we retired, we made a survey of Senior Centers in the area, and started regularly to visit the Apple Valley Senior Center, which hosted a weekly duplicate bridge game, which I eventually came to direct. One day when returning from singing in the chorus at the Center, Beth said that there was a new member whom I should meet, since he played bridge, and she thought we would get along. So began my partnership with Gene Brandl.
After playing a few sessions at a different Senior Center, Gene convinced me that we should go to an ACBL-sanctioned club. Thus, I earned my first Master Points in March, 2008. When Gene renewed his membership, he regained a bunch of points he had earned 40 years earlier while playing with his mother, who taught bridge and ran a club in St. Cloud.
After a few months in the limited game in Minneapolis, we ventured into the open game, and then tried out a couple sessions in a tournament. By then, we were hooked, played regularly, and at any tournament within driving distance, gradually stretching our mileage limits. We were fortunate enough to get some subsidies from regional NAP and GNT tournaments to go to a few Nationals. For several years, depending on vacations and extra-curricular partners, we traded first and second place in the unit Mini-McKenny races.
I cannot imagine a more compatible partner. Our styles usually mesh, we come to quick agreements on conventions we should try out, and we can travel for hours in the confines of a car, as comfortable with long silences as with long conversations. In our 13 years of close partnership, there have been just two incidents of personality tension, caused by lack of awareness of potential reactions, which were quickly resolved.
Perhaps as we go forward on our journey, more people will be able to remember which one of us is which.
D. L. Swanson, 2021