Bridges and Bridge

This past weekend, we had some friends in town visiting from Michigan, and had an excellent weekend with them.  We’d taught them bridge when we all lived in Chicago, and had a standing weekly dinner where one or the other of us would provide dinner and cards, and we’d play bridge all evening long.  Since we moved away six years ago, neither couple has been able to find regular bridge partners, so we relish every opportunity to get together and play some hands.

So after they arrived on Friday night and we had a simple dinner (green mashed potatoes, modified – more chard, plus some bacon and chicken), we settled in for a few hands that turned into quite a lot of hands; I think we ended after 11, or 2am their time.

Then after breakfast and a walk on Saturday morning, we came back home and dealt out the cards, playing through their daughter’s nap, our lunch, and hers.

Tremendous fun though it was, we eventually realized we should maybe actually follow through on our plan to show them a little of Portland, and left the house.  When we arrived in the center of Bridge City, we parked near Powell’s (a must-visit for any readers or book lovers from out of town) and spent a very brief time there, although it’s all relative with Powell’s.  It fills a full block, 4 stories high, and would be very easy to spend many hours touring; I think we were there for about one.  Then we walked through the Pearl district …

… and headed toward the river …

… observing (and deciding against) the line at Voodoo donuts, and strolling through the Saturday Market and by the park’s Japanese-American Historical Plaza.

Then after a stroll back to the car, we headed back home, picked up Indian takeout for dinner, and settled in for – we may have been a wee bit predictable – more Bridge.

I will admit that we played a few rounds of Bananagrams (also quite fun!) but neglected all of our other favorite games (like Settlers of Catan) in favor of the one for which all four of us are starved of playing companions.

P.S.  Do you know anyone in or near Portland who’s looking for bridge partners, or might be willing to learn?  We imagine there are plenty of bridge players in the area, but most of them are older folks and have already-established playing companions….

(Best case scenario: we manage to turn Bridge into the hot new Portland activity.  I think it could work.)


4 thoughts on “Bridges and Bridge

  1. “We played thru her daughter’s nap” is the phrase that caught MY eye!! I must therefore assume you two couples are, say, in your 40s?? I’m this nonagenarian with a quirky cause — I want just the kind of bridge you-all play (I call it “sociable bridge”) to survive after all the old-lady bridge players like me are dead and gone. Please — subscribe to my blog at http:p// and add your comments and recommendations as to WHAT the ACBL and bridge establishment could do to interet more people like YOU to learn to play bridge! I have many opinions on that topic–I actually think the ACBL sometimes almost turns people off to bridge rather than turns them on–but we need the views of a younger demographic!

    As for you-all — have you tried Meet-Up?? I have blogged about Meet-Up on occasion and have also seen Meet-up success stories (via the Google Alert I have for “play bridge”–which is also how your posting came to my attention).

    Take some time to read my archives–up until a few months ago, a struggle to get attention. Since a lucky break (article in Wall Street Journal about me) I DO GET RESPECT these days from the bridge establishment. So if you contribute, very good chance your views will reach the ears of people at top of establishment who ARE on our wavelength. The key (my essential message) to growth of bridge amongs younger people (under 55) is to learn from what Ely Culbertson did back in the 20s–he targeted potential “sociable” players, who see bridge as a great and fun way to make friends and enjoy a cheap way to entertain. Whereas almost entire focus of ACBL is on duplicate players and earning masters points!

    Sorry to rattle on — I may be old, but I type fast!

    • Thanks so much for your reply – and for the link to your site. I’ll definitely check it out.

      You have us pretty much nailed as bridge players, except that my husband and I are 29 and our friends 30; John’s parents taught him and his brothers when they were young, he passed it to me, and together we passed it to our friends. We love the thought of bridge making a comeback with younger people, exactly as you say – as a fun, cheap, sociable activity, but of course hardly anyone our age plays.

      I think the main barrier to more people playing is that the learning curve is very steep, and learning to play is probably close to impossible without at least one knowledgable person at the table. I have an idea for lowering that barrier – but not one I want to post in a public place.

      As for ourselves, we have tried Meetup, but without success (yet) although there are several people who note that they may be interested in a bridge group. Maybe we’ll take the initiative on that one sometime, and set one up…

  2. Hello! Maggie the bridge guru tipped me off to your blog because we have been in touch for quite some time, ever since I wrote an article for the Willamette Week ages ago (1999, I think?) trying to get people excited about learning bridge. I was totally convinced that it would be the next big thing! But I think you are right about the learning curve. Either that or we are just way ahead of our time. Anyway, we learned the game from my grandma about 16 years ago and taught it to our next door neighbors. That was pre-kids, and after a frenzy of multi-generational bridge parties that lasted into our kids’ toddler-hood, we are now sort of on hiatus, though we occasionally break out the decks. If you ever try to organize something, get in touch with us at We live in NE Portland….

    • Hi Amy,
      and thanks for your comment. I’m so glad to hear about other bridge players in Portland – I apologize for taking so long to reply, but we’ve had a very busy couple of weeks here. I would love to get something together, but we’re new in town (10 months) and haven’t met many people yet, so I don’t even know how we’d go about it at this point. But it would be great fun, and something worth working for…


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