John Wilson: Goren Would Never Have Made That Mistake

Thursday, June 27, 2013 - by John Wilson

My visiting cousin from Atlanta has been walking around our house in a daze.

My wife, who is a bridge fanatic from a family of bridge fanatics, insisted that she learn bridge. 

She's had plenty of practice in trying to drill the intricacies of the ultra-complicated card game into the bedazzled brains of others.

When I was introduced to her mother, she never asked my name. "You play bridge?" she demanded. I mumbled, "Yes mam." Only later did I ask the bride-to-be what exactly bridge was other than a way to get to North Chattanooga.

They were huddled over on a corner table - the hapless cousin who was much more comfortable with Crazy Eights, wedged in between the two bridge icons, getting advice on both sides.

She was told that "clovers" are actually "clubs" and "shovels" definitely must be called "spades".

"Get in your trumps," she was cautioned. 

"Don't ever lead a seven of diamonds in that situation," came from the other side.

"You should have known there were only two hearts still out" - from both.

One thundered, "Never, ever bid when you've got a Yarbrough." Apparently, Yarbrough was some Englishman from long ago with incredibly bad luck at cards. When he got dealt a card higher than a six, he was thrilled.

She was warned about the "unprincipled honor" (also known as an "unguarded honor") - said to occur when you only have one card in a suit and it's a big one but not quite big enough. We can always tell when my wife has an unprincipled honor because she lets out a little grunt of disgust.

The relative was told that aces count four and a "void" is a godsend.

The poor girl heard the other side got 500 points "for the insult," and she could not remember saying a derogatory word.

She was advised that when you bid three it really means nine. I could see her head spinning.

The unfortunate cousin was pretty battered and bruised and seeking any excuse to get out the door and back to her hotel when they did it. She had an exceptionally good hand and they put her in "Deadwood" (also known as "Blackwood").

"Ask for aces," they whispered. When she did just that, they said, "No, no, say four no trump."

Then, "Ask for kings" (without saying the actual words, of course). She was even more confused. There was nothing like this in Old Maid.

Once when they called her "the dummy," she seemed to take offense.

When one of the women gleefully said to the other, "I just cut off your leg," she peeked under the table for the sight of blood. 

Through the ordeal, never was she advised of any of the fun part of bridge, such as how to set up a Yarbrough hand for a player stepped out to the bathroom.

Or the contest to see how many times you can pass the just-finished hand to a distracted person on your right to see if they will "make" them before they finally figure out the trick.

But it was not nearly enough to overcome the sudden barrage of bridge dos and don'ts.

For several hours afterward, I could hear her wandering around the house, intermittently saying "Two No Trump," "I Renege," "Goren would never have played it that way," . . .      






TDOT Celebrates 100 Years Of Transportation

The Tennessee Department of Transportation’s year-long celebration of its centennial culminated today with the burial of a time capsule and installation of a granite memorial at Bicentennial Mall.  The granite memorial is located at the north end of the Bicentennial Mall, and pays tribute to 100 years of transportation in Tennessee. It was designed by Tuck Hinton Architects, ... (click for more)

Weekly Road Construction Report

Here is the weekly road construction report for Hamilton County: South Crest Road Bridge repair project over I-24 (between MM 182.3 – 182.4) and East Main Street (Mid-State Construction Co, Inc.):  Work on this major bridge repair project on the South Crest Road Bridge over I-24 and East Main Street in Chattanooga continues. During the project, the bridge itself is closed, ... (click for more)

Work Set To Restart On Chickamauga Lock This Year

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers allocated $3 million that Congress provided for fiscal year 2015 to restart construction on Chickamauga Lock this year, Senator Lamar Alexander and Rep. Chuck Fleischmann announced. “We need to replace Chickamauga Lock before it fails, and I talked with Secretary Darcy today to thank her for making this project a priority by deciding to restart ... (click for more)

Boyd Asks Coppinger For Public Apology; Does Not Get One

County Commissioner Tim Boyd on Wednesday morning read a letter in which he asked County Mayor Jim Coppinger for a public apology. However, he did not get one. Instead, County Mayor Coppinger called remarks last Wednesday by Commissioner Boyd that the county mayor had $4.4 million in discretionary funds "ridiculous." He said that money includes such items as the Humane Educational ... (click for more)

Police Need To Stop The Road Cowboys - And Response

Where is our highway patrol?  If they were known to regularly patrol our interstate highways through our city I don't think it would take long before the "truckers" were aware of it.  There are places in our country where this is the case.   When I have traveled Interstates 24 and 75 I may see the occasional car pulled over but rarely if ever is it an 18-wheeler. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Never Disturb The Dead

I’ve got too many things in my life that scare me so I’ve always been real leery of “unnecessary fear.” A guy named Terry wanted to teach me how to catch a live rattlesnake one time but had a tough time telling me what exactly to do with the angry serpent when the time came to let it go. I have the same view of these paranormal societies where otherwise sane people go around looking ... (click for more)