You can teach an old dog some new tricks

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By LEE SCOTT

My friend Ellen sent out an email about a bridge class starting in January at the Beaufort County Department of Aging building over in Port Royal.

This sparked an interest because I love to play cards and my family used to play games like crazy eights, spades, and gin rummy when I was young. My parents were big bridge players back then, and I decided to see what this game was all about and what I was missing.

When I mentioned to my friends, Cindy and Nancy, that I had signed up, they decided to do it too.

Although my initial image of playing bridge at the Senior Citizen Center conjured up images of blue-haired ladies in house dresses, it was quickly dispelled.

Instead, when we arrived at the center, there were healthy active seniors sitting at the tables ready to plunge into a new world.

We were told that bridge and other new activities are highly recommended for older adults to keep their minds sharp. And I was pleasantly surprised to hear that Martina Navratilova and Bill Gates (my contemporaries) also play the game.

When we started our class, we found that like any new game or sport, you must learn the lingo. Everything from golf to football requires a knowledge of both the terminology and the rules. Words like trick, trump, contract, bid, and auction all took on new meanings for me as they relate to a bridge game.

I learned that a “trick” was when each of the four players put out a card. My goal was to win a “trick.” The learning just piled on from there. After the first class, I brought my index cards filled with definitions and concepts.

It wasn’t long before I started throwing out words like defender, declarer, dummy and responder, like I knew what I was talking about and had been using the words forever.

Our two-hour class, held every Monday for 10 weeks, seems to fly by each time. And fortunately, the two teachers we have are extremely patient with their students. They even provide treats for us like iced tea and cookies.

Now my friends and I have set up our own study group and have been going through the quizzes at the end of the chapters. Who knew that a simple card game was going to require so much work?

But the more I have gotten into it, the more I have enjoyed it.

When I told my 12-year-old granddaughter about the class and the textbooks and the study sessions, she asked, “Why have you voluntarily taken this on?”

I responded, “Because my dear, it is nice to know that you can teach an old dog new tricks.”

Lee Scott, a writer and recent retiree, shares her everyday observations about life after career. A former commercial banker responsible for helping her clients to reach their business objectives, Scott now translates those analytical skills to her writings. She lives on St. Helena Island and enjoys boating, traveling and reading.