A Bridge of Sisterhood

By Taytum Marler

Most of us give up on our plans. We get too busy, we forget, or simply put something else above our plans. It is just a simple fact, that is why New Year’s resolutions are abandoned by February. Unlike most people, however, there is a group of ladies in Kernersville who have put each other as a priority and stuck together for over 50 years. They have gotten together once a month, every month, since 1972 to play Bridge and fellowship with each other. I had the pleasure of hearing their story at one of their recent meetings.

This bridge club was started by Brenda Hicks and her sister, Shelby Neil, in 1972. Each bridge game has to have eight players; their current group consists of Bobbie Wolfe, Kay Pinnix, Janie Veach, Rexine Bennett, Luray Jordan, Jane Leonard, Brenda Hicks, and Barbara Barrier. A few original members, such as Shelby Neil and Kat Dillon, have since passed away but are forever remembered at each meeting. Having met each other in a local garden club, they all decided to start playing together on Monday nights. Each member (except for Jane Leonard who was out for this meeting) told me in their own way how they “Did not know how to play” when they first started but wanted to learn together. Kay Pinnix specifically recalled, “When we first started, half of us did not know what we were doing, and the other half was just plain patient with us.” You might think that after so many years of consistently playing this game they would be professionals, but according to Bobbie Wolfe, “We are still learning, we have played for 52 years and still cannot play!” Again, each member shared in their own way that these meetings are more about the fellowship they get with each other than learning the exact rules!

When the group started, they played on Monday nights because they knew their husbands would be home watching Monday night football and could take care of their children. A few years ago, however, they moved to Monday afternoons due to some health issues and being unable to drive at night. No matter when the meetings take place, there are always snacks—usually some kind of dessert and sometimes wine! Now, there are two winners in the game of Bridge, a highest and a lowest points winner. Each winner gets a little prize; they started a few years ago simply giving money to the winners, $5 for the high and $3 for the low. A few things that I was able to understand: there are two alternating decks for each table, and there are two tables of four people (two teams of two to each table). After four hands are played then one team from each table moves to the opposite table. Whichever team has the most points (or the least number of points) at the end of those four hands, is the winner! If a member cannot make a meeting, they have “Subs” that fill in; some subs like Rexine Bennett became a permanent member after one of the original members passed away. When I asked why they decided on Bridge as the game they wanted to play, most of the members shared that their mothers and grandmothers would play regularly. It was apparently a very popular game at one time.

Being in a group like this for over 50 years, you really grow up with each other. These ladies shared many stories about being newlyweds with babies when they first began to now having grandchildren. Janie Veach said, “We have kind of lived our lives from being young couples all the way through to today when we are mature.” They really have gone through everything together, the birth of children and grandchildren, the death of parents and spouses, and everything in between. After a little bit, I could tell these ladies were no longer talking to me but reliving those memories with each other. After the majority of these memories were shared, one of the members jokingly remarked, “We have gotten old together, haven’t we girls!” After being friends for so long you tend to do, and share, everything together.

I will be honest; I do not know anything about bridge. I even had it explained to me multiple times and I still could not tell you what was going on. However, I realized very quickly that their bridge club was less about playing bridge and more about sisterhood. They are a support system for each other and have put in the effort to keep that system running for the last 52 years. They have adapted to keep supporting each other; if one member cannot drive to a meeting then another will go pick them up. Each one helps out in the community in some way, and each member tries to support what the others are doing in the community. This is a beautiful story of friendship, community, and support that is truly rare to find these days! Through it all, it seems, they have fun and genuinely care for one another!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *