Beautiful Mary Barrow died last week, leaving another empty space at the bridge table. Mary and her daughter, Mary Beth, were the first pair to sign up for the Christmas party. Mary had not played in a long time, so people were really looking forward to seeing her.

But not long before Christmas, she underwent surgery and never fully recovered, dying on the second day of the new year.

Mary never took herself or the game of bridge too seriously. Her famous dictum “It’s just a GAME,” is often quoted when people start getting bent out of shape over their performance at the table.

Her favorite partner was Alice Crawford, and when Alice moved away, Mary stopped coming to the duplicate game. She loved to play with her daughter, of course, and when Mary Beth was in town, they would come to the game together.

Mary taught fourth grade for many years before she retired, and she enjoyed quilting and crocheting blankets and bedspreads. She had a mean jump shot on the basketball court in high school. Maybe that’s where she got her competitive spirit.

At the bridge table, she would cock her head when her partner bid, nod sagely and finally voice her response.

Everyone enjoyed Mary’s dry sense of humor. She was a delightful lady, and she will be missed.

Pearl Schechter, a player from Kinston who played in Goldsboro often, called me the other night from Chapel Hill, where she has moved to assisted living. She was just checking in to see how all her friends were. In May she will be 100 years old. I asked how much bridge she was playing, and she said three times a week. I asked if she were winning and she modestly said, “Some of the time.”

She also rides a stationary bike for 30 minutes a day and walks outside when the weather is nice. I have never seen Pearl’s hair when it wasn’t perfect. A lovely, lovely lady from whom we could all take lessons.

Another player, Dottie Rawl, will be 100 this spring. She is the sweetest lady alive and a testament to the old saying, “Pretty is as pretty does.” We will look forward to celebrating two birthdays soon.

Last Thursday, we had 7 ½ tables for the game. People were hungry for bridge. And Monday, we were just shy of having enough for a Mitchell movement. After Monday’s game, we replaced the cards, which had gotten sticky and dirty.

We finally wised up and realized that we should replace the cards after we have birthday cake. We enjoyed a beautiful cake celebrating 2019, and sang to Selby Corbett, Sue Wilson, Theria McPhail and Debbie Gray.

All of the games for the rest of the month are Junior Fund games, awarding extra points. Remember there is no game Jan. 21. The senior center will be closed.

Thursday’s scores: N/S first, Billy Bizzell and Sterling Jarrett; second, Bob Meyer and Charlotte Maxwell; third, Mickie Braswell and Sylvia Pritchard.

E/W first, Kaye Langston and Sue Wilson; second, Sherry Owens and Linda Meyer; third, Joyce and Troy Pate. C — third, Linda Watson and Kathy Jones.

Monday’s results: first, Sue Wilson and Sterling Jarrett; second, Tommy Franklin and Barbara Ann Vinson; third, Linda Greenwood and Billy Bizzell; fourth, Al Takemoto and Bill Warren. B — third, Lib Braswell and Linda Watson; fourth, Cathy Howell and Mickie Braswell.