Pearl Schechter, formerly of Kinston, celebrated her 100th birthday last week. She is still playing bridge and playing it very well. Happy birthday, Pearl. A lovely lady and a smart one, too.

Pearl is the fourth local bridge player in my memory to reach the age of 100.

Dottie Rawl reached this milestone last month.

Two others were Mrs. Eva Wilkins, Kenneth’s mother, and Eileen Thornton, Sterling’s mother. Both of these women played the game until the end of their lives. Eileen often paired with Libba Sutton who anticipated her partner’s jump to three no-trump and always just smiled and rolled her eyes. Eileen was blind, but she could just make out her own cards. Players would call their cards as they played them.

Mrs. Eva would do all sorts of things at the table. Many times son Kenneth said, “Mama, you can’t do that.”

Mrs. Eva retorted, “Well, I certainly can and I just did.”

Studies have shown that playing bridge keeps the mind sharp. These four women are good examples of that.

Sue Woodyard came to observe the game Monday in preparation for playing in the novice game next week. It’s a good idea to get the lay of the land before playing for the first time. Just to see how the game works.

The novice game, scheduled for Thursday is shaping up. We have about seven or eight tables.

Dayle Pond and Tempie Pierce of Kinston graciously offered to mentor a couple of bridge students.

This game offers a chance for beginner and intermediate students who have not yet ventured to the game, to experience duplicate bridge and to learn from a seasoned partner.

Of course the mentors will learn, too. As a teacher, I always learn more than I teach.

We had a little excitement Monday. As we were beginning to play the first board of the third round, everyone’s phone started buzzing and dinging, and we realized that there was a weather alert. Immediately, the director of the senior center came on the intercom and announced that we needed to take cover in the bathrooms. So we all filed out of the big room and headed for the restrooms, some people with their cards in hand, some with their phones, others with their walkers.

We stayed in there for about 30 minutes, visiting and catching up with each other. The acoustics were pretty bad in there, and several times, we had to be shushed.

At one point, someone in authority said, “If anyone needs to sit down, just let me know.” We looked around and realized that there were about 10 “johnnies” as Mama used to call them, so we figured they would do in a pinch.

After the all clear was sounded, we returned to the tables and tried to remember what the bid was, who declarer was and whose lead it was.

Tommy Franklin directed the game with his usual sense of humor, and we were only a half hour later than usual finishing.

Nero doesn’t have anything on us. Wasn’t he the Roman emperor who fiddled while Rome burned?

Well, we played bridge while Wayne County was under a tornado warning and nobody even checked on the damage when play resumed. You can’t keep a bridge player from his game for long. Another story about that next week.

Players are thinking about Peggy Seegars and missing her at the table. Also, we are thinking of Madelyn Percise, who underwent major dental surgery Monday.

Thursday’s winners: N/S first, Dayle Pond and Tempie Pierce; second, Anne Michaux and Lew Rose; third, Tommy Franklin and Joe Exum. C — first, Bill Allgaier and Ed Wilson.

E/W first, Billy Bizzell and Sue Wilson; second, Sherry Owens and Linda Greenwood; third, Kitty Sauls and Barbara Ann Vinson. C — first, Bill Warren and Al Takemoto.

Monday’s results: first, Al Takemoto and Selby Corbett; second, Sherry Owens and Shelby Bizzell; third, Pat Keim and Linda Greenwood; fourth, Billy Bizzell and Sue Wilson. B — second, Anne Michaux and Lew Rose; third, Tommy Franklin and Barbara Ann Vinson. C — second, Bill Allgaier and Ed Wilson.