It’s a long way from Tunica, Mississippi, to Delaware – in distance and otherwise. I don’t mean that as a jab at either place. They’re just very different in many aspects.
On the other hand, when it comes to bridge players, especially those who fancy duplicate, they’re very much alike wherever you go. So I was looking forward to a return to the East Coast.
That part of the U.S. – the East Coast, that is – was my stomping ground before I dropped out of bridge for a time, so it wasn’t as though I was heading for a place I knew nothing about.
Delaware motto, as many of you may be aware, is known as the First State because that colony was the first to ratify the constitution after we had won our independence from England. It happened in 1787.
Since my return to the game, I’ve tried to get current on who’s who in the bridge world, so I have spent some time going through old issues of the Bridge Bulletin and the Daily Bulletins from the NABCs.
One name that kept coming up was a very interesting player from Delaware, a guy by the name of Dave Treadwell. I asked about him at ACBL Headquarters, and everyone told me he’s a great guy (he tells jokes that are so bad they’re good, if you get my meaning). I’m told Dave doesn’t go to many tournaments any more, but he does play at clubs a lot. I didn’t have a chance to meet him on my trip, but next time I go back, I’ll try to find him.
On my arrival in Delaware, I couldn’t help noticing one thing: water. It was coming down from the sky virtually the entire time I was there. The local newspaper had banner headlines on the front page about the “Nor’easter” battering the area. It was raining so hard at times the water was coming at us sideways, with the wind blowing steadily at 35-40 miles an hour.
Roads were flooded, but that didn’t stop my group – about 40 people – from heading for a tournament in Ocean View. The event was the District 4 North American Pairs Flight C final. My hostess, Dini Romito, told me that her Shuffles Bridge Club has had overall winners in the competition the last couple of years, so her players were determined to get to the event and defend their honor. Well, I can relate to that, so I was honored that they included me in the adventure.
I was very flattered when we arrived at the venue to see that someone had made likenesses of me. Just the face was bigger than I am, but the images were mounted on sticks like masks. It was very impressive.
I waited through the two sessions of the event to see how the Shuffles players did – and it was worth it. One Shuffles pair – Mary Boyd and Peter Harris – came in first overall. Third overall – good enough to earn a trip to Reno for the NAP final – were twin sisters Linda Regan and Laurie Shelton. They were ecstatic, and I must say I was excited, too.
Before we left, Dini called the authorities to see if a bridge that had been closed earlier might have reopened. It was open again, but they didn’t know for how long, so we took off right away.
We rested for a day before Dini told me she was taking about 20 of her students to the Ocean City Regional. It was there that I met Millard Nachtwey, who I was told is one of ACBL’s top tournament directors. Dini was very grateful to him for “taking great care” of her new players.
Just as I was ready to leave, it finally stopped raining. Nothing, of course, could have dampened my enjoyment of the trip. I will always have fond memories of Dini and her gang. Below are a couple more photos of my new friends from Delaware.