Since I’ve been back, I’ve been learning all kinds of new words and phrases that didn’t exist back in my day. Even the term buzz word, which I guess is what I’m referring to, is new to me.
Anyway, in my travels around North America, I’ve learned about things like jet lag, blogs, text messages, androids for phones (!?!) and, although it’s not really a new term, culture shock.
I discovered what the latter term really meant when I arrived in Texas after visiting Delaware on my trip from one end of the continent to the other (I’ll get to the part about San Diego in another message). Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying that any of it was bad. To talk like a Texan, the whole adventure has been a hoot!
But there’s a big difference between Delaware, a pretty small state way back East, and the wide open spaces of Texas. I’m telling you, everything – and I mean everything! – in Texas is BIG. Know what I mean, Pardner? (I like to get in the spirit of wherever I’m visiting, you know).
Just consider the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, where I landed on my way to Arlington, a suburb of Dallas. I thought I was never going to get out of that place. And the traffic – Holy Alamo! – I thought it was rough in Atlanta (it is). I’ve never seen so many pickup trucks in my life. I’m glad I wasn’t driving. The warm weather was a very pleasant change from Delaware, though.
One of the first to greet me in Arlington was game director Dee Berg, who was celebrating her birthday. She is typical of just about every person I met in Texas – very friendly.
They also like to chow down with gusto in the Lone Star State, so it’s a good thing the Arlington Duplicate Bridge Club has Helen Nelson, who had prepared dinner for the club for their weekly TGIF (Thank Goodness It’s Food, Fun, and Friday) game.
I enjoyed meeting David Adams, one of the club’s newest Life Masters. His partner for the TGIF game was Diane Quin, who is one of the nice ladies who takes a turn cooking for the TGIF games. Rumor has it that Diane is a gourmet cook. Perhaps I visited the wrong week, although Helen’s chicken and rice was quite tasty and the blackberry cobbler disappeared quickly.
On Saturday, the club held their annual game honoring their members who are veterans. I got to join the veterans who played for free in this event.
What a pleasure it was to meet another veteran, Bill White! He is a legend at the home office as he always sends each month’s masterpoint count in on the first of each month. He also keeps a record of the funds that need to be sent to ACBL from each game and is always prompt with that. On top of all that, I learned that Bill is the club’s webmaster, and I must admit that the web site is the nicest, most colorful one I’ve seen. Take a look at it at http://www.d16acbl.org/U176/ABC/adbc.htm
You probably know that there are quite a few rather large cities in and around Dallas, including Fort Worth. For that matter, Arlington isn’t exactly a burg.
Anyway, I found out something about Fort Worth when I kept hearing all these people talking about purple frogs. Never heard of such a thing, much less seen one. Then I discovered that they are all nuts about the Texas Christian University Horned Frogs, whose school color is purple. Everybody kept talking about the TCU football team being unbeaten and playing in a big bowl game. It seems like many bridge players are keen sports fans. Just part of being competitive, I guess.
While I was there, I visited Ranger Stadium, which is in Arlington. Right across the street is Texas Stadium, new home of the Dallas Cowboys. What a palace! I heard it cost more than $1 billion. Wow! When I went to visit, the stadium was hosting area high school teams in playoffs. It’s the largest stadium ever – Texas size for sure! You wouldn’t believe the size of the television screen in there. I found out that the big stadium has a hole in the roof because the structure wouldn’t support a full roof (not the mention that money was getting tight at that point). The situation prompted one of the Cowboys players to say, “Texas Stadium has a hole in its roof so God can watch His favorite team play.” All I can say is that Texas is the place for a stadium like that.
After a day of rest, I returned to the club to join the Easybridge! game run by Tom and Dorothy Moore. There was so much laughter and conversation in the room, if I hadn’t seen the cards I wouldn’t have been sure they were playing duplicate bridge.
All throughout my visit, there were photographers following me around, taking shots so I could share them with you. I didn’t have a chance to get a photo of all of them because they were always so busy. The photographers were Marty Schwartz, a chemistry professor at North Texas University; Tom and Dorothy Moore, who took shots at the TGIF, and Mary Ellen Stanton, who snapped most of the Saturday shots. Mary Ellen is the club’s computer guru.
It was a whirlwind tour of Texas, but I’m really glad I went, even though I was so tired at the end I felt I could really relate to something I read about one of those cowpokes, who said at the end of a long day, “I feel like I been rode hard and put up wet.”
There are, Pardner. Head ‘em up . . . move ‘em out! See you in San Diego.