Here it is, another Wednesday, the one time each week when I get out of the house and head into town for some social activity. I have played pinochle at the local senior center most Wednesday evenings for the past couple of years, and while I like to think of myself as a fairly good card player, winning nights over the past several months have tended to be few and far between. Yes, there is a certain level of skill involved in the game of pinochle, but the particular cards which one is dealt also play a significant role in success - and I have been suffering through some really rotten hands of late. And on those rare occasions when I did receive a good hand of cards, people on the opposing team seemed to have drawn even better cards.
The official games are from five until eight p.m., but "practice" games are being played as people drift in from about 3:30 p.m. onward. One popular belief on game night is that if you do well in the practice rounds, you can expect to do poorly once the "real" games begin. Last week I was on fire in the practice rounds, drawing double aces one hand (100 points) and a double run in another hand (150 points). I knew by the time the actual games started that I should just pack up and go home.
We draw for partners every week, which sometimes results in a good fit across the table, and sometimes not. The past two weeks I have drawn the same partner, and with her my luck began changing for the better. That partner is an older woman who has a son my age. She and I had a great night the week before last - winning more games than we lost - and last week we "shot the moon" - a local term for winning every game that we played. Not only that, but I somehow managed to draw double aces again - the second time that evening.
As I left the senior center and drove home, I did so with a feeling of confidence that with the way my luck had run all night, this would be the evening that I would finally win the Missouri Lotto's top prize - estimated at three million dollars for that night!
That turned out to be a bridge too far.