070421 human condition (toned)

When a group of my classmates and I played cards during our senior trip in 1969, none of us knew that card games would keep us connected for the next 52 years.

In the early 1970s, when we were college students with little money, we got together on Friday evenings for cards. We started playing after 9 p.m. and ended at 4 a.m. At 4, I would start cleaning the kitchen where we played before my mom woke up at 4:30 and found an empty fridge.

One member of our card group who worked offshore during the summers was our resident expert on the rules of the one card game we played over the years: bourré. We remember the card games during our college days as having large pots, big winners and sad losers.

After graduation, we started our careers, got married, had children and moved from apartments to houses. We always found time to get together over cards and to catch up on what was happening in our lives. It was apparent that we were not playing cards for the money.

Over the years, we lost and gained members of our card group due to relocation. Sadly, four members of our card group have left us for the eternal card game beyond.

As we have aged, we now talk about retirement, health and grandchildren during our card games. We start playing early and end early. Sometimes we finish playing cards before the time we started our card games during college.

One of our teachers from high school, who is a member of our card group, prepares a delicious steak dinner once a year. Another member makes sure we have a great bowl of gumbo for our annual gumbo/card game night.

Last year was a tough one for our group. We played in early March then scheduled and canceled games until we were able to get together in September — our last game in a very challenging year we will not forget.

During this year, all the members of our card group had completed their vaccinations by April.

After three card games, it looks like we are back to getting together and sharing our friendship over cards as we have been doing for the past 52 years.

— Schiro lives in Metairie

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