Fun and Games

Mah-jongg TilesYou say you go to a restaurant to eat?

How very single purpose of you.

Because, should you wander into Charly’s Place on a Friday afternoon, Casa de Don Juan on a Tuesday evening, Mongolian Grill on the second Wednesday of the month, Oceana Grill on the third…. you’ll encounter folks who have more on their agendas than a satisfying meal.

These folks are Gamers.  Through your grandsons, you may be familiar with “gamers” as youngsters with their eyes glued to a screen and fingers glued to a joystick playing online computer games.  That’s not what we’re talking about here.  These are folks, getting together IRL (that’s internet-speak for “in real life”), to play a fun game and enjoy each other’s company.  Sometimes there’s a little money involved.  Sometimes it’s for a good cause.

The games are mahjongg, bunco, bingo, bridge, poker, hand and foot, horseshoes… and probably more that I just don’t know about.  So if you’ve been finding yourself with a little too much time on your hands, you have options.

I can tell you about the “mah-jongg girls” because I’m one of them. Mah-jongg is an ancient Chinese game, still very popular throughout Asia and also with a following (largely among women) in the U.S.  It’s played with tiles, somewhat like dominoes, based on Chinese characters and symbols.  Through a combination of luck, skill and strategy, players try to make hands, similar to rummy, until they make a complete hand or “mah-jongg.”  Each hand is worth a stipulated value (we’re talking 25¢ usually) and the winner collects that bounty from the other players.  We play for a couple of hours, starting in the late afternoon, and then enjoy dinner in our host restaurant.  A good time is had by all… and no one can go broke (or get rich) on the 25 cent per hand “gamble” involved.

Every couple of months, the Friends of the Library host a charity poker tournament at Club Marena – all proceeds going to buy books and improve the facilities of the local libraries.  Monthly, the Flying Samaritans sponsor a bingo game with all proceeds supporting the Saturday free medical clinics they run for local under served Rosaritenses.

There are at least two weekly duplicate bridge games.  I’m a frequent participant in those, which are both friendly and sanctioned by ACBL… so you can earn a few master points if you have success.  I’ve heard that folks play Hand and Foot at the Footprinters Club.  I know they play Bunco at Mongolian Grill.  Those games are still a mystery to me…. but maybe I should get out more and discover some fun that I’ve been missing.

About Susan Shea

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