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By Jean Brown
For The Salisbury Post
There is a saying: “If you have one good friend, you are a lucky person.”
More than 50 years ago, several young ladies decided that they wanted to start a canasta card club and invite some of their friends over to learn how to play the game. Back then, we were in the early marriage stage and were spending much of our time raising our families. Planning a night out with the girls sounded like a wonderful time.
As time went by, a few girls would leave the club to move to another city or state and then return at their retirement back to Salisbury and Rowan County. When an opening in the club was available, they were in line to get the spot.
Several years after the club started, bridge was mentioned. Only a few knew how to play it, so they said they would teach us how. Thus began the Bridge Brunch. We had three tables and met every other Wednesday night, taking turns at our homes. If you happened to be in a family way, you tried to have the baby on Thursday morning or that weekend so you could be back at the club on the next meeting night. Needless to say, some of the husbands were not too excited to be left with a small baby. But they soon learned the ins and outs of changing diapers and feeding them when they cried.
In 1961, a group of the “girls” went to Lutheridge with Jean Rufty to their cabin there. It was wonderful to lie in the sun and talk about where we were going to eat that night.
On special occasions like Christmas, we would invite our husbands to join the girls at the Franklin Community Center in Spencer to party and enjoy good food. We always ha some great games ready to play. Alcoholic beverages were never part of our club parties.
When we had couples parties in our homes, we always invited old members who used to be in our club. We had the opportunity to sit and talk with each other. We felt that our friendship was all we needed (plus refreshments) to have a good time.
Some good stories have surfaced since we discussed putting an article in the Salisbury Post about our club. One night at a member’s home, a small mouse came up the hall and sat and looked at us playing cards. Of course, some girls were alarmed. But two of us jumped up and grabbed a broom. It wasn’t long before the mouse had determined he was not wanted and left in a hurry.
Another time at the same home, one of our members, Jean Rufty, wanted to serve us a special dessert that she had brought. She placed the small bowls at each table and knowing Jean, we all took a curious look at what was in them. We asked what it was and no one would take a guess or a bite. Finally, she broke out laughing and said it was only chocolate-covered ants. We were aware of former tricks she had played on us and we were not taking any chances.
No one tried the delicacy.
When the kids got older, we had an opportunity to plan a beach trip. We took two carloads of girls and headed out. Back then, we all looked good in our swimsuits. We went to Wacamaw Pottery and loaded up with purchases.
On the way home, we were stopped by a patrolman for a car check. The girls in the back seat were loaded up to the ceiling with bags on their laps. When he looked in our window, he shook his head and said, “No need to check you ladies; I can tell where you have been. Have a safe trip home!”
Food was each member’s specialty. Each one tried to surprise the club with the most delicious dessert. One winter night when the weather was supposed to be sleet and snow after midnight, we headed out and as soon as we arrived at the hostess’ home, it started to sleet. Nancy met us at the door and declared, “You can’t leave me with all this food!”
So we all grabbed a plate and some food and sat down and ate it. It probably took us 10-15 minutes and we were on our way home.
Nine of our club members have celebrated their 50th wedding anniversaries. They are Jean and Charlie Rufty, Ann and Troy Kesler, Jim and Jean Brown, Alma and Frank Bumgardner, Ermine and Herman Peeler, Peggy and George Cruse, Peggy Jo and Herman Anderson, Edith and Haynes Sims, and Millie and Johnnie Lentz.
Linda and Buddy Lowman, Nancy and Sonny Lippard, Tzena and Charlie Whicker have many years of marriage; and Barbara and Harold Rufty had 48 years before his death.
We were saddened by the loss of one of our members, Peggy Pless of Spencer.
Our club motto has always been: “If you cannot say something good about a person, don’t say it.”
The Lord has blessed us with special friends who are always there when you need them. Could there be anything in this world that could be more special than a friend who loves you regardless?

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