Unit 254 San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico

Greetings San Miguel Bridge Players

The last eighteen months have seen a big change in our favorite pastime. Face-to-face bridge play halted under the threat of transmission of covid and many of us turned to online bridge. San Miguel’s very own virtual club has provided an opportunity for people who knew each other to renew acquaintance over the virtual table through the framework of Bridge Base Online and the tireless efforts of Phyllis Culp, who produced and directed the San Miguel virtual game for three sessions a week and for 18 months.  It was an immense job and Phyllis has now retired. We all owe her a large debt of thanks.

As the pandemic eased, face-to-face play has now resumed at the Hotel Arcada under the auspices of The Bridge Studio. In addition to adhering to ACBL’s guidance for in-person games, The Bridge Studio carefully monitors the city’s requirements for public gatherings. Proof of full vaccination is required. While masks are optional, we ask that the other players comply with the request if a player wishes the table to be masked.

The online game continues, same days (Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays) at San Miguel’s 10:30 AM, supplementing the face-to-face game on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 1:30 PM. In this context, note the time change from Daylight Savings to Winter time. Mary Seggerman has taken over managing the online game.

Two years ago there was also an ACBL game at the Bordello but, as of this writing there is only a Wednesday morning gathering there for fun bridge plus some instruction. If ACBL Bridge at the Bordello re-groups, we’ll update the site accordingly.

This web site is being refurbished to serve as the single site for bridge matters relating to San Miguel. Game results, which used to be accessed through smabridge.com, are now provided by ACBL Live for Clubs. To get your own results, see the sidebar under The Bridge Studio. Click on Game Results.

A survey has been sent to all participants in San Miguel live or virtual bridge, to elicit the preferences of the community at large. Some topics covered are whether non-residents will be coming back to their home away from home here, and whether the location and timing of games meets players’ desires.

Units, not clubs, host ACBL sectional tournaments. Our Unit has submitted a request to ACBL to hold our usual winter sectional tournament on Friday, January28, through January 30th. Sectionals are a great way to get lots of points, including silver points. We’ll update this message when we hear back from ACBL.

We hope to welcome all of you to the bridge tables in San Miguel!

Barbara Poole

Unabridged

Kathy Snodgrass

Barbe Poole came to San Miguel and bridge thanks to a ruined California Thanksgiving and a mother’s vow. Unable to find a plumber to fix a major disaster, Barbe’s family headed toHome Depot where they knew they’d find men looking for work. There may have been a plumber in the lot, but no one in Barbe’s family could communicate in the one crucial language, Spanish. Fearing lightning might strike twice, Barbe’s mother promised to give $1000 to anyone in the family who would learn Spanish.

A painter, as well as a school psychologist, Barbe came to San Miguel in 1994 to study painting and Spanish–and collect that $1000. Not surprisingly, she fell in love with the city and visited as often as she could. Back in California, post-retirement, she started an art gallery. At one opening she recognized a woman’s laughter. Five years earlier she had stayed at this woman’s house in San Miguel–a house, she now learned, that was for sale. Soon after, armed with the house key and a bag full of money, she flew down to see if she and the house were a fit. Serendipity struck yet again: arriving in San Miguel in an airport taxi, she asked directions of the first gringa she saw, who not only knew the house but also had been on the verge of buying–until she discovered that the neighbors’ bombardment of noise rattled the windows.

Within two weeks Barbe bought the run-down Bordello–”the floor was so slanted you could roll an egg down its length”– and started renovating. No sooner did she hand over her bag of money than the Mexican government enacted a law that meant she had to stay put for five years. She was permitted to leave the country only 29 days out of the years, which meant her family paid regular visits. Serendipity struck yet again. Her mother, an avid bridge player, returned from bridge at Gary Mitchell’s house raving about her day and urged Barbe to take lessons. She did, and played first with Jean Schickle’s group and, later, with the “big guys” at the Bridge Studio, which then held games at the Hotel Real de Minas. She remembers feeling like a kid summoned to the principal’s office the first time the director was called to her table.

Bordello Bridge was born roughly ten years ago when she invited Phyllis Culp to direct charity games at the hotel. Mexican women’s education is something she values highly, so Mujeres en Cambio was the first charitable organization that benefited, followed by Jovenes Adelante.

At the close of our conversation, Barbe said, “I love bridge. I use it as meditation from the frenetic things going on constantly. It takes me away from things, things, things.”