The War of Northern Aggression

My mother is into genealogy in a BIG way and has spent the last few years thoroughly researching our family on my grandmother’s side – the Halfacre line. It would make sense if we had some cool people somewhere in the family tree, say, like my friend Mantamy who has an actual SAINT in her line. Not us. The most exciting thing we’ve found so far is two generations in a row where no one married their cousin!

Despite this, a few weeks ago, JD, Moon and I traveled to Tennessee for the Halfacre family reunion. My mom and aunts had planned it for weeks and I was actually excited about seeing everyone, ESPECIALLY my cousins from Michigan. Sure we’ve had different life experiences, and find ourselves on different sides of the political aisle, but we also still manage to enjoy each other’s company and I was sure we could find common ground.

After a fun afternoon of good food and conversation, we were preparing to leave, when a young man walked up and asked if we were coming to the Andrew Halfacre memorial immediately following the reunion. Turns out my great, great, grandfather was in the Civil War and served under Felix Zollicoffer himself! Obviously, we had to go.

My family climbed in the truck with my mom and the cousins from the north said they’d meet us there. As we headed down the tiny back roads, down the gravel lane, through the yard and into the field behind some stranger’s house, I realized I REALLY, REALLY wanted my cousins to find us.

Cause I walked up and saw this –

And this –

And this guy –

Turns out Civil War memorials are hard core historical fun. My cousins arrived just in time to for the commander to lead us all in the Pledge of Allegiance to the American flag, a pledge to the Confederate flag, and to hear a quick history about The War of Northern Aggression which was not about slavery but about the greedy North trying to tax the South to death. Also, Abraham Lincoln beat his wife.

My sweet cousin, Amy, leaned over and whispered, “This is like something out of a MOVIE.”

Amy was a trooper but I’m pretty sure she lip-synched through the Confederate flag pledge. I thought it was great fun, and JD had a blast taking pictures. I know some people would be embarrassed, but not me. I was hanging out with my COUSIN and my husband and they weren’t one and the same.

Baby steps, Kittens, baby steps.

My Evening With A Bridge Professional

Kittens, if there is anything that would tempt me to blog again, you had to know it would be bridge!

So, every Labor Day, two awesome things happen. My in-laws come to town to celebrate JD’s birthday, and there’s a Labor Day Bridge Tournament held at the Ravinia off of 285.  We didn’t want to make JD’s birthday ALL about bridge, so we limited ourselves to one day.

There I was, hanging in the lobby and enjoying a quiet moment between sessions, when an elderly gentleman came and began chatting me up. Now, even by bridge standards, he was kinda odd, but I politely answered his questions, “Yes, I’m enjoying the tournament,” No, I haven’t won a lot of points yet.” That’s when he mentioned he’d been playing with a “client” for $500 bucks a SESSION and had already won 35 points this week. My mother-in-law walked up at that point, and dude introduced himself. I didn’t recognize him by sight, but I sure recognized the name. He has an actual convention named after him! Then he said, “I’ll tell you what. If you want to play one of the midnight games this weekend, I’ll play with you for free.”

This was a serious dilemma. A.) Playing with a bridge pro is not something you get to do everyday, but B) I wasn’t staying at the hotel and driving 45 minutes at midnight to play with someone way out of my league to surely C) suffer massive humiliations was not an attractive offer. Plus, he mentioned it was a “Zip Knockout” which meant I’d be playing on a team, and if we lost the first round we would be “knocked out” of the game. PRESSURE.

So I did what any normal person would do, I told him I’d think about it. Bridge Pro Dude gave me his card, wrote his cell phone number on the back, told me to call and let him know, introduced me to someone on his team and told THEM he’d found a partner, then bid me farewell, while maybe, accidentally patting me on the BUTT!

I know what you’re thinking, my butt IS hard to miss. Just the other night we went to dinner and I was in the backseat middle. Neither person on each side of me could see their seat-belt latch because I was sitting on them BOTH.

Anyway, I went home and stewed about it. JD said it was a chance of a lifetime, my bridge ladies told me to go for it, and so with fear and trembling, I called his cell phone and left a message that playing with a Bridge Legend was too good to be missed and I would see him Saturday night at midnight! Then. I. Freaked.

I spent the next 36 hours asking my in-laws what to do in every conceivable bridge situation, googleing and studying his stupid, convoluted convention, napping so I’d be awake enough at midnight, and generally losing my mind. Finally, at 11 o’clock at night, I left my comfortable home and drove 45 minutes to the tournament. To say I was nervous is an understatement. I get nervous playing with people who have 300 points. Bridge Pro Dude has TWENTY-FIVE THOUSAND points. My face actually broke out during the drive!

Bravely, I entered the lobby where tons of people milled about (free buffet!) until I spotted him. Here’s the thing – I approach bridge one of two ways – either I’m serious and in-it-to-win-it, or I’m the happy girl, determined to be the nicest person you’ll ever meet. I usually reserve the 2nd one for when I’m playing with a particularly mean partner, but I thought I’d better bring it out for this event. I knew the team would be unhappy with my play, so I was determined to be the brightest, super-personality, friendliest face they’d ever seen. I would be the Honey Boo Boo Child of Bridge! So when I tell you that I bounced over to the pro with my biggest grin looking like I had sunshine in my shorts, please know I was seriously BEAMING.

“Hi Partner, are you ready to play?” Grin.




Dead eyes. Dude had NO IDEA who or what I was talking about.

Me, grin faltering slightly, “Uh, you remember, you asked me to play a midnight session, told me to call, I left you a message?”

Still nothing. Finally he mumbles something like, “The girls usually handle this.”

The GIRLS usually handle this? What. The. Hell. What girls? And what is “this?” Do you mean they usually handle crazy, beaming, bridge stalkers who try to elbow their way onto your team? I didn’t know what he meant, but I knew I did not want to meet these girls! So I started backtracking. “It’s no big deal, I’m totally fine with not playing, don’t worry about!” I was saying anything to get the heck out of that lobby before his team came and looked at me like some kinda wannabe bridge groupie! He pulls a piece of paper out of his pocket, asked for my email address, says maybe we can play at ANOTHER regional midnight game at some point, or maybe online and he’ll even “pay the dollar.” Awesome. I scribble the information down, then start to leave. That’s when he tells me, “To be honest, I’d rather play with you. It’s nice to see a pretty face across the table, it’s actually a TURN ON,” and he pats me on the butt AGAIN.

That’s when I asked him if he was planning on going to the Augusta regional in October and he said it was a possibility. GOOD. Cause I’m going to the Augusta regional, too.

And I’ll be bringing MY girls this time.

I’m gonna guess it’ll be a lot tougher for a bridge pro to play with 2 broken hands.