Games big part of snowbirds winter

snowbird

Carol Baumann provides free Mah Jongg lessons to Walton County Snowbirds.

Special to The Sun
Published: Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 12:22 PM.

Our Paleolithic ancestors knew exactly how to survive snowy winters: Store plenty of bear fat, gather an ample supply of firewood and then while away the winter regaling fellow cave dwellers with tales of the hunt. It is too bad they didn’t know about the Emerald Coast. Instead of listening to stories that palled by New Year’s Day, they could have become snowbirds like their descendants who after a round of golf prefer to dine on succulent treats caught fresh daily in the Gulf of Mexico and devote their evenings to a rousing game of euchre, Mah Jongg, or bridge.

Some 950 of those descendants have to date gathered at Faith Assembly Fellowship Hall located at 306 South Geronimo Street in Miramar Beach to join the Walton County Snowbirds. New arrivals may enroll from 8:30-10:30 a.m. any Monday or at a general meeting, the next of which is scheduled to occur at 10 a.m. Feb.13 at the Destin United Methodist Church, 200 Beach Drive. New arrivals take note: Snowshoes not allowed in the registration hall. The singles group will lunch after the general meeting. Call Lillie Radmer at 654-6706 for the location.

How in the heck do you spell Mahjongg? For some it is Maj Jongg, others prefer Mah Jongg, and still others leave out the space between Mah and Jongg. Rules vary, too, all over the map. Just the same, the game has adherents — by the ton. Around these parts, we spell it Mah Jongg. Members of the Walton County Snowbirds, gather weekly at 1 p.m. Thursdays at the Seascape Conference Center to test their skill in a game that has some of the characteristics of the western card game rummy. Some claim Mah Jongg traces back 2,500 years. It involves a combination of chance, skill, sneakiness (players call it ‘strategy’) and calculation. Snowbirds interested in learning more may do so by contacting Carol Baumann at cgcmbaum@gmail.com.

Soon after the Mah Jongg tiles get cleared away, the euchre players stroll in searching out a table to set up for a fast paced game where strategies are formed and executed in seconds. The game has won great popularity among Midwesterners, especially those from Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and even parts of Ontario. Folks from those regions view with sympathy anyone who lacks an understanding of the finer points of the game that traveled to America from Germany in the 1800s. Paired partners face each other from across the table so that the play of the cards in conventional clockwise order alternates between the two partnerships in the four-player trump game. Bob and Eunice Collins host the game played weekly at 6:30 p.m. Thursdays at the Seascape Conference Center. For more details, call 650-1546.

If life is not complicated enough for you, take up bridge. Like euchre it is a partnership game requiring four players. As in euchre, each player sits opposite his partner. Unlike euchre, a game that isn’t played with a full deck, bridge is played with a standard deck of 52 playing cards and has two components, bidding and playing. To learn more, contact Pierce and Betty Martin at 837-0996 or bjmartin321@gmail.com for Wednesday afternoon play beginning at 1 p.m. at the Hampton Inn. For evening play beginning at 6 p.m. on Jan. 15 also at the Hampton Inn, call Pat and Ruth Townes, 650-6705 oremail townspr4@hotmail.com.

Great news for golfers — The Walton County Snowbird club has arranged dozens of play days at top courses including Seascape, Regatta Bay, Emerald Bay, the Meadows, Bluewater Bay and Eglin, among others. Also, the Tuesday and Thursday golf leagues are in full swing. Sign up at registration or email beth.sargent@cox.net for Tuesday information or snowbirdgolfbarbara@gmail.com for Thursday golf details or consider the Shalimar Pointe Golf league now forming for play on Monday afternoons. Contact Bonnie Schwichtenberg at 850-424-6502.
Members of the Walton County Snowbirds may drop off or pick up items from 3-4 p.m. Jan. 16, Feb. 4 and 18 from Affordable Storage, 114 Sugar Drive (one mile east of 30A on U.S. 98 ... south side).

Tom Mahar writes for the Walton County Snowbirds and can be reached at tkmahar@aol.com. For Snowbird information, www.waltoncountysnowbirds.com.



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