As long as I can remember my mother played Mah Jongg. Saturday and Wednesday during the day, Monday in the evening. During the day they would arrive at around 11:00 eat lunch, and then play for most of the day. They took turns playing at each others homes,and served very nice lunches. In particular they would serve what we “the kids” referred to as Mah Jongg candy. Chocolate lentils, jujubes twizzlers, nonpareils(like snowcaps), nuts and something that looked liked gumdrops and jimmes that was called bridge mix. Of course there was an obligatory jello mold here and there. Well at least when my Mom was the hostess. Monday nights they didn’t start playing until 8:00pm, and played into the late hours. Johnny Carson was almost over by the time “the girls”, thats how they would referrer to themselves, left. I’m not sure if you know how the game is played. It is a chinese tile game. I think there are 144 tiles consisting of 8 jokers, 8 flowers 4 0f each dragon red white and green 4 of each NEWS wind and 4 of each 1-9 “suit”, crack bam and dots. There are about 40 hands on an official Mah Jongg card. Each person is dealt 13 tiles except east, they get 14. Kind of like gin. The first person to make one of the hands on the card wins that game and collects money. My mother played with her groups of friends for at least 30 years, they were a very big part of her and my life! They all shared every milestone together, their own, and their children’s, and counted on each other for support. They always sat at the same seat when they started a game and continued to be life long friends. Unfortunately my mother was the first one from her group to pass on. They were all there for her, and she counted on them to get he through some of the worst times.
Today, I have my own Mah jongg group. We may only play once week, but we too have a bond. We haven’t been playing together for 30 years yet, but I know we will be there for each other, just as my Mom’s friends were there for her.
The reason for this evenings post…..Tonight, there was a Mah Jongg tournament at one of our local synagogues, I won $100. It made me think of my Mom and I just wanted to share.
P.S. I came in second last week, prize $50.