|Roasting Don Bowen|
|Saturday, August 04, 2012|
Don Bowen attained the rank of Gold Life Master after collecting his 2500th point at a recent club game. His friends decided to purchase a cake for him, and because it was Don, decided a roast was in order. The call went out to members to contribute an anecdote. Plans were put in place and Donís roast took place on Monday July 30th, just before the start of the Swiss team game.
Don was invited to the front of the room and the fun began. The introduction was made and the first tidbit, submitted by Pat Clark and read by Annabelle went as follows: (From a Daily-Recap news report June 8, 2008) His heart was in the†wrong†place, He†didnít†wear his heart on his sleeve. Pulled a heart out of his _________, you decide. At the Swiss, yesterday, it seems Don Bowen was humming along nicely in a hand, when he noticed he had 2 fewer cards than everybody else. After a little searching, he found he had been†sitting†on them! Turns out he had revoked on a previous heart trick, giving Carl McGiffin and Doug Macdaid an extra IMP. Luckily, it wasnít crucial. But I guess it was assinine.
Rich Talbott followed with: "Don was a paratrooper during World War II but doesnít normally like to talk about his experiences. One he will tell you about, however is this flight home. The plane was airborne, getting close to the time to start the descent into the designated airport. The stewardess noticed that Don was visibly nervous. Knowing the reason for these passengers being on this particular plane, she asked ďYouíre from an airborne unit arenít youĒ? When he replied he was, she asked, 'Why are you so nervous?' His answer? 'Iíve been in an airplane many times before. Itís not the flight that makes me nervous. Itís the landing. This is the first time Iíve ever been on a plane when it landed.'"
Christie Bendickson was next: "When I started playing in the 'big' game I was extremely nervous and looked forward to the end of the game and being able to go home to soothing my music. When we got to Donís table, I heard this faint humming sound, and believe it or not, my nerves settled down and I actually enjoyed the rest of the game. Keep right on humming, Don."
Howard Coleyís submissions were read by Annabelle. "Don bought a large red pickup truck that was sooo big he couldnít see into the bed. (His words.) - Don was so famous for his humming while playing bridge that GM named a vehicle after him Ė the Hummer! (Itís now out of business.) †One always has to ask Don what heís driving because he changes vehicles so often."
Mary Ann contributed the following: "Lois Fortunato, Annabelle, Don and I played in all the Tuesday and Wednesday games together supporting the Hernando Bridge Association and working diligently to make it grow. One time when Donís wife, Joanne, was in Bayonet Point Hospital for bypass surgery, we girls decided to visit Don at the hospital. After waiting in the waiting room for a goodly amount of time we set out in search of Don. He was nowhere to be found. Upon returning to the waiting room, other people in the room overheard us talking about having to leave without seeing Don. They offered to let him know his friends had been looking for him. When they asked ďwho should we say was visiting, all 3 of us replied, 'His harem!' Mary Ann, Lois and Annabelle were affectionately known as Donís harem for several years after that."
Jonnie Waite spoke affectionately of Donís tireless effort to build the bridge clubs.
Annabelle completed the program: "Karen Alpaugh sent me the following comment made by Don himself: '[Annabelle and I] are the only partners in this club who have played together for over 15 years and still use at least 3 bids a game the other doesnít recognize.' †My reply is, 'Or maybe we just donít acknowledge that we recognize them. Did you ever think of that, Don?'"
"About 4 years ago, after Donís mellowing, he had a date to play with Jane Fellows which Jane had to cancel. Don wasnít home so Donís wife, Joanne, answered the phone and took the message. During the conversation, Jane mentioned how much she enjoyed playing with Don, how much fun he was to play with and what a pleasant personality he had. Joanne listened attentively. When Don got home she told him about the call and added, ďShe couldnít have been talking about you. Do you think she had the right number?Ē
"My association with Don was strictly through the bridge club. My association with bridge was on again, off again, as I sometimes worked and my work schedule interfered with my bridge playing. I never learned the names of any of the players, just played bridge and went home.
"During these early days, I sometimes lined up partners for coming games and then was unable to keep the dates. At one particular time, when I had to cancel my play dates, I had the name of 1 player but only the initials of the second, DB. My only other clue, I knew it was a man. Looking down the list of players provided by the club, the first name I came across that fit the criteria was Don Bowen. When I called his phone number, our conversation went something like this. 'Hello. Hi Don, this is Annabelle Hills.' Surly voice: 'Who?' 'Annabelle Hills with the bridge club. Do we have a date to play next week?' Surly voice: 'I donít know any Annabelle Hills and if I did, I certainly would never play with her.' Strike one for Don Bowen.
"My DB turned out to be Dale Brown, not Don Bowen.
"When I was able to return to bridge, I remembered that phone call and didnít particularly care for Don Bowen. After watching him at games, I decided he must have been a career Drill Sergeant in the Marines. He wasnít. He was proud to let you know heíd been in the 7th†grade for 37 years. Then heíd tell you he was a teacher. He did serve in the military, parachuting out of planes and fighting for his country in World War II.
"Well, I ended up getting the last laugh. I married him. No, I couldnít do that, but something just as bad. I became permanent bridge partners with him. Thatís almost the same thing as being married and a great way to get even with somebody. It was rough at first; Don flipped his cards in the air to show his disapproval of my play and tried to teach me his bidding system by constantly criticizing my bids. He learned after a fashion, that his criticisms only caused me to dig my heels in deeper and as the years went by he mellowed."
"Letís talk about Donís humming. Is there anyone here who isnít aware of Donís proclivity to hum? Heís been humming all the many wears weíve been partners and I havenít been able to identify a song yet."
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