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Clear Spring group of card sharks serious about playing, fun

September 11, 2007|By MARLO BARNHART

CLEAR SPRING - There aren't any big prizes and it's certainly not Las Vegas but the card players who gather every Wednesday at the Clear Spring Town Hall don't care about that.

"We've been coming to the Town Hall since mid summer but before that, we were at Windy Hill Restaurant for 15 to 20 years," said Hartzell Rohrer.

The players may change but the game stays the same - 500 or 500 Michigan as some call it. And they are at it from 11 a.m. until about 4 p.m. - it's serious card playing.

The game is similar to bridge in some ways but most of the players say they prefer 500 over bridge.

On a recent Wednesday, there were three tables of four set up in the community room of the Town Hall. Most players were women, but there were two men present that day.

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"The tables were donated to us by St. Paul's Lutheran Church," Rohrer said.

Each Wednesday, Councilman Stu Brennan puts up the tables for the group before he heads over to the American Legion to mow the grass.

The group brings food and they share. Sometimes someone bakes something yummy and brings it too.

After the games are over, they clean up and put the tables away.

Rohrer and Edie Myers started the card-playing group about 20 years ago. They started meeting at the Town Hall, and now they are back.

The game is progressive, so players periodically get up and move around. That keeps the card playing sharp and also serves to expand the conversations.

There is some talk of cards mixed in with family, friends, children, grandchildren with an occasional discussion about how best to keep critters out of one's garden.

There was a spirited exchange about blood pressure and whether it is best to use table salt or sea salt.

"We came to the Town Hall and talked with Juanita Grimm, town clerk, and Mayor Paul Hose Jr., and they said it was a good idea," Rohrer said.

George Wilkinson comes with his wife, Teresa. "I love cards and the company," he said.

Mary Ella Hawbaker said cards were big entertainment when she was young. "I'm retired now, and I come because I love this game," she said, noting she is new to the group.

As a young woman in her 20s, she recalls times when she played cards all night, often until daybreak. "It was cheap and it was fun," Hawbaker said.

Thelma Brewer has been with this group for four or five years, starting as a substitute.

"My husband said if I would get a call for a 1 a.m. card game and could I come, I'd come," she said. "Why not, it's fun."

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