Fun doesn’t care what your age is.
I learned to play mah jongg today. The local Jewish Community Center (JCC) offered a lecture, lunch and play time. The lecturer spoke about the history of the game and the basic differences between Chinese mah jongg and American mah jongg.
My mother and grandmother used to play weekly. I specifically remember the sound of the clacking tiles and my mother and her friends saying “one bam” or “eight dot.” It’s one of my favorite childhood memories.
A few years ago, Leslie and I and some friends tried to teach ourselves how to play. You know how it is when you get a new game and you’re trying to play and read the directions at the same time? Well, this was way too complicated for the four of us to understand.
Today, I was lucky to find a table with three women, just waiting for a fourth player. And one of those three women is a mah jongg teacher at the JCC. She hadn’t planned on playing, just walking around and visiting past students (the other two at my table learned to play from Joan this past year). I watched the three of them play several games and I asked some pretty good questions (according to Joan, anyway!).
I then asked to play and, yes, they were skeptical. But I persevered and actually played two full games. Joan was quite impressed that I was able to grasp the basics of the game as quickly as I did; strategy will come later. The two other women at the table were very surprised that I had even played; they both agreed that it took them weeks to learn what I had done in three hours.
I was very impressed with myself! Being a game and card player all my life (thanks mom and dad!) helped me grasp the game pretty quickly. I enjoyed a relaxing day and met some very nice people. And, if you’re wondering, I think I was the youngest of the 100 in attendance.