The clap of thunder sparked Posie's memory. It was the Monday afternoon bridge game on Sullivan's Island, South Carolina - and a stormy one at that.
The boom outside brought Hurricane Hugo back to Posie nearly 25 years later. One of the worst hurricanes to hit the southeast coast it devastated Charleston and the surrounding areas. But, as in all life's trials and tribulations, bridge (and whiskey) helped ease the pain - at least in the Fontaine household.
"Tom was theya," she said indicating her long-time bridge partner. "He came ovah to arrah house because we had three floors theya on Wentworth Street. But when I saw him walk in with a bottle of Rebel Yell whiskey, I said, 'Now Tom don't be crackin' open that bottle. We've got alotta work to do."
Tom, Posie and Felix got started moving furniture from the first two floors of their Charleston single all the way up-top to floor number three. It took hours but finally all that was precious and necessary to the Fontaine family was safely tucked away and the house battened down. The clock was about to strike midnight and Hugo was minutes away. The trio settled in around the card table ready for their uninvited guest.
"Then we cracked the Rebel Yell," Tom said, taking a bite of Happy Cannon's fabulous blackberry cobbler she brought in to share. "I don't drink it anymore, I prefer Maker's Mark, but anyways, we sat there through that little dust-up they called Hugo and drained the whole bottle."
And they played bridge. Three-handed bridge. It causes a bit of a bidding dilemma, but it can be done. Just as surviving a hurricane can be done. You deal four hands, turning up 6 cards of the fourth hand and each player bids for the contract (conventions won't work here) using his/her hand and the 6 cards of the fourth. The winning bidder gets the fourth hand as his/her dummy and then you play normally.
Posie said the bridge game was a "disastah" but at least, in their neighborhood, the storm was not. The eye was twenty miles north of the city and the barrier islands got the brunt of it. Tom, Posie and Felix escaped with water damage and nasty hangovers but with lives and houses intact.
But three-handed bridge would never again be played at 38 Wentworth Street because one "disastah" in life is more than enough.