Card playing community keeping bright side out

By Nora Ryan

We were playing progressive 25 cards in Gainstown for upwards of 30-odd years, which was enjoyable and successful and an integral part of our community. Most of the players also played in Cullion in Walshestown and in Milltownpass on other nights of the week.

We were aware of the coronavirus in the Chinese city of Wuhan, knew they were in lockdown and that the virus was spreading quickly. We were entering a global pandemic and our government were going to make some major announcements.

So when our cards finished on the Wednesday March 11, 2020, Noel Kelly announced that we were closing the cards until further notice as the virus was very dangerous for the elderly.

Leo closed the schools the following day. We thought it would be until Easter at least, some were disappointed, but agreed that it was the right measure to take.

A year has passed. We elderly people have cocooned, were in lockdown got out for a while, were in lockdown again and wondering if we will ever be able to play cards again.

The ages in our group would be anything from 50 to 95 years and that was our social gathering. Everyone looked forward to the card nights – they kept people focused and sane, as they enjoyed a cup of tea and settled the affairs of the world, both political and religious, even dabbled in horses and dogs, and soccer and football – all was discussed. I dare say we would be able to hold court with Luke O’Neill, Kingston Mills or Cillian de Gascun on the viruses, vaccines, mutants and strains now.

One good thing about this is that everyone has updated their technical skills. Children are online with teachers on Microsoft Teams and Zoom. We have RTÉ Home School Hub, which keeps them entertained after their schooling is finished.

Leave to it to Joe Wicks and his exercises and fair play to all our priests by having Mass streamlined to our homes; it is very much appreciated, as we are able to travel the whole of the Diocese of Meath, from the morning at the Cathedral of Christ the King, to Kilbeggan, Tyrrellspass, Ballymore, Kinnegad, Longwood and Kells, and even as far as the Pro Cathedral if the urge took us. And then in the afternoon, we can go to San Antonio in the USA, and there’s no need to dress up or even leave the house.

Is this the way forward?

This streaming is beneficial for family all over the world – at least they can connect to their parishes for special occasions like Christmas, Easter and, of course, for funerals. It is marvellous as you can have Mass every day, and I hope when all this is over, they will leave the Mass streamlined for people who cannot physically attend.

Hopefully in the near future, we will all be vaccinated and ready to resume our cards and other activities.

Result of Gainstown cards on March 11, 2020

Winners on 11 games, Gerry Casey and Frank Seery; second on 10 games, Tom Farrell and Dessie Gunning; Paddy Casey and Tom Duffy. Table prizes, Seamus Lyons and Mary Barrett; Brendan Martin and Mary Geoghegan; Rita Bentick and Finonnuala Kelly. Last game, Noel Kelly and Michael Harte. Raffle, Tom Smith, Tom Duffy, Ann Seery, Tom Earley, Seamus Lyons. Cards are stopped in Gainstown until further notice due to the coronavirus. Committee wish everyone to remain healthy and safe and keep washing your hands.