Rain or shine, through an ice storm or 110 degree temperatures—this may sound like a wedding vow but rather it’s the motto of a Monday night women’s bridge group. They can count on one hand the number of times that the monthly meeting has been canceled in the 45 years they have been together.
The nine members are: Susie Billings, Susie Broome, Ann Brewer, Mary Cross, Sarah Davis, Cleone Peterson, Carol Reddish, Glenna Shelby, and Mary Anne Siurek.
The bonds formed through the longevity of this group resulted in a lasting impact on the Greenfield community. Every member of the group has at some point served on a foundation or board; almost all have been president of the local Tri-Kappa sorority.
The women did not foresee that what started as a fun social gathering would lead to so many accomplishments. Because the women are such good friends, they would become involved in each other’s activities. “If one of us was working the after-prom then we all would,” Siurek laughed.
They were also able to ask the other members for help with projects; they knew they would have a pool of pinch-hitters who could be called up at the last minute. They have traded duties when they know another woman was better equipped to work in a particular area in order to best utilize everyone’s strengths.
A sampling of other organizations represented are Kiwanis, library board, Girl Scouts, the Red Cross, school boards, the hospital foundation, Bradley preschool, ReadUp, city boards, Greenfield-Central School Foundation, Hancock County Community Foundation, CASA, and various children’s athletic or theatre organizations.
What might come as a surprise is that none of the ladies are originally from Greenfield. Many of the newcomers met through a welcome wagon event where baskets of coupons were distributed and feel that this was the genesis of the group.
While she was still adjusting to her new home in Greenfield, Broome states that she saw a sign in Reddish’s home that said “Bloom where you are planted.” She felt this gave her the impetus she needed to commit to involvement in the community.
Bridge was the most logical game for the group since many of them participated in the Tri-Kappa Bridge-O-Rama. But they acknowledge that even though their monthly meeting is a bridge group, playing cards is only 3rd on the list of reasons to gather. “We have three priorities—food, see each other, and bridge if we can,” jokes Siurek.
They admit that the rules for bridge are open to interpretation. The bridge authorities of the group are Billings and Davis but the other ladies say those two do not hold their abilities over the rest of the group. As a case in point, one evening they played four hands of bridge before they realized there were only 48 cards in the deck.
The women have become a tight-knit group and feel they are unique in that they have stayed friends all this time. Their families are also close; the ladies state that it wasn’t uncommon for them to parent each other’s children. They have supported each other through illnesses or surgeries; they have gone from discussing their children to talking about their grandchildren.
Says Davis, “We rely on each other. We’ve had fun and these ladies have enriched my life, as well as so many others in Greenfield.”