I didn’t tell Ret about the early-morning event I organized last Sunday. It was a private party, but it is not the type that really needs a bartender.

When I got to FB at 7 a.m. there were already two folks waiting at the door. It was cold and rainy, and I felt badly that I hadn’t come earlier to get them in out of the weather. I apologized, let them in, and starting turning on lights and getting the place ready. I put food down for Boss (who apparently wasn’t ready to eat yet), got coffee and hot water started, and looked up to find four more guests shucking raingear and carefully unpacking their bags.

Twenty minutes later, the air was redolent with the smell of freshly-ground, freshly-made straight Kona, six cups of tea (two homemade herbal blends, two Marks & Spencers English Breakfast, my own favorite Constant Comment, and someone who likes P.G. Tips–no accounting for taste, I guess). There were water pitchers and glasses spread out; I had a total of 19 guests, 8 Go boards, and soon a whole lotta quiet concentration.

I am an avid Go player, and its simplicity and philosophy appeal to me. I am still an amateur, but an enthusiastic one.

I had to show off my new toy. I snagged a mahogany Go board from an estate sale a few weeks ago. (I am still using Bakelite stones and cheap wooden bowls.) I am jealous of Shen’s board and stones. He inherited the persimmon wood bowls and shale/clamstone stones from his grandfather — that set was worth at least three month’s lease on the bar. I am always surprised when he brings them, but apparently he won’t play with any other set.

Boss got up finally, deigned to eat most of Her breakfast, and then sat at various boards watching. She had to sniff one of Avery’s proferred white stones; she does that every time we play. Every so often She would get that expression on Her face I call Cat Sneering. (Boss is a chess player; She doesn’t think much of Go.) She finally gave up and took up Her usual over-the-front-door perch and took a leisurely bath.

About 9:30 or so (time goes fast when you’re playing), I had lost twice and won one squeaker. I don’t think ten words were spoken the entire time except an occasional “good game”. I love Go, but two hours of it wears my ass out. I had set a timer on the ambient playlist, and when Eno’s Music for Airports quietly began the games still going were finished up quickly.

There was a round of beer on the house for those who drink (a few of them), and we schmoozed quietly for a bit. By 10:30 everyone had packed up and left. I sat for a bit sipping hot tea and watched the slow rain falling through the windows. Ret came in a little before 11:00 to handle the lunch crowd, while I sat quietly.

Go always centers me and puts me in a calm frame of mind (unlike chess, which gives me the jitters if I play too long).

I love it.

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