It’s a rainy afternoon in McBaine. Inside Lucy’s Bar & Grill, a group of farmers and other residents takes advantage of the weather. They’re playing four-point pitch in the back of the restaurant, slapping cards down on an old wooden table, laughing and joking as hands sweep up tricks.
The farmers come in most weekday mornings for breakfast and stay to play cards on the rainy days.
“If we can’t do any farming, we’re hanging out here, playing cards,” 69-year-old Bill Sontag says.
Those who order food don’t need a menu. Their faces are so familiar to the restaurant staff that they know who wants what.
“If they ain’t here, there’s something wrong,” the cook Teresa Morris says, laughing.
The four-point pitch crew has practically grown up in the establishment, which was opened by Lucille Coleman in 1957.
“They’re all locals,” Coleman says. “I’ve known them all their lives.”
It was the farmers who urged Coleman to reopen the restaurant after she closed it in 1989 following the death of her husband. They told her that she was the only one who could keep the place going, Coleman says, and so finally, in 2003, she conceded and reopened the restaurant on Route K.
“It’s a good place to hang out and play cards,” says 73-year-old Bucky Roberts, a retired farmer.
The men converse during the game, catching up on each other’s lives, exchanging information about friends who are under the weather and teasing each other about their card-playing skills.
“You’ve got to deal better than that,” Sontag says to 46-year-old Greg Daly, as the players throw in their hands, opting not to play a particularly poor deal.
By noon, the dollar antes are collected and the card players disperse, off to do what they can during the dreary weather. But they will be back the next weekday morning for breakfast, a steady stream of coffee, and if it’s raining, several rounds of cards with old friends.