May 11, 2017

Thursday Night Flight With The Owl

The Owl set has finally landed in Portland, and the time has come to play with it.  It's a beautiful Chinese Bakelite set, with stylized owls on the one-bam tiles.

Different groups have different relationships with this game. This weekend three different groups will be playing with the Owl set, and I will be writing my observations about each one.

The official Owl Odyssey poster is accompanied by various "cousins" of the Owl tile, watching over the festivities.

Our weekly group has been playing for many years, and the tiles give us a familiar anchor, putting us in a comfort zone from which we can share, vent, grieve, rejoice, and be crazy.

It doesn't really matter what kind of tiles we play with. But at the same time, we can appreciate a beautiful or special set. We started the night with Shehecheyanu, as we always do with a new or special set.  The Owl set brought some people's attention to the beauty and art of the tiles themselves.  I could see one person clearly falling in love with my 'French Ivory' set.  I love watching the relationship between the people and the game, and how it has evolved over the years.

Table #1 has the visiting Chinese Bakelite Owl set

Table #2 enjoys my beautiful French Ivory set 

Table #3 has my own Chinese Bakelite set, 
with those crazy Chinese Empress jokers

Dana wore her one-bam t-shirt for the occasion!

Special Owl dice for tonight's games
In honor of the Owl tiles, I issued a special one-bam challenge. Anyone who makes Mah Jongg with one-bam tiles gets an extra prize from the goody basket. Even a single one-bam will get you a prize.  It's harder than you might think! We had 4 winners.

For various reasons, some of our group couldn't be here tonight. But Carolyn checked in with some crazy text-messaging...

There was another fascinating element to tonight's Owl game.  We had a guest player who lives 2000 miles away, and whom we had never met before.  But Mah Jongg brought us together, and now we have a new friend!  Alice West Sadaka lives in Ohio, but she's in Oregon this week visiting her son, and she mentioned on Facebook that she wished she could come play with the Owl set.  So I invited her, and she came!  Sometimes modern technology is an incredible thing!

We all had a great time, and she brought me some lovely presents. She hustled us a little bit, winning an awful lot of games, but she made me feel better about accumulating Mah Jongg sets, because I only have ten... she has about 20!  It was an amazing little chapter of this Owl Odyssey.


We also received these little rub-on tattoos from the group who had the Owl set before us. That group in Santa Maria, California had a giant BBQ last week on Cinco de Mayo, with 40 people playing Mah Jongg! They claimed the tattoos brought good luck. Not sure if that's true, but it was a sweet gesture to send some to us. 
So let's see... the set originated in China, lives in Virginia, and we have representation tonight from California, Oregon, Ohio, and Washington. 
Mah Jongg is universal!

Tonight's players:
Esther, Sue, Emily, Dana, Kim, Julie, Julia, Elana, Ro, Alice

Tonight's tiles:

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