Thanks to the Forest Park Public Library and the kindness of some former strangers, my social life has grown beyond my daily trips to the corner grocery store. My wife thinks that now that I’ve got kind of a life, I should consider using a calendar.

She’s right. My scheduling snafu almost sunk our Tuesday lunch group. We’re still going strong but an organizer, I’m not.  I also got the date wrong for the second bridge for Beginners class I was supposed to teach. I was mortified when I found out I missed it because the first class had gone so well.

We had eight students who had never played bridge. It was kind of chaotic in the beginning. One novice confessed that the game was so complicated, she was tempted to bolt. Bridge’s archaic terms were one of the stumbling blocks. They weren’t accustomed to using words like “dummy” and “rubber” in polite conversation.

They hung in there, though. By the end of the evening they were making lofty bids and raking in the required number of tricks. They did alright without my instruction for the second session. But I promise to be there for the next class on Tuesday, Nov. 15, at 7 p.m.

I’ve been a little better at making it to Scrabble Night, on the first Wednesday of the month. As we tussle with the tiles, I’ve made some new friends. The turnout is a little disappointing, though. Librarian Sarah Beth Warshauer plans to serve treats to entice more players to come.

Sarah Beth doesn’t need to worry about attendance at Trivia Night. On the second Wednesday of the month, the Beacon Tap is packed. When forming a team, I like to go with pot luck. It’s an instant bonding experience to pool your brain power with new acquaintances.

My forte is history but only because I’ve lived through so much of it. For example, I knew who the first president born in the 20th century was, because I heard JFK mention it during his inaugural.

I brag about Trivia Night and the library’s other outreach programs to my friends from less-progressive suburbs. But the library isn’t just about freeing adults from their TVs. They offer an array of activities for children and teens. It has become such a vibrant gathering place we should start believing our kids when they say they’re going to the library. 

Some of the youth programs are recreational but it’s not all fun and games. There are book clubs, writing seminars and a drama club. There are also adult courses in computer instruction, finance management and the ESL Café, where people can practice speaking English.

I promised those students that I would come back to check on their progress. I know I’m a year late but I just bought the calendar.

John Rice is a columnist/private detective, who has seen his business and family thrive in Forest Park. He thoroughly enjoys life in the village and still gets a thrill smelling Red Hots, watching softball and strolling through cemeteries.