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Growing Up With Cards and Games

When I was a young child, my family had a cottage on a small lake in Northern Minnesota. It lacked both electricity and plumbing that has been fine with me; I liked the feeling of camping but nevertheless having a cushty bed to settle at night. The only real drawback was an outhouse that was fifty per cent of a block from the cottage and not a fun trip at night. My mother solved this by developing a “honey pot” that people all used through the night and one of us emptied in the morning (although I suspect my mother ended up with the job most often).

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Later in the day, our light originated from kerosene lamps and a sizable brick fireplace. After my dad, mother, brother and I came in from evening fishing (or on a wet day), we played card games facing the fireplace; kerosene lamps hanging overhead to light the small table in the middle. We played gin rummy, 500 rummy and schmier, a game title that I recall like a little like bridge F95zone. (If anyone knows just how to play smear, please contact me because I need a tutorial!) I especially loved gin rummy and won more than my share of games but I usually couldn’t beat my father. Looking back, I’m not certain that has been better; the card games or the quiet evenings with family. However, I spent my youth treasuring both.

Sooner or later, we added Monopoly to the list but I always had a love/hate relationship with this game. If you’re winning, it’s great. Your houses lined the board and the stack of money facing you grew larger every time someone shook the dice and landed on your property F95zone. But when you missed purchasing the most effective properties, every shake of the dice put you further and further in debt – perhaps a bit like real life! I couldn’t handle the slide into poverty and was usually very relieved when I lost all my money and could quit the game.

Of course, Scrabble was always a favorite but, while the youngest, I was a little handicapped by my vocabulary. At the time, I didn’t find out about short words like Qi. Xu, Qua and Za that fit into small spaces and earned plenty of points F95zone. Today I play Scrabble each day online with friends and use these words regularly although I need certainly to admit that I still have no idea what they mean.

In college, I was introduced to Bridge. I watched friends playing; listening with their bids and studying their plays. When I met Barry, my husband-to-be, I’d only played a couple of times. Soon after we were engaged, he and I were invited to dinner and a bridge game at one of is own married friend’s houses. I was nervous and felt like a young child; these couples were four or five years avove the age of me and actually lived in houses, as opposed to dormitories. By the end of the evening, I was feeling more confident and felt my bridge playing have been pretty good. As soon as we were in the car, Barry turned if you ask me and said, “Never, never bid a three card suit!” He married me anyway and even taught me just how to bid the proper way.

For quite some time, we played party bridge with twelve friends who were, for the most part, at the exact same level as us. Each of us rotated around three tables and different partners. However, there clearly was one man in the group who took the game very seriously. Being his partner meant opening yourself to four hands of verbal abuse. I didn’t say anything during the time but this older and wiser version of myself wouldn’t have kept her mouth shut!

Once (and only once) I played duplicate bridge. We were living on an army base in Japan during the time and a buddy asked me to substitute for her in a once-a-week duplicate bridge game while she stopped to truly have a baby. By this time around, my bridge game had vastly improved and I immediately said yes. But I soon found out that game had almost no in common with party bridge. The room was deadly quiet, interrupted only with the sounds of quiet bidding at each table. The emphasis was on each hand and the score cards were kept meticulously. Also, the hands were carefully replaced for the next player.

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