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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Tales from the old-timer

Issue Date: January 29, 2014

Playing Cards

By Jane Thibodeau Martin,

daughter of the Old-Timer



**********



When I was growing up, people got together to play cards. There was a whole lot less available on television in those days; certainly no one spent time on computers. I remember my paternal Grandparents coming regularly on a weeknight to play Pinochle with my parents. When we got together with my Mom’s family, everyone played cards - different games were popular with different branches of the family. The Schmids favored Jass, a Swiss version of Pinochle. The cousins played games of varying complexity based on their ages - Go Fish, Gin Rummy, or Hearts.

Grandparents taught the grandchildren how to play; cousins had raucous games of spoons which mixed in a little physical activity with the cards. (It IS possible to get sweaty playing spoons.) Sometimes a little money changed hands - but it was usually more about bragging rights than the money itself. In some families table chatter is frowned on - but in our family whole games got sidetracked for 20 minutes or more at a time while someone told a long, hilarious story.

When the neighbors got together, there might be two or three tables of card players in action, with people sitting down and then getting up to give way to another player. And even at our little country schools and churches there would be card parties as social glue. I know in many deer camps, the card games are looked forward to almost as much as the hunting itself is.

My sisters and brother and I also played at home to while away long winter afternoons. It was time together, something not typical in some of today’s families where everyone is off on their own laptop or video game.

When my husband and I get together with my brother-in-law and the extended Martin family there’s usually a card game of Golf to end the day. It’s easy to learn, doesn’t take so much concentration you can’t visit or tease each other at the same time, and goes great with a beverage and popcorn.

At the bottom of it all it is bonding time. Mixed age groups, no awkward conversational halts to navigate, a structured activity that almost anyone, young and old, can engage in. It’s not like a sport for the young and agile - even those with physical or mental limitations can usually join in.

So few things can take the place of a game of cards as quality family activity on a cold winter night at home.

I remember falling asleep upstairs in my bedroom on school nights, hearing my parents and grandparents teasing, laughing and scolding one another over their game of cards - the sound of secure family bonds around the kitchen table beneath my room.


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