Monday, July 4, 2011


Summertime always brings memories of family vacations and long days at home trying to amuse oneself.  We always played a lot of card games in the summer.  Both my mom and my grandmother were big card players ( bridge ...) and you could always get them to play a game of gin.  But in the summer there were games of Hearts and Spades with the whole family and I loved it.  The cards would just sort of stay out all summer and kids would come over and teach each other card tricks and new ways of playing solitaire.

  There was always some poor soul who hadn't yet heard of 52 pick up.
Then things got really fun when someone's Dad, or in my case Grandfather, pulled out the chips and got all the kids playing poker.  Those were fun games!

We always went on rather rustic kinds of vacations.  Not that Balboa Island or Lake Tahoe are off the radar, but the beach house was very low key, intended to be sandy and full of kids and NO TV.  It's almost hard to believe.  But those beach houses or lake cabins etc were usually stocked with board games  and paperback books and puzzles and starry skies. And my big brother would actually play with me as opposed to the school year when I was the little sister cramping his style.  I relished the attention.

Bingo is one of those beach house games.  It was so exciting calling out the letters and getting to yell Bingo.  I guess the excitement takes on a new twist once one becomes a senior citizen, I don't know.  I  will just have to wait and see.

Then there was Yahtzee.  We played Yahtzee on my Grandparents boat around the kitchen table after dinner ( or I guess it's the 'galley table' ).  I assumed it was a game invented for playing while 'yachting' hence the name.  It all made sense.  And I was ever the Captain of the ship.  My Grandfather would put a captains hat on me and let me steer for a whole 3 minutes - long enough for him to grab the camera and take my picture grinning ear to ear ( missing a tooth or more). Yahtzee is dear to me.

Scrabble plays on.  Even now when I'm all grown up and almost never without my iphone in my hand I am involved in several games on 'Words With Friends'.  It's technically not Scrabble but whatever.  Actual Scrabble is even more fun and it's not very hard to get a table top Scrabble game going.  It's amazing how many people are way into Scrabble.  Like kind of aggressively.  I know several people who would say they rule Scrabble.  That's pretty impressive for a game invented in 1938 that involves spelling... not everyone's passion.  Board games are still lots of fun.  You can control the pace, take breaks, get people of all ages together and someone is going to be the winner!  I hear that in some schools they don't keep score at the team games etc to avoid the winner/loser situation.  First of all that is insane, and secondly, that's taking away the profound joy of winning that lasts about 3 minutes and then everyone moves on.  I played all these games this weekend, and surprisingly had no trouble getting people to play ( including the OCD gamers in the house).  I was able to tear people away from their computers and tv and we had a ball!  ( by the way - I played 2 bingo cards, 1 for me and 1 for the dog.  Of course the dog won!  She is extremely clever.)
  Life hasn't changed that much ( except that without my grandfather keeping score, Yahtzee was a bit of a disaster.)  Slow it way down, play some cards or board games, let the little ones stay up late ( and let them win... ) and enjoy summer!!!

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