kariskhaos


Dangerous Family Games

We were sitting at the large and very nice oak dining room table at my mother-in-loves house. It was getting louder as the game went on. The chairs that go with the dining room table are large sturdy beautiful chairs with high backs, the kind that take both hands to move out from the table so you can sit down. Uncle JB (Scott’s uncle) is sitting next to me. JB is one of my favorite people, he is bald, robust and laughs with a deep low growl. He is funny, generous, kind and when you get a hug or shake his hand you know the strength that comes with the rest of him.

My memory of the exact timing has failed me but I am petty sure I was pregnant with Jessie. We were playing Spoons with the siblings, cousins, aunt’s and uncles. It was getting pretty heated for JB as he had lost two in a row. The smack talk and jokes were raising the bar and the cards kept going around and around. In a quick and sly move one spoon was gone, out of the corner of my eye I saw it go. Mayhem and chaos and shouts of triumph rang out all along the table. There was one spoon left. I grabbed for it, at the same time JB lurched over me, grabbing for the spoon while sending me and the heavy chair toppling head over heels to the ground.

There was a stunned silence. I felt to make sure nothing was broken and then started laughing. JB was beside himself. But he too started laughing and we laughed until we cried. I held up the spoon and told him he could have it if he really wanted it that bad. We straightened the chair, JB was chastised by his wife Linda and his sister MaryEllen and we played on (with JB moving to a new seat somewhere far from me.)

One of my favorite things about getting families together for holiday gatherings is to play games. Board game, card games, word games and puzzles. Time together means bringing out old grudges and new challenges. My dad’s family game is cribbage, I learned from his father and he has taught all his grandchildren to play. Hearts is another one for my side of the family while Whist is the game of choice in the Johnson gatherings. Two years ago we were given the game Settlers of Catan and this is now my kids best-loved game of challenge.

It does not seem to matter what game it is, but getting together and playing together make family feel like friends and friends feel like family. It spans the generations and gives the younger ones something to look forward to. I can remember the rite of passage it was when Grampa Jerry first taught me to play cribbage, I thought it was the greatest thing ever. For our family it is important to remember to turn off the TV, the iPhone, the PS3 and engage in some good old fashion, tried and true, sometimes dangerous, non electronic games.

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