Playing Cards

A little bit of Spring today, even though it felt like Autumn.  It was sunny and the back three season room felt so nice.  The wife and I had a late lunch on the porch, in the sun and played some cribbage.  I learned to play the game many years ago, and it always felt like the rules were changing as the game went along.  Although, I think the real problem I have with the game is adding to fifteen in my head.  I’ve never been a quick math-in-my-head person.

It’s funny that I have trouble with this game, when I love playing Pinochle.  The key difference is I grew up playing Pinochle, using so-called HiBo rules.  I’m not even sure they are real rules, but its the way family has played the game forever, and it’s the way the game was played at my Grandfather’s drinking club (the Ancient Order of Hibernians, yes an Irish drinking club – surprise!)  The fun part is my Grandfather was German/French and my Uncle Eddie (his playing partner) was full blown German.  As far as I know, these are the only two non-Irish ever allowed to join the club.  And they were good card players.  So good they could literally talk across the table to each other with how they bid and what cards they played and when.  Uncle Eddie, added an Ace of Spades under my grandfather’s sleeve at his furneral.

Every summer, my family would go “down the shore” for a week.  We always hoped for a rainy day, so we could play cards all day, be it Pinochle or rummy.  I can remember many evenings around the table, playing cards and laughing our buts off – especially at the words and phrases that came out of my father’s mouth.  Later, when my boys and my sister’s children where older, we still would meet down the shore and play cards.  Now I can hear my boys mimic Pop’s (everyone calls my dad, Pop) euphemisms about cards.  I love it, Pop will live on through cards!  I can’t wait to teach and see my grandchildren learn to play Pinochle.  And who knows, maybe they will also learn cribbage, and the new Pop, will know how to play!  Thanks to my wife.

One of my fondest memories was when me and my youngest son travelled to Florida with my wife to visit with her mom and dad.  At the trailer park where they live, they have various activity days, and that year they were playing a game called wist.  We have never heard of it, let alone played the game.  I couple of practice games the night before and we thought we were prepared.  The basics of the game are sorta of like Pinochle, but you move from table to table and play each pair of players once.  The winner of the game “captures” the opponent’s flag, and the overall winner is the partners with the most flags.

The boy and I were partners, and we did not win many games, these older folks were well seasoned wist players!  However, we did amaze most of them with the way we played.  We just applied all those years of Pinochle cutthroat play to this new partner’s game – it was fun, because when it worked, we cleaned house, but when we over stepped, we got clocked.  I few games were close, but either way, we had a blast and entertained the crowd.

Cards are one of my favorite ways to bring family together.  Can’t wait for my parents to come visit at the end of the month, there will be cards played!


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