I believe in playing cards. As a little girl, bedtime was never dreaded, well maybe once in a while, but I knew when the moon met the stars, our game of cards would begin. A little too young to grasp the delight, I would watch with inquiring eyes as my father played with my older sister. Soon enough they included me in their game of enchantment. Dispersed among the rug, my dad, my sister, and I would share laughs, thoughts, delight, and defeat while absorbed in each other’s every move. Each game held its own memories, each night enveloped the next. We talked about everything; anything on our minds, a card for our thoughts. We transformed dull games into enthralling escapades, making rules up as we went along. Although the amusement never ceased, our games remained competitive, and I loved it that way. Once you hit the rug, there was no turning back, no one could quit once immersed in the game, you simply weren’t allowed. Each card dealt became another opportunity to outwit our opponents; another chance to share, amuse, and enjoy one another.
The games we played were assorted, countless. Crazy Eights, Kings in the Corner, Gin, Rummy, Poker, War, Steal the Pile, and the favorite and infamous Follow the Queen, a game we created one night. Sometimes we would play five, six, seven games an evening, forcibly concluding to catch some z’s. Other nights a single game would take up most of the evening, but no worries, we’d start it up again at our next meeting on the carpet. No matter how tired we were, we always finished a game. And I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Now my sister is in college, and my father is balding; but we still find time to play cards. We talk about different things now, but the spirit of the game remains. If not with my old competitors, I continue to play with the children I baby-sit. Watching the excitement leap across their faces reminds me of our evenings sprawled across the rug. I believe in playing cards. You have to play the cards you are dealt with. There is no trading them in for a new hand, dad would never allow it. This, I believe.