Monday, January 19, 2009

Games people play


Game in progress

I come from a family who often gathered to play games, games of all sorts. I remember many rounds of card playing with my grandparents, or watching others play crib, and other assorted classic games together. For many, many years my grandparents hosted a Christmas or New Year family gathering where games were the ultimate evening pleasure. Most of those years the grandchildren were not privy to attend, it was only for the adults. As the years passed, they opened it up to children and older teen/married grandchildren only which began with a buffet dinner at their choice of restaurant followed by an evening gathering with rotating hosts/hostesses. Happily we all succumbed ourselves to games of whatever the host organized, which also varied from year to year.

My husband up for his turn of golf this particular year. My grandfather sits in the background enjoying himself as usual during these fun family gatherings.

Secretly my grandparents would spend the entire year previous to these gatherings building, making and buying small gifts to wrap as the "winners" took home a prize that night. My grandfather built bird feeders, wishing well planters, jewelery boxes and all sorts of lovely heritage value items, while my grandmother knit, crocheted and gathered small sweet items for either a male or female which was always labeled lovingly on the top of the package.

The evening always traditionally concluded with the same game year after year though, a wonderfully competitive and most intense few rounds of Bingo! We had one row winners, four corners, two lines, L's, but most of all everyone hoped to be the winner of the full card black out at the very end because the prize was (traditionally) a five dollar bill. Even as adults with our own young families, we all loved the idea of winning five dollars, always so funny and a great way to end the night with so much laughter from the "number caller of the night". That person always announced 66 as 66 clickety-clicks, to which we all echoed. We all hold such fond and dear memories from all those gatherings and remember them with love for our grandparents, game players extraordinaire!

Always a player ready to gather round

One of the yearly games out on display and ready for players anytime was the wooden board called "Crokinole". Any way you want to call it – "Crokinole" or "Krokinole" (the latter is the German spelling), it has always been a family tradition to make sure we played it year after year, many times in fact, many tournaments and great tips and instructions from those older than ourselves who coached us in our games.

In our own family, we continue this tradition, on purpose. Oh yes. And - on purpose for sure. Not having our own game in our family many years ago, one son who loved to play it so often was given ours for a gift one Christmas. We still have the original box from over twenty years ago and the game sits in it most of the year until Christmas....though we break tradition with this one when we bring it out at other times (wink).

A few photos from our family archives;

Crokinole rounds are in progress

And yes, we still have the game in our home because when we moved east, our son never came to fetch it to bring it to his home, so he and his wife still play rounds of it at our home when we are together. Thanks son for not making me send it back to you....yet anyway. (smile)

This Christmas we followed tradition (of course) by pulling out our big wooden game of crokinole once again, something that must grace the main coffee table in the home all throughout the Christmas season for hours of spontaneous play by anyone wanting to challenge another. It's just a must in our home to do that. Most of all this game was not forgotten this year thanks to finding it easily on its own in that original box and not "lost" in a box somewhere downstairs.

Our older son (who this game truly belongs to) saw a few photos I snapped of my gather instructing the younger children on strategy plays and tips with them made a comment which has stuck somehow, a compliment to him for his patience with all his own children, the spouses and the many grandchildren who have come along the way.

The master teacher at work teaching the young ones

Great grandchildren have been present when we play this game, another generation to follow in the future for more traditional playtime during Christmas family gatherings for sure. He called my father "The YODA Of The Game" (the master teacher/player) and Dad if you are reading this; you really are our Yoda teacher for this game and we all want to thank you for keeping it throughout another generation in our family. (Love you)