Gramma and Grampa enjoyed getting together with their friends over weekends and playing card games.  We were thrown into the fun the few times my sisters and I happened to be staying with them during summer vacations.  We weren’t allowed to play, but we helped prepare the snacks (Chex mix, anybody?) and decorate the game room (AKA the dining room).  We could watch the first few hands of pinochle, but then we moved off to another room to play Old Maid or Go Fish.

Often, when it was just family, we would play poker, Nickel Knock or Kings in the Corner.  Sometimes we would break out the Tri-ominoes (like dominoes, but the playing pieces are triangular with three numbers on each token).  And Scrabble was a gaming staple.

But by far, my favourite was Cribbage, an old card game which is said to have been adapted from an older game known as Noddy.  A small board with pegs is used to keep track of points scored.  First player to 120 wins.  Grampa told me that it was a favourite game of sailors, used to fill uneventful hours crossing the vast seas.  I am sure passengers would play!  (My friend Donna and I filled the hours waiting in queues at Disneyland by playing Cribbage!)

Grampa educated me in all of his strategies.  But what he really taught me, most powerfully through his example, was that we play games to have fun, not to win. Grampa enjoyed every single game he played, whether he lost or won. He’d play his hardest (and probably won a lot more times than he lost), but his purpose was clear:  he was there to have fun and enjoy the company.

Anyone up for a game of Cribbage?