Sunday, February 8, 2009


When I was a little girl, I used to spend lots of time with my daddy. We both had an affinity for books, and he encouraged me, for which I am forever grateful. But, he also liked to play a card game from time to time, and I would find myself watching with much interest. Time after time, he would bring all the cards together in a stack, then slowly lay out the grid. Then he would begin counting 1-2-3, and turn the cards over. He'd count and move them ever so slightly, then turn them over to see what came up. Sometimes, he would take that card and put it on one in the grid. And, sometimes, the dance of the cards would 8 on black 5 on red 6...then move a whole section of cards over to the black jack...then move them again when the red queen would show her face. And proudly watching over all were those fancy Aces...sitting there in all their glory just waiting to be covered over with a whole suite.

I loved to watch him play. His hands would move so quickly, and it seemed he didn't even spare a moment thinking about the moves, he just KNEW what to do next. The cards and the game seemed almost magical. I knew there were more losses than wins...but how exciting it was when all the cards in the deck got used up! I loved to see all those cards go into their rightful places!

And, day, he taught me to play! It took me a while, things with numbers tend to scare me. But, this...this I could master. This I could play. And this I could win...sometimes. I didn't win very much to start with. But, the thing about solitaire is...if you don't pay attention to ALL the cards, you just may miss a move that would have won you a game. Now, for a person with ADD, it was not always easy to stay focused long enough to really play correctly. But, the more I played...the better I played. And something else began to become clear to me.

If I tried, I COULD block out everything else and just concentrate on the game. I could rein in that part of the brain that wanted to run wildly through the backyard and swing from the trees. I could actually REST. I could play the game and think only of the game. This was a real biggie for me. At that time, people did not talk about ADD or ADHD. You just 'were not paying attention' or 'not applying yourself' or 'had your head in the clouds'. And, for some one who would try so hard to 'get it' was very frustrating. I think for many of us who lived in those days, we thought we were just not the 'smart kids'...oh we did OK and had lots of fun and lots of friends...we were just not the high achievers.

But, when I played this was just ME. I was playing against the GAME. Time after time, the GAME would win, but once in a while...I WOULD WIN! And that felt good!

Now, I have the game on my Palm Pilot. It stays by my bed. Every night, I play a few games before I go to sleep. It quiets my thoughts, it forces me to think on one thing, it lets me rest.
However, the game on a computer or a hand held is just not quite as satisfying as feeling those cards between your fingers. Counting 1-2-3, and turning the stack over. And hearing the slap the cards make as you move them around to a better place.

This works for me. Thanks, Pop!


racheld said...

I LOVE this post---it's exactly how I learned, from our neighbor's elderly Dad. I watched til I could get all the moves correctly, til I just ITCHED to shout "red deuce on the threeee!" as he hesitated between slaps.

I played at home when I could smuggle a deck out into my hiding spot under the bushes, and then a new game came along---you laid out the cards into a BIG circle, which was a clock, with hands and numbers, and somehow, you played it as solitaire, getting them all turned up.

I'd get caught "wasting time" and sent off to do some chores, and I always said when I got my OWN home and family, I'd play that game anytime I wanted.

And now I can't remember the steps. Anyone recognize this form of Solitaire?

justabeachkat said...

You know me, I love love love games...including card games and computer games. BUT - blogging has taken over my "play" time lately. Cute cartoon!


Debbie said...

I love to play solitaire myself among other games, but its nice when you were taught something by a parent. Very nice post, it made me go back in time just a little. Debbie

nancygrayce said...

I learned from my daddy's mama, our Cmama. She had a board she played on and she had a card shuffler which I thought was the greatest thing ever!

You're so right about our generation and the pay attention thing. I remember sitting at my desk, looking out the school window and thinking how I needed to go run around the playground a few times!

LivingTheLife said...

What a "sweet" memory you have of your dad and his teaching you through his playing solitaire. It seems he taught you a lot more than just a card game, eh?

I used to play dominoes with my grandpa...I loved playing with him...he was such a genius at the game,especially in my young wide eyes...he always knew exactly what everyone else had in their hands...I don't know how he did it...but it is something I remember fondly...whenever I have a chance to play any domino game...I always think of him and his generosity towards me with his patience, his teachings...and he ALWAYS let me shuffle those magical red bakelite dominoes....ahhhh! Great memories...thanks for the reminder! I just happen to have those red dominoes, now! I cherish them!