Happiness is a hand with both rooks.

I’m grateful my Mom loved to play games. She loved playing Rook and Mexican Train Dominoes. She loved playing Scrabble and Bananagrams. She loved playing ANY game her grandchildren wanted to play. So many memories were created with Mom and her grandchildren sitting at the kitchen table during holiday afternoons and evenings, after the meal was done and the kitchen cleaned up.  A reunion was never complete in Mom’s eyes until game playing had been thoroughly worn out. Game time usually included popcorn or bowls of snacks and cans of pop or on special occasions, Mom would make shakes in the blender. Game time ALWAYS included lots of laughter.

Mom was very competitive and it came out around a table. She wanted to win, always. She was the reigning queen when it came to Ping Pong. Anyone who played with Mom knew to be at their best because she had no mercy when she had that paddle in her hand.

Mom loved to watch games, too – at least the games she couldn’t play, like granddaughter volleyball or basketball or softball, grandson baseball and Royals baseball. She was famous for her “Yaaaaaa-hoooooooos” in the stands, embarrassing her family members by being loudest of them all.

Mom had a closet full of games with boxes that were taped at every corner from years of use. She had an old can full of marbles for Chinese Checkers and Wahoo.  She always kept that brown cup with dice for Yahtzee time and had spare dice just in case. She lamented when it was time to part with the croquet set that never really had a good storage spot.

Growing up, Mom had a rule. No playing cards allowed. She grew up with that rule and passed it on to us. Playing cards were for gambling and were forbidden. So, Rook was our non-gambling deck of cards. I didn’t know what an ace or club or jack was until I was an adult, and it took YEARS before I could rid myself of the twinge of guilt when I played a game that used those gambling cards.

I am grateful that Mom liked to have fun.

I am grateful that Mom took the time to play with her family.

And I am grateful that she enjoyed winning but never minded losing as long as we all had fun.

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