Join Diane, Delore and me as we play "the poetry game" and reminisce about other games we have enjoyed. If you'd like, you can leave a poem in the comments, or, if you prefer to post on your own blog, please let us know in the comments so we can come along and cheer you on. You can use the topic, or veer off course, as I ended up doing today. The object is to write and to have fun.
When I was a kid we didn't have computers or video games. I had a wind-up doll with a music box inside, but that was as advanced as toys got at that time. I'm sure there are a few of you who can relate to that quieter time in life.
And so we had to occupy ourselves in other ways. Among those ways were indoor games.
I liked board games all right, but I rarely had anyone to play with except my only sibling. My brother was four years my senior, but not old enough to have a particle of empathy or sympathy or any other mpathy for his little sister. His favourite game was Monopoly, he was always the Banker, and I always lost. I might still have Monopoly Resentment. (Blogging as therapy! Boo yah!)
We also played a lot of card games. In those I had a much better chance to win. Go Fish depended mostly on luck, as did Crazy Eights, and even Solitaire. (So why did my brother still beat me most of the time?)
Then one summer a cousin introduced us to the card game Cheat. The objective of this game is to be the first to get rid of all your cards, which usually requires you to cheat blatantly and get away with it.
The rules, as I remember them, were: cards were dealt face down equally to all players until the deck was gone; players took turns placing cards from their hand face down on the table; the first person said/played aces, the next player said/played twos, the next, threes, etc.; if you didn't have the card you needed you had to cheat (use a different card); if you wanted to get rid of cards quickly, you needed to cheat (play cards that weren't what you said they were). Other players could call "cheat" if they suspected cheating was going on. If they called it right, the player who cheated had to pick up all the cards on the table. If they called it wrong, the player who incorrectly called "cheat" had to pick them all up.
Amazingly, I was very good at this game. Maybe I had a poker face, or an innocent face, or maybe my brother was exceptionally bad at reading faces. I don't know. But being able to win often at this game made me feel very good indeed.
Never mind that it meant I was good at cheating, something I knew was bad and unfair the rest of the time. It was heady fun to have a game where the forbidden was not only allowed, it was encouraged.
I've pretty well explained in prose about the game I liked to play, so for my poem this week I'm heading off on a tangent inspired by my memories, to talk about growing up with an older sibling. (One explanation: our parents both worked, thus the reference to the sitter. It was somewhat uncommon for the 1950's and early 1960's, at least in our community.)
* * * * *
Oh Brother of mine - who'll always be
The oldest and best and ahead of me -
You were first to the sitter and first to school;
First to have teachers and first to have rules;
First to be tapped to do chores in our home;
First to find work and have cash of your own;
First with a license to drive, and a car;
First to move out and first to move far;
First to get married and first to have kids -
Blazing the trail for your younger sib.
The four years between us so often seemed more.
The things that I liked, you had aged to abhor.
I was too young for you, you were too old for me.
At times we did nothing but fight constantly.
But now we are older and do not compete;
We've both had our share of life's joys and defeats.
We do not live close to each other, it's true,
And emails and telephone calls are too few.
But I know I can count on you having my back,
And sharing the load when life's on the attack.
Our outlooks and interests still seem far apart,
And yet we've found ways to be closer in heart.
So here's to my big bro, a friend like no other,
The one person on earth to share my dad and mother.
Looks innocent enough, doesn't he?
What games did you play when you were young?