Saturday, November 30, 2013

Games People Play

There is something about playing games that brings people together.

It is not as direct as a one-to-one conversation. Yet it is not as unengaged as watching two separate screens, side-by-side, with no relationship to each other.

It is conraderie. It is friendship. It is kind-hearted teasing. It is getting-to-know-you-time.

Which is why I'm so thrilled to have many generations together playing cards.

Mark and Donna engage in "table talk" while Lindsey and Mille play by the rules.
Some of my fondest memories of my Grandfather Dolaskie is of his playing the game of spades.
I didn't know him well. He tried to teach me to fish, but I wasn't much into fishing. He wanted to take me boating, but I was afraid of the water.

He tried to play cards with me, but I was too young. So instead, I watched him. For hours. For years.

I watched him be a sly little shit and bluff his children (my parents) into thinking he didn't have the cards he had, and win a hand. I watched him be stoic and non-expressive, then grin like a fool as he counted his points. I saw him laugh to the point of tears, with the ridiculous plays he or others would make, trying to get others to show their hands.

All in the game of spades

I got to know his humor, his stance, his political bend,  his dry sense of humor. All through card games. I can honestly say I never had a direct conversation with the man my entire life. We just didn't see each other that often through my childhood, and by the time I was an adult I was too busy to take the time to get to know him. That was my loss, truly, I had no idea what I was losing.

He was staunch. He was strong. He was weak. He was funny.

All those things I never knew, his entire life.

But now, seven  years after his death, as I sit around a table playing cards with people he'd only met once in his life -- at my wedding -- I think of him.

Because I am getting to know my sister- and brother-in-law and my mother-in-law the way I got to know my grandpa.

Playing games.


  1. Having participated for years in playing games with your grandfather Dolaskie I can vouch for his character. Of course I learned many things about his character because he and I hunted and fished together, hunted mushrooms together, and just spent a lot of time together through my youth and adulthood. He was a very unique man and I call him Father with love and pride. He did not take the place of my own Dad, but he provided me with a way to participate in things I really enjoyed that my Dad did not. I will be forever glad he was in my life.
    I am glad you are having the same experience with your In-Laws. It is something you'll look back at through the years and have good, warm thoughts about.

  2. Well said. Good analysis of Grandpa Tom.