The Games of Life

I love games.  Not video games.  Real games.  Games that require thought, shuffling, rolling dice, spinning a spinner, turning over a sand timer, or leaning over to move a game piece.  It’s a dying pleasure I’m afraid.  Board games and cards have been replaced by Apps. The personal reaction has transformed from the physical face-to-face variety to a virtual world of screen names and avatars.  Don’t get me wrong, Apps are great and the ability to play with family and friends all over the world is awesome.  But it’s not the same as gathering together with snacks, music, conversation, and laughter.  Some of my best memories involve games.

From a young age, I spent the night at my grandma’s house with my cousins.  Apart from arguing about who would get the primo sleeping spot under the dining room table (I never won that argument), we would have so much fun.  We played Uno. The best games were the ones that lasted hours.  I still love a game of Uno, though I’m not keen on the new fangled versions that require batteries and shoot cards in my face.

Another game I used to like was Monopoly.  (I say “used to” because my husband sucked all the fun out of it.  He has great potential as a loan shark.)  When I was younger, I lived two doors down from my cousin and we’d play Monopoly during the summer.  One game lasted a week.  We had the patience and dedication to keep coming back to it day after day until it was finished.  I can’t imagine my kids doing that now.

My cousin’s family loved games.  I remember spending the night with her or going to the lake and the adults playing “Twenty Questions.”  They always laughed so much. I realize now that a lot of that laughter was at the suggestive nature of some of the questions .  A dirty mind is a terrible thing to waste.

That same cousin and I played a lot of games together, too.  We loved to play Scattergories, Trivial Pursuit, and Life.  The game of Life is especially precious to me.  I associate it with my great-grandmother who we called Mamaw.  Near the end of her life, she came to live with my grandmother on my father’s side.  My cousin and I would go stay with Mamaw when Grandma wasn’t home and I always brought Life with me.  My cousin and I would play in the floor while Mamaw sat in her chair and watched.  We didn’t talk much, and we felt a little guilty about it.  We were there for her, but we just sat and played games.  When we’d leave, she always gave us a little money, which only made us feel more guilty.  We were only about 12 and didn’t yet understand the concept of loneliness.  Most importantly, we didn’t understand the joy of children.

When I watch my children play, it takes me back to my childhood.  I remember what it felt like to have no other care in the world than who was going to win a game of Uno.  I remember how effortless it was to play Twister.  When I watch my children play, I marvel at their intelligence, their joy, their existence.  I delight in them.  My mamaw, sitting in her chair watching her two great-granddaughters playing games, laughing, and chattering probably felt the same way.  I imagine her thinking about her children, her grandchildren, and her great-grandchildren.  About her life.  We needn’t have felt guilty.  While we were playing Life, she was enjoying the fruits of hers.

This post is for the RemebeRED prompt from the red dress club.

The prompt was Let’s Play: mine your memories for games you played when you were young.


23 thoughts on “The Games of Life

    • Maybe we were separated at birth? Or maybe one of us is the doppleganger of each other?

      Minor difference. I never actually go to sleep under the table. My older, male cousins always bullied me out of it. Their argument was that I was a girl and shouldn’t sleep with the boys. My dumb 6-year-old self believed that mess. 🙂

  1. Perfect. Really, a wonderful 1st attempt.
    Have you ever played Cranium? I love having my girlfriends over for margaritas & Cranium. Someone always pees in her pants laughing, every time.
    How about dirty Mad Libs? Pure awesome.
    That last line of yours is a true delight.
    Love it!

  2. Great post. Don’t feel guilty, your Mamaw was most definitely enjoying having you near and watching you play. And I’m sure she’s most proud of the clever “A dirty mind is a terrible thing to waste.” I know I am.

    • She was the sweetest thing. Very quiet. I know she enjoyed having us there. I just wish we realized it at the time.

      If you have a dirty mind, you should at least use it for good jokes. 😎

  3. This is inspiring to me. You nailed it when you mentioned the snacks and laughter and simply being present that “real games” require.

    We are going to make games happen in our family. The memories are worth it.

    • We need to do it more often, too. It’s so easy for everybody to get caught up in their own thing. Summer break just started and a game will be perfect when the kids start with the, “I’m boooored!” routine.

  4. Uno is such a fun game and I agree with you about the new versions with batteries. I hid the version that shoots cards everywhere. So annoying! I once went looking for the classic Twister game and found a few versions of Twister with batteries and DVDs. Why do they try to improve on such classic and fun games?

    Great post! Visiting from TDRC…

    • It’s irritating. My son wanted a Magic 8 Ball for Christmas last year. It took us a month of looking to find the classic version. All most of the stores had were electronic ones. That is just wrong.

  5. Oh, this brought a tear to my eye. What memories! We always had such a great time playing LIFE while we stayed with Mamaw! As a kid you just cant fully appreciate those moments, until you reflect back as an adult! Ironically, i almost downloaded the Game of Life APP last week for nostalgic reasons lol….i still have that Twenty Questions game in the top of my closet. its covered with dust and the box is falling apart, but i cant throw it out – too many memories. We play Pictionary with Paul’s family when we all get together and we have a blast . We have game night with Nicole from time to time, she’s only four and still loves board games. I hope to hold on to that for awhile!!

    • So jealous of your Pictionary loving in-laws. Do they have a dry erase board? It isn’t a proper game without a dry erase board. 🙂 I am definitely buying Life for the kids. Most of them are old enough to play it now and they ARE NOT getting the Spongebob version. As much as I love the little dude, he can’t touch the original Life!

  6. Scrabble and Monopoly were childhood favourites of mine. In fact, I think the Scrabble might have to come out again to help the children brush up on their English. It is good, but I’m sure a game or two won’t hurt.

    I love Euchre, which I play as an adult. Writing seems to have taken over my Euchre time!

    There are no older generations in my family – I’m the matriarch – so I’ll wait…………..

  7. Don’t you just love the way those memories of what was thought to be an ordinary childhood intensify into the sweetest treasures?

    I still have some of the monkeys from the barrel hanging around somewhere and I loved playing Pick-Up Sticks as well as all those wonderful board games.

    You have a great, albeit long, summer enjoying the fruits of your life, along with keeping us entertained!

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