The Game Of Life

I love 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. Board games and cards have been replaced by Apps. The personal interaction has transformed to a virtual world of screen names and avatars.  Apps are great and playing 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.

Uno Card GameI spent a lot of nights 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 played Uno. The best games were the ones that lasted hours.

Another favorite was Monopoly (until my husband sucked all the fun out of it.  He has great potential as a loan shark.) 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 we finished.  I can’t imagine my kids doing that now.

My cousin’s family loved games. We’d sit around the table, eating chips, while the adults played “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.

The Game Of LifeThat 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.  Near the end of her life, my great-grandmother came to live with my paternal grandmother.  My cousin and I would go stay with Mamaw when Grandma wasn’t home and I always brought Life.  My cousin and I would play in the floor for hours while Mamaw sat in her chair and watched.  We didn’t talk to her much and we felt guilty.  We were there for her, but we just sat and played games.   We were only 12 and didn’t yet understand the concept of loneliness or 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 play Life, 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 is a revised version of an earlier post.  I’m linking up with the Yeah Write Summer Series.

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40 thoughts on “The Game Of Life

  1. you made me cry at work!. when i saw the title of this, i already had my comment worked out in my head – “The game of Life is very near and dear to my heart”. ..and then, you explained my comment in your post. I couldnt agree more about watching our children play games. We play constant games of Memory, Uno, and Trouble at my house and i couldnt treasure it more. While apps are fun, board games will always hold a special place in my heart. AND – those very Twenty QUestions and Scattergories games are still collecting dust in the top of my closet!

  2. I miss board games, too. Nobody plays them anymore, just the online versions, too bad we didn’t live closer. My scrabble is so rife with dust as to be a fluffy unrecognizable rectangular shape. Sigh. Thanks for the fun read, Erin 🙂

    • Yeah, I love Scrabble. I play Words with Friends but that’s not as much fun. No disputing words because it does it for you. Takes a lot of hilarity out of the game when you try to play the word, “slotky.”

    • My husband prefers card games. I still like a good board game though. He will play Trivial Pursuit with me on occasion, but only because he knows he’ll kick my butt.

  3. I guess I’m your cousin, too! I adore games, having grown up playing them with our crazy family. The biggest laughs and best fights all happened around a board game 🙂

  4. I love love love the games too. There’s no substitute for the feeling of playing Trivial Pursuit in the same room as people you love or at least are related to whom you are supposed to love! I hate the thought of Apps taking all that away. It’s a very astute observation that apps are the new games. Boo! I want scattergories!

  5. We love playing games with our kids. Some favorites when they were little were Pictionary, Life, Monopoly, Uno, and Go Fish. Now, they are older and we play Shang Hi Rummy, Mexican Train Dominos, Sequence, and Apples to Apples. Such good times and fond memories!

    • I like rummy and all its variations and I used to play dominoes with my cousin, too. I’ve never heard of Sequence. I’ll have to check it out.

  6. We played Uno for hours at my Grandma’s house. My kids love playing games, too. My son thinks I’m da bomb at Monopoly. I’ll let him think that for a while. Thank you for making me think of all the time we spent playing games!

  7. Lovely! One of the things that encouraged me to finally have kids was the image of my potential family gathered around a table playing Monopoly. The image of your great-grandma enjoying her family is beautiful.

    • It is a great image. The problem comes when it’s Chutes and Ladders or Candyland on the table instead of Monopoly. Those are the worst games ever.

    • I never thought about that particular consequence of having children later in life. Missing out on the great-grandparent relationship makes me sad.

  8. I love board games, particularly Monopoly and Life. I actually used Life to teach a consumer math class. My summer Monopoly games lasted weeks, mostly because we all cheated.

    This was a really sweet post and I think you are right that your Mamaw enjoyed just watching her great-granddaughters play.

  9. I love the end of this – it got me a little teary. It reminded me of my grandmother who always sat and watched the kids play – she loved to watch. But, she also loved games and because of her, so do I. We played all those games you mention and more. My husband hates board games. My son will play with me and I hope he continues to as he gets older. Great post!!

  10. Every night that he’s home (travels a lot for work) my partner and I play Scrabble, the board game version, not the app, before dinner. When my young niece visits in the summer she very much looks forward to this. For her it’s part of her summer, a tradition. We gather snacks and drinks, and for her we mix up the games, but always play something. I love the nostalgia of this post and the tie-in with your grandmother, and the importance of creating our traditions and family lore.

  11. I used to love games when I was a kid, and we played lots of games in my family. I can’t wait to introduce my son to some of them, and I won’t care if he rolls his eyes at me!

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