Winter days are great time to play cards

Serendipity

I see we have just passed Card Playing Day. This seems like the perfect time of year for such a day, considering most of us are spending our days indoors out of the cold, snowy wintry weather. (Okay, so our winter weather this season has more to do with gray, cloudy, rainy days. Those are good days to be inside, too.)But I bet a more standard Iowa winter is coming.)

I don’t know if we’re ever too young to learn to play cards. Remember Old Maid and Go Fish? They’re still happening. And although neither teach the young players about suits, they do learn about taking turns, recognizing what matches, and even just how to hold a handful of cars without showing them to your neighbor.

I played both of those card games, and my grandparents showed us how to play Rook, a really old card game, I understand. All I can remember is that it had something to do with bidding in colors.

It’s fitting that that my grandparent’s kitchen table is where I learned about playing cards, since my their idea of a social time was an evening of playing cards with their friends. Usually it was a game (canasta?) that six or eight could all play, and what I remember is that they were all playing quite intensely if I happened to be around during a game.

They made sure my siblings and I knew how to 500, a card game that’s still popular. “If you know how to play cards, you’ll always have something to do when you have visitors at your house,” my grandma told me more than once.

My grandma never lost her affection for playing cards, all the way to being a great-grandma and playing simple games with my children. It wasn’t unusual to see her with my then-preschooler daughter playing cards in a corner somewhere at a family gathering.

I visited my son several times when he was on staff at a summer camp, and I was surprised to see boys using some of their marginal minutes between activities engaging in hot games of euchre. It was like their national pastime, and I learned how to play the game while I was while I was there visiting.

Now, of course, we can play card games online, especially solitaire, which some sources declare is the most popular card game in our country. But somehow it’s just not the same as gathering around a table with your friends or family for an evening with a good, competitive game of cards on a cold winter night.

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