Tuesday, November 24, 2015
What Shall We Do Tonight?
I have mentioned many times that my family had little money when I was a child. We never went hungry but often we did not have money for some of the "extras" that a lot of people take for granted. New clothes were extremely rare. And most of them were made by my mother. Extras like movies or concerts were rare. Usually if we were able to go it was because we had earned the money ourselves.
I am not complaining though. There was a lot of love and laughter in our family. We enjoyed each other. We knew how to entertain ourselves.
Alone time was often spent reading or working puzzles of some sort. Puzzle magazines could be found in every room of the house.
Often we watched television together in the evening. If someone felt like making popcorn and fudge it made a happening.
We played a lot of games. Besides being fun it kept our minds sharp. My parents did not "let" us win. If we came out ahead we knew we deserved it.
At Christmas we got board games as gifts. We saved them even after the boards were worn and the pieces were missing. We used pieces of paper instead of game pieces. If the dice were missing we wrote numbers on pieces of paper and drew them randomly out of a bowl.
Almost any board game there was we owned. Monopoly, Scrabble, Parcheesi, Chinese Checkers, Checkers, and Chess are a few that I can think of.
Lay Four Out was the first card game I played. It is an easy game for small children. Each player is dealt four cards and then four cards are placed face up in the center of the table. Each player in turn tries to match one of the cards in the center. With a match the pair is placed in that player's pile of cards. When the deck has been depleted the player with the most pairs wins.
We moved on up to games like Old Maid and Concentration. Eventually we learned to play pitch (or whist), Uno, Pinochle, various poker games for matchsticks, Hearts, Spades, Rummy, and Canasta were favorites.
Of course there are many different kinds of solitaire games. They are fun card games to use when no one else wants to play. I have about a dozen that I play regularly. Some are very easy and some are next to impossible to win.
Games using paper and pencil are wonderful if you have little money. Categories is a game where one person chooses five letters of the alphabet. Another has already chosen five categories. The players try to list one thing that applies to a category that begins with each letter. For instance under the category fruits using the letter K you might list Kiwi. Our categories could get quite outrageous.
Making as many words as you can out of a larger word is fun. Tic, Tac, Toh is fun too but so hard to get a winner if you have been playing since you were very small. Connect the dots or as we called it penning the pig takes some time. You have to make the dots by putting rows of dots acroos and an equal number of rows rows of dots going down. Each person takes a turn and connects two dots with a line either across or up and down. Once a box is completely formed the person's initial is written inside. When all the boxes are formed the player with the most initials in boxes is the winner.
Mom found a fun game in a magazine.Each player would make two grids of ten boxes across and ten boxes down making one hundred boxes in all. Across the top each row would be labeled from one through ten. Down the lines each box was labeled A through J.
Into one grid the player would place two destroyers composed of three connecting boxes, one cruiser made of four consecutive boxes, and one battleship of five consecutive boxes. The other grid was left blank until the game began.
The first player would take three guesses of for instance A1, H4, and G7. The first player would place an X in the corresponding box of his blank grid. The other player placed an X on the grid with the ships. The player then had to tell the first player if he had hit any of the ships and which ships they were. If a ship was hit on all its boxes it was sunk and the other player was informed. The winner was the player who sank all of the other player's ships.
Most people have now heard of this game. It is popular and goes by the name of Battleship.
I like word games a lot. The only things you need are a brain, a mouth, and someone else to play.
They are usually simple games used to fill time. Most people know the game of someone saying a word and the next person has to say a new word using the last letter of the previous word as the beginning letter of their word.
We might take one word and see how many synonyms or antonyms of that word we could find. Word games are only limited by the limits of your imagination.
So besides having fun and and enjoying the company of loved one we learned some valuable lessons. You do not need a lot of money to have fun. You can learn just by playing a game.
The most important lesson is sportsmanship. We all played to win. That is the object of a game. If we won we learned to do so gracefully. If we lost we did that gracefully too. That was a good life lesson.