Monday, March 08, 2010

Playing Cribbage

(note, much to my very deep chagrin, this is NOT my cribbage board. how much would I love it to be, though?)

When I was about 12, my dad taught me to play cribbage. It didn't take long before I was hooked. When the occasion arose, we would each play with other people and yet...we always came back to each other. We used the cribbage board that had been made for my grandfather during WWII. We bought a deck of cards that wasn't to be used for any other card game except our cribbage games (cards were big in our house, so a clean deck that you could put your hands on was a rare thing). Eventually, we upgraded to two very specific decks, instead of just Hoyles, so that they didn't have to be labeled ("CRIBBAGE CARDS: Do Not Use!") but were instantly recognizable. We never said goodbye to each other until we were in the middle of a tournament. That meant we had to get back together to finish it up. One of us would take the board; the others would take the cards. Again, we had to get back together to use them.

He taught me to ask "Feel like getting your ass whipped?" when I wanted to play. He taught me to answer "Think you're man enough?" when he asked the question of me. We shortened it to "Feel like it?" if the situation wasn't appropriate for the whole patter.

We played cribbage on the back deck, after the rest of the family had gone to bed. We played in Lynchburg and Boston and Denver. We played in airports and airplanes and on trains. Hospitals, restaurants, and colleges. Rolling across the English countryside and flying over the American one. We played cribbage the night before my first wedding day, after my bachelorette party. We played drunk, sober and in between. We talked about nothing while playing cribbage. We talked about everything while playing cribbage. We were supposed to be playing cribbage the night he died.

When he was cremated, I had the cards put in his casket with him. I kept the board. It's in my will that I will be cremated with the board. After all, we're in the middle of a tournament.

So why am I writing about this now, given that Daddy's death was over 12 years ago now (holy shit...) and my is many, many, many years out? Because a couple nights ago, my heart came to me and said "Aunt Mame, would you teach me to play cribbage?"

So I did. And so we have. Who knows if it will be a few days, a few months, or a lifetime treat for us. Only time will tell. I have already, however, taught him to ask "Feel like getting your ass whipped?" and to answer "Do you think you're man enough?"

Daddy would be pleased. I know I am.

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee ~ and your ass whipped, 'cause I think I'm man enough.


Nemeria said...

Lovely post, Pobble.

Hermes said...

It is these things that end up being our best memories, not the big things we seem to worry about at the time. Lesson learned. Enjoy it while its there.

btw, I worked for the federal government so... I am world class at cribbage. I would whip your ass.

Lori Stewart Weidert said...

Ahh Pobs, this one almost made me cry. My dad taught me how to play cribbage when I was about 12 also, and we played constantly. As we both got older, and began to see less eye-to-eye, finding each other irritating and hard to reach, cribbage was always the breaking point, where we'd toss up our hands over each other and cut the deck to see who got first crib.

I don't know anyone else that plays, so I have it on my iPod, and occupy myself in waiting rooms and long grocery lines with a few hands.

BostonPobble said...

Nemeria ~ Thank you.

GOML! ~ Loving every minute of it. And the last person who talked smack like that about cribbage to me got skunked then double skunked. Cut for deal. And don't forget to teach Juno.

GNGirl ~ Oh...*sniff* That cut was a peace offering for us on more than one occasion as well. I'll show you my board if you'll show me yours.

appsRus said...

Things I never knew before.... Thanks

Neo_Prodigy said...

Beautiful post.

BostonPobble said...

appsRus ~ You didn't know this? How could you not know this? I'm shocked, to say the least. Well, now you *do* know it. ;) Love and miss you my friend.

Neo_Prodigy ~ Thank you.

2 Dollar Productions said...

Really great post Pobble. Full circle, eh? Love the greeting/request/answer you and your Dad shared over a game . . .