When we were in Hawaii, sans computers and such, Jeff and I played cards. Who plays cards anymore? Certainly not my husband, who spends every spare minute in front of one of his seventeen computers/gadgets/musical instruments. And me? I'm not much better now that I have this blogging habit. But in Hawaii we got so, like, 1970s, and played cards a few nights. And we giggled a ton. It was great.
The whole card game thing reminds me of my paternal grandma, with whom I played cards until she died. Lest you start to picture a sweet little pie-baking old lady, well, don't do that. She was a single academic smarty pants type, who had travelled the world (I know she taught English to nuns in Tibet for awhile, for example). She raised four kids with a man who was a terrible father, and then he left her anyway. She really wasn't much for children or anything domestic. At her house in Indiana I first learned about takeout Chinese food, being a country girl where there was no takeout anything (not even scrapple). And she taught me to make Jello (what, you say? She wasn't domestic? I know.) In the matter of fact way that one could imagine a worldly woman of a certain age teaching her granddaughter to make Jello: of course you can do it, Nora. Here's how. This does not define you. This is just so we can have some Jello. And here's a trick about ice cubes so it sets faster because my artist friend Arty McArtypoet is coming over for tea later. Yes, of course you can listen to our charming banter. There now, we made Jello. On to the next thing.
And in this same peer-to-peer style, she taught me how to play cards. Just about every card game I know, actually, came from her. Peanuts, casino, kings in the corner, rummy, hearts. And I loved her hands, not because they were beautiful, in fact the opposite. Because she was the only person I have ever known to have the stubby broad thumbs that I have, with nails wider than they are long and the rest perfectly, upsettingly straight unlike NORMAL PEOPLE who have at least a little curve to their thumbs. Really most unattractive things. So yes, genetics, they were passed down from her to me, et cetera. But my dad? My genetic link to her? Hitchhiker's thumbs. Amazing in their oppositeness to mine and his mother's. She and I must have looked quite the pair playing cards together with our special thumbs out for the world to see.
In a glowing example of my blogging naivete, I thought it would be cute and charming and family-oriented to post the rules to the game we played most (casino). It turns out this would actually be frightfully boring. And I can never learn a game from the directions anyway, just by playing, so come on over to my place and I'll teach you the rules and we'll have a giggle. Or, you can find the rules of casino here, by some nice folks who clearly have more patience than me in writing out rules.