Playing at Grandpa's


in my last post I mentioned my grandfather.  Three days later he died at the age of 94.  My grandfather was definitely playful as evidenced by this picture from one Halloween. 


The pictures above show one of his favorite pasttimes: fishing.  One my best memories is when we had a family reunion in Colorado over Father's Day weekend so we could witness his marriage to his second wife. Grandpa took us all fishing at a little pay lake.  The picture shows him with most of his great-grandchildren at the time.  (My two are on the left.)

In his later years one of my cousins taught Grandpa how to play a dice game called Farkle.  As we were going through his few belongings on the day of the funeral I found a small bag with dice, a pen, directions for scoring, and a pad of paper where he had kept score with some unknown woman who must have either been at the nursing home or the local retirement hangout.  I also chose to take an old pack of playing cards. The next day when I had flown home and showed my children my son started playing with the cards and dice right away, making up his own game.  It was a bittersweet moment for me.  

Grandpa is my maternal grandfather.  That side of the family LOVES to play cards, so much so that they can be pretty competitive.  I just like to play for fun.  I don't enjoy playing with my mother so much, because she is so competitive and takes so long to make a move.  I know, patience.  But I digress.  For a period of time during my childhood or adolescent years this family got into playing some card game called Presbyterian Poker.  I don't remember the rules and when I asked my extended family only one of them remembered us playing the game.  Once we were playing that game at my grandparents.  Grandpa got up to use the restroom.  While he was gone, we changed his cards so that he would have a perfect hand.  When he returned and looked at his cards, he had a strange look on his face.  I'll never forget my grandmother with a big smile on her face, laughing, and looking like she was gonna pee her pants.  She had a hard time keeping it a secret.

Other memories: playing board games in my grandparents' living room with my sister, cousins, and Aunt Shawn.  Aunt Shawn was my mother's youngest sibling, had Down Syndrome, and was only 5 years older than me.  She was like one of us grandkids when we were little.  We also enjoyed playing croquet in their yard and climbing the tree in the front yard. 

Feels like a final chapter has been closed on my childhood.  So glad my grandfather left me with a legacy of play.