When it was my turn to play, we would play Go Fish and War. War was always my favorite because I was so good at winning!
As I grew older, cards continued to follow me through my life. Many nights I played Cribbage with my parents. I can almost hear my dad shuffling the cards. I can almost feel the soft, smooth wood of the board against my fingers. But the rules of the game have since slipped my mind.
When I was seven, I found my best friend. As we began to hang out more, I learned that her family loved to play cards as well. Her family could often be seen around their dining room table playing a game of Pinochle. It brought me back to the days of watching my own family play.
We could never quite figure out how to play the games the adults played, but her and I became quite good at playing 500 Rummy.
I will never forget a family vacation to a cabin in the woods when I was a young teenager. My best friend was allowed to join us and we were both so excited. The cabin was anything but small. The ceiling in the main room spanned 2 floors and the walls were lined with glass. My parents slept in the first floor bedroom with my younger brother, while her and I had free reign of the remaining four on the second floor. If we closed the door, we could talk and laugh into the wee hours of the night.
We would spend our time talking about friends and boys. While we talked, we always played a card game. We would play the fast-paced game of Spit, or the guessing game of Golf, and we always ended with 500 rummy.
One of those night in the cabin, that game of 500 turned into 1000, 1500, and on and on. We played until our eyes couldn't stay open for another second. We had heard noises in the woods. A loud bang, and a scream. Oh my goodness, what do we do? Waking my parents meant walking down the dark, narrow steps and through the tall open room. If there was a killer on the loose, surely he would see us through all of those windows. Quietly playing cards would surely make everything alright. And that's what we did. We finally fell asleep shortly before the sun woke up for the day.
To this day, my best friend and I get together as often as we can to play cards. We still play the same games. We still talk about friends and boys. We still laugh too loud.
I could tell you about playing Trouble as a child until we broke the popper. I could share a story about the time I agreed to play to long version of Monopoly with my dad, and it lasted a week.
I love games and I have played many in my life, but cards will always be what I turn to. They seem to bring out the best in the people who gather around them.