Tag Archives: Board games

Love Means Never Having to Play Sorry!®

“Grandma, will you play Sorry!® with us?”

Does that request conjure Norman Rockwell scenes of bright-eyed children and a sweet old lady playing that ultimate in generational togetherness, the board game?

Years later, I know better. If you’re dealing with COVID, you do, too.

But I was naïve then. Questions like, “Grandma, will you play kick-the-grenade with us?” wouldn’t have lulled me into false security. But this rosy prospect of quality time with seven-year-old Ava, five-year-old Josh, and three-year-old Jamie dulled self-preservation instincts. I asked my son-in-law for their Sorry!® game.

His eyes widened. “Sorry!®’s toxic! We hid it on a top shelf beside the roach killer.”

You’re totally overreacting. “Because you care about your children?”

“Because we wanted to survive. Play Candy Land®,” he urged. “Candy makes everybody happy. But Sorry!®? Sign a living will first.”

To reassure him, I did. Then, in my best grandma style, I gathered the children to play Sorry!®.

Game pieces debates ensued before we opened the box.

I intervened. “Ava, use blue pawns, since it’s your favorite color. Josh goes first, since he’s taking yellow.”

Was I good, or what?

Jamie objected. “My pieces.” His dimpled hands grabbed them all. Clever Grandma, however, had bought M&M’s® for such emergencies. “I’ll give you blue candies for blue pawns.” Eventually, Jamie returned all but the green pieces.

World War III, however, raged until the others received corresponding M&M’s®.

Players must draw one or two to exit the start area. Josh drew two, and Ava, one. Jamie drew 12, celebrating with a loud “Ya-a-y!” because he got both numbers. We didn’t contradict him.

I drew eight. With luck, I’d come in last. Of course, some people — specifically, grandpas — insist on winning. They cannot appreciate the skill that goes into playing badly. But children do. That’s why they’d rather play with Grandma.

Jamie decided he’d accept only 12s. Other numbers precipitated a Kewpie-doll pout and, “I can’t want that card.”

I tried to convince Josh to send my pieces back to start, but he targeted Ava’s. She swatted his off the table. The dog and cat, convinced they were big yellow M&M’s®, fought for possession.

Jamie, having drawn two 11s in a row, sent the newly arranged game board flying like a square Frisbee®.

This family afternoon had digressed from Norman Rockwell to Jerry Springer.

Proclaiming them all winners, I distributed the whole bag of M&M’s®, suggesting they improve their minds by watching SpongeBob. The Sorry!® game went back beside roach killer. I ate an extra bag of M&M’s® reserved to treat post-board-game trauma.

Would those kids talk Grandma into such “recreation” again?

Sorry!

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What game wreaks havoc at your house?

Confessions of a Really Bad Sport

Are you a good sport?

I’m not. Never have been.

As a preschooler, I pitched horrendous hissy fits when I pinned the tail on the donkey’s nose.

Worse, I adopted questionable ways of winning. I recall playing jacks at age four with Meddy, a “big kid” of five. When Meddy dropped a jack or misbounced the ball, I loudly denounced her “misses.” My similar miscues, however, were “mistakes.” People who made mistakes deserved another chance. Several, in fact.

Meddy suggested a new game: Throw Rachael Off the Top of the Swing Set. She was good at that game. I wasn’t the best sport.

I graduated to towering rages while playing Monopoly — not my fault. My brother manufactured counterfeit five-hundred-dollar bills under his bunk bed. He spent every penny building vast empires around Park Place and Boardwalk. When his cash flow disappeared, I bought his lousy railroads and utilities with carefully hoarded cash. In turn, I believed he’d ignore my landing on his hotels.

Wrong. He nailed me. I, the prudent, generous developer, always lost.

Since his counterfeiting skills didn’t figure into playing Clue, I fared better. Still, I rejected the candlestick as a weapon. What respectable murderer knocked off people with candlesticks?

After ten losses in an afternoon, I smacked both my brother and my cousin with the playing board. Hey, it made more sense than using a candlestick.

I even extended my winning obsession to church. Boy vs. girl penny contests at Bible school inspired me. I emptied my piggy bank, dug under sofa cushions, and shook down neighbor kids so we angelic girls could beat those devilish boys to send money to missionaries. Somehow, I confused the bring-a-visitor-to-church competitions with TV cowboy westerns. We kids even sang songs urging us to “bring them in.” How was I to know “dead or alive” didn’t apply?

Eventually, I grew up. Fair play, teeth-gritting congratulations to those who bested me, and missionary giving sans mugging all became the norm.

Recently, I played Scrabble with our grown children. As I was an English major, this self-designed scenario should have resulted in another victory notch in my diploma.

But all the vowels had been called to jury duty. During game two, all consonants were outsourced overseas. I proposed new rules: If other players used an X, they lost five tiles. If I drew a Z, though, I received five bonus tiles.

My narrow-minded offspring nixed my innovations. Their proposal: If I drew a Q, all U’s found among my tiles were to be held in custody until 3012 or until peace prevails in the Middle East, whichever comes first.

Maybe we both just made mistakes?

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Are you a good sport?

What Happened to Two Decades?

Has it really been 20 years since Y2K? Hoarding batteries, bottled water and turkey jerky, we feared computers would crash worldwide, technological brains scrambled until capable only of playing nonstop games.  

That didn’t happen, enabling millions of relieved humans to continue that role.

Others choose self-improvement, including making New Year’s resolutions.

Opponents argue that such resolutions last as long as a snowflake chomped by a kindergartner. Do resolutions accomplish even less than computer games?

Several years ago, I formulated a brilliant solution; I make only resolutions I can keep. Below, I’ve listed My Astute Pledges for 2020:

  • I vow to put away my Christmas decorations before Easter.
  • Obeying my mother’s long-ago admonitions, I promise to wear my boots outside … when there’s no snow to ruin them.
  • I will make at least one snow angel this winter. But not before Hubby rents a hydraulic lift to hoist me back on my feet.
  • I vow to amaze my neighborhood with spectacular spins and leaps on my icy way to the mailbox. Also, as I back our car out of the driveway. (I expect all 10s, folks.)
  • I resolve to wear lots of fuzzy, checkered socks. January needs all the excitement it can get.
  • I promise to go camping with my husband. I will, however, ignore all conversations that begin with, “I’ll bet Iceland is beautiful in January.”
  • I will continue to let my kitchen range outwit me. Weeks after the time change, it finally allowed me to change the hour on its digital clock. However, it adjusts the minutes to please itself, just to show who’s boss.
  • I promise to wow servers at our favorite Mexican restaurants with my Spanish. Never mind that I’ve ordered enchiladas with pineapple-lizard salsa and included a short treatise on jaywalking laws. I know they appreciate hearing their native language.
  • I pledge never to need a box for uneaten pizza.
  • Regarding chocolate: I will double my intake this year. Are you aware that, averaging nine pounds per year, Americans are 20th in world consumption? Unthinkable that the Swiss, Austrians and 17 other countries should out-chocolate us. So, I’ll do my patriotic duty.
  • When we play board games with grandchildren, I aspire to always come in last. (Unfortunately, older grandkids now refuse to be my partner.)
  • I promise to deny my adolescent grandchildren will ever, ever drive.
  • Finally, I resolve to LOL and hahaha more in person this year than on Facebook.

You, too? Then regardless of scrambled brains, computer or human, turkey jerky or patriotic chocolate, 2020 is well on its way to being a Happy New Year. Let’s go for it!

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What weird resolution will you make this year?