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