Thursday, March 27, 2008

Solitary Enjoyment by Angie Ledbetter

I had a rare opportunity this afternoon while visiting my parents. I didn't have anything I had to do, no place to be, no duty calling. It wasn't meal time and my cell phone was quiet. I suddenly had truly free time and could do anything I chose. This may sound strange to a lot of people who get "down time" often or can fill their days with leisure and activities of their choice. But for me, it was a strange occurrence.

I suddenly had an urge to do something I used to do when I was young (before the advent of computers) or during summers and holidays in my college days -- play solitaire. I opened the side table in my folks' living room and got out a crisp deck of Hoyle playing cards. Sitting on the floor, I laid out the classic 7 piles for the game and played a hand or two. I actually even won a couple! It was a simple and enjoyable pastime and sent me back in time.

Nostalgia wafted from the cards as I shuffled them hand over hand and then did the slightly more complicated bridge shuffle. Even the smell of the cards sent me to childhood. Back in the days when we and the dinosaurs roamed, kids weren't over scheduled with activities, sports, and such every moment they weren't in school. We had to invent ways to entertain ourselves; much of it outside running around with other neighborhood kids or making up imaginary games to play. We challenged ourselves and each other over games of pickup sticks, jacks, marbles, and cards.

Cards were a permanent fixture in our home, and we all knew a ton of card games by heart. We spent hours dealing out hands or playing one of many solitaire versions. In fact, the DiBenedetto household spent so much time with decks of cards that my twin sister and I got in quite a bit of trouble on our first day of kindergarten. Our teacher Miss Territo called our parents and said, "The twins need help. When the class counts numbers out loud, your girls say, '...nine, ten, jack, queen, king!'"

So many fond memories tied to those 52 little paper rectangles.


Barbara Quinn said...

Funny how when we get some down time we revert to simple things. I'm glad you got to spend a little time playing!

Angie Ledbetter said...

It was fun and felt strange to be playing with real cards vs. the computerized games. Good thing my hands have good muscle memory. *smile*

Nannette Croce said...

Yes, I play solitaire every night before bed, but on my iPod. Sort of a combination of two worlds.

Kathryn Magendie said...

I still play solitaire - with cards...I have played with the computer, but it's not the same...the cards are what I need, the feel of them...a new deck has to be softened...old decks are better.

I still remember the first time my older brother played "52 pickup..." haw! I fell for it only once!

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