Friday, January 29, 2016


I remember sitting at a large, round table with my family (my mom, dad, brother, sister and I), playing hearts.  At first, my siblings and I were too small to hold all of the cards in our hands, and we used cardholders -- colorful round plastic disks held together with a spring.  Mom or dad would shuffle the cards, riffling them that looked really fancy to us.  Us kids could arrange our cards out on the table, and then stick the cards into the holder in the order we wanted to view the cards.  There were polite rules we learned never to break, like never pick up your cards off the table before the dealer was finished dealing.  Never tell anyone about the cards you passed in the beginning of the game.  Don't pass the queen of spades unless you have no other spades in your hand.

At night, there was a set of glass doors behind one side of the table.  The doors acted as a mirror and so whoever sat in the chair with their back to the window had their hand reflected back to the other players (like a mirror).  We all learned to turn our chair just so, so that the reflection wouldn't mirror back to others.

My dad was really good at counting cards and knowing when to shoot the moon.  If he was shooting the moon, he would fold his cards in front of him in a certain order and just play from the top of the deck each round, winning the trick each time.  Mom would sometimes put on music -- one of her favorites was "the house of the rising sun" by the Animals.  I remember her periodically getting up and changing the music selections as the night wore on.

As we grew older, we graduated from the card holders, and we learned to shuffle and riffle the cards just like mom and dad.  One time I shot the moon just like my dad, with my cards in front of me, flipping over each round without me looking at the cards.  We also graduated to selecting music and playing DJ for the night, though dad wasn't always happy with our music choices.  I loved the times we sat around the table, playing and talking and sometimes trying to double guess the cards that others held in their hands.  There was a familiarity to the rules -- we didn't have to learn anything new -- and yet each game was slightly different.  Different card hands, different sized hands and arms as we grew older, different conversations, different winners.  And yet.  It was always the same.

Corinne McKamey

1 comment:

  1. I learned how to play the card game "Pitch"from all my Italian uncles. The setting of your game left a vivid picture in my head- similar to the setting at my house :) I also learned to shuffle and by doing so, I thought I was so cool.
    Oh, I love reminicing all the great times :)