I come from a long line of gamers. Some of my best memories and Caren's best "remember whens" took place during game play. Every Christmas there was always a game under the tree. I believe those many years of game play created Caren's very competitive spirit. I remember one year when my oldest sister, Chris, and her son Michael came to Phoenix for Christmas. He received a game for Christmas, of course it is a tradition, and Caren was playing it with him and she won continually and he got so frustrated he cried. Chris said, "Come on, Caren, he is just a little kid let him win." And she replied, "I am not going to let him win. He needs to learn to win fair and square. He also needs to man-up and learn how to lose with some sportsmanship." We were and still are very competitive.
My brother Brad had this competitive spirit. I am sure he was the one that taught Caren to be competitive. Brad was confined to a wheelchair since birth, so he couldn't compete physically, but Caren could do it for him. He was the brains and she was the brawn. Together they were unstoppable.
During our summers in Montana, Caren and I play many games. There isn't much else to do. The TV reception is bad. How bad is it? It is so bad you have to point your left finger at a tower across the lake, hold the TV antenna with your right hand, and cross your legs all while wrapped in foil. We can only read so many books and play so many rounds of golf, and we are not allowed to eat, so we play games.
Playing games is what I miss the most about our Texas holiday gatherings. I haven't made it to Texas for a couple of years, so I haven't had the opportunity to participate in the traditional marathon Scrabble play, or 10,000, or Yahtzee. During our game playing one can always count on an argument, lots of laughter, and someone will end up peeing their pants. Caren is the queen, she is the queen, she is the Yahtzee Queen and I am the Scrabble Queen and Chris . . . , well, Chris is just Chris, we let her come along for the trouncing. I love it when Caren gets frustrated and yells at me during Scrabble.
I will put down the word suq and she will say very loudly, "That is not a word."
"Yes, it is."
"What does it mean?"
"I don't have to know what it means. Scrabble is a spelling game not a definition game."
"That is not a word."
"Okay, a suq is a market in middle eastern countries.I read it in some book."
"Not My Girl."
"Well, if it is what you say it is, then it is a foreign word and you can't use foreign words."
"I bet it's in the dictionary. Go ahead and challenge me."
Caren looks at Chris and Chris laughs and says, "I'm not challenging her. I am sure she has the Q, J, and Z sections of the Official Scrabble Dictionary memorized."
"I won't challenge you, but after this we are playing Yahtzee, and you know what is going to happen."
"Yea, Chris is going to lose."
The other day when I was playing Scrabble all by myself on my phone I got a double triple. One hundred seventy-six points. It's just not the same spinning in my chair in my room all alone shouting, "I am the queen, I am the queen, I am the Scrabble queen!"
Okay, I will play, but if Flip spells F-A-T-B-O-Y one more time.
The Flip Side
L-I-Z-A-R-D-L-O-V-E-R, go ahead, challenge me!