Sunday, June 12, 2011


My family plays games. Lots and lots of games. There are games for inside, games for outside, made up games, and lots of games with house rules. But if there is a game that trumps all other games . . . it is ROOK (with Bingham family rules). I remember watching all the aunts and uncles play at family reunions and seriously studying their methods and strategies so that one day I could play with them.

 It is the combination of teamwork, luck, skill, smarts, and fun that makes rook such a good time. Even if you lose the bid, you always have a reasonable chance to set the other team. And even with the hand in the bag -- there is still a chance that you might lose it all.

There is nothing like the unexpected last trick-- when you play your last card and are slightly unsure if it is good, you don't know if your opponent or your partner will be able to cover you and you don't know who has what counters left. It is all quiet and then . . . the groans of defeat and the squeals of surprise victory.

Games are a lot like life. You can play and play and think you have an idea how the score will turn out, but just like rook, that last hand can really come in and trip you up. My mom's battle with cancer has played out like a rook game. She took the bid, and called Red trump. She started out with the 14 and has been playing out her trump. It turned out that the doctors and the chemo didn't have any trump in their hands and so we have watched the battle between my mom and cancer. We are counting out the trump and are down to the last hand, and my mom has played her last card -- it is a 14 yellow -- a high card for sure but it is not trump and we have all counted and we know that there is one more trump out there. I sure wish that a red 5 couldn't beat a 14 yellow. But that is just not how the game is played.

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