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During our last year of college, we gathered each Sunday night with some really good friends to watch X-Files and play cards.  There were six of us – three couples.  We’d all met in the choir in college.  (All three couples are still happily married, twelve years later, with seven kids among us.  The mind boggles.)

One couple committed the forgivable sin of moving halfway across the country after graduation.  (And are still greatly missed.)  The four of us left behind in Atlanta continued to meet on Sunday nights, although the X-Files portion of the evenings faded away.  Our main reason for gathering?  Laughter and cards.

Mostly we played Spades and Oh Hell (aka, ‘I Hope You Get F*$#ed’).  For Spades, we partnered by gender: girls vs. boys.  We had some beer and some Fuzzy Navels and some Screwdrivers.  But mostly we played cards and laughed until we couldn’t speak.  There was a lot of sarcasm, and a lot of bird-flipping.  And lots of cussing.  Heather and I tend to swear quite a bit when we play cards.  We were half frightened that our first-born children would come out of their respective wombs cussing and bidding.

So, we had kids, within a few months of each other.  Poor Heather had nine months of nausea, and our weekly Spades nights became monthly or so.  Nicky was born so prematurely.  And we were all so tired.  And the forty-five minute drive we used to take to see each other each Sunday suddenly became much more daunting.  We got together a couple of times a year to play cards.  Three years later, we each had second sons.  Again, tired, but now even more so…and the “meaning to” get-togethers rarely materialized as time flew by at the speed of light.  When we did get together, we spoke in reverent tones of the “someday” when our four boys could all play together and keep each other entertained, and we could enjoy some unadulterated adult time.  We all missed just being friends.

The kids are now old enough for this, and they beg to see each other often.  Unfortunately, we still see each other rarely.  Different school systems, different activities…and we’re still a thirty-minute drive apart.  Heather and I had a Mommy Date (aka, sitting in the chairs in the magazine section at Barnes & Noble chatting for as long as we want, coffees in hand, then heading out to lunch before getting home to meet the school buses) on Friday.  We manage Mommy Dates three or four times during the school year.  And we had a thought at this particular one – why don’t we get together for dinner Sunday night?  The kids would be thrilled, and we might just get some cards and adult conversation in.

So we did.  They came over late this afternoon, and the boys went out back in the beautiful, crisp fall weather to play.  We played Oh Hell, with frequent breaks for child disagreement mediation, and Jason kicked our collective rears.  We popped the frozen pizzas in the oven, the boys came inside, and we curbed our language.  We went through a lot of Coca-Cola.  Heather and I kicked the guys’ rears in Spades.

Man I miss that.

My boys

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