An old people's game?
I think not, although apparently that's the word on the street.
However, I actually did learn to play Pinochle from my two grandmothers. They taught me the game when I was about nine or ten years old so I could be their fourth and we could play partners. I loved it. I can vividly picture one hand in particular. I remember us all sitting around the table in the back yard of their neighbors in Narberth Park. We were drinking lemonade and my Nana and I were partners. We each had a run in the same suit. It was a beautiful thing. I swear I can almost feel that adrenalin rush that surged through me when we both laid them down to show our meld. It was possibly the most graceful hand of cards ever played by a nine year old all hopped on the sugar from the peanut M&M's my Dotsie let me eat at breakfast and the natural high that comes from something that only really the stars can align.
Someone asked me today what one of my favorite childhood memories was. It took me about ten seconds as vacations and holidays and trips to French Creek flew through my mind to pick an answer. Each one memorable but when I started to write my answer it was sitting around the table playing cards that came out of my finger tips.
I played Pinochle with my grandmothers and Hearts with my family. There was a stint there that my parents taught us Bridge but Pinochle was always my favorite. My dad taught me card tricks and I spent hours and hours playing solitare by myself and war with my brothers and crazy eights with my friends. I know that learning cards at such a young age and having to work in my mind how those tricks were going to be played helped me later in life to figure numbers very quickly. I have an almost rain man (slight exaggeration) qualitie to figuring out equations in my head. I know it was those cards. Or maybe my third grade teacher, Mr. Reagan, he pounded those multiplication table in our heads. Either or.
It was not only a educational game but such a social one too. In college I skipped a couple classes here and there to stay in the Union of snowy days and play Pinochle with the Beta brothers. They were stoners but they could play some serious cards.
Right now as I finally sit down after a long day and take time to think about how important the little things are it makes realize so many things. When asked that question today, I didn't say my happiest memory was when I got a new tv for Christmas or when my I got my hot pink Gloria Vanderbilt jeans in sixth grade that I loved like I gave birth to them myself or even when I spent an entire summer on vacation with friends. Those things were the shizzle but it was the time spent and the cards played that stick out in my mind most vividly.
Summer's almost here. My kids are 10 and 11, there's going to be some Pinochle going on. Come play with us if you want, but be warned, I don't take any prisoners. I like to win. Right Jen?