Saturday, December 27, 2014

games for kids from one to ninety-two

It's not that I love puzzles, but putting about ten pieces of a 1000-piece puzzle at Christmas--yelling BINGO each time one fits--is not something I want to go without. It is one of those traditions that I'm glad has remained in the family, despite most of us being (outwardly) less than enthusiastic about pulling out the card table and opening the puzzle box every year. My dad is the puzzle-meister, and I don't know if it's the BINGO that he likes the most or just making sure we have a low-stress excuse to sit together for a few minutes at Christmas, but he hasn't given up yet. And aren't we glad?

I think the puzzles started in American Fork; I was probably about 10. We even pasted "my" puzzle onto cardboard one year, framed it and hung it in my room for the next 8 years. (It was a sea turtle scene.) I'm pretty sure my dad intended each kid to get one pasted and framed, but the messy glue and the...moderate enthusiasm for puzzles assisted that part of the tradition to end. And that's ok. The puzzles have persevered and will continue to. Even Andy participated this year, even though he was home in Logan and the padres have moved to Las Cruces, by sending this scene of Provo, Utah. I think this gift sort of emphasizes the family support of the puzzles; we'd all like to be involved, and if it's from a distance, even better.
A looser tradition surrounds Tripoley in the Peterson clan. It's not technically a holiday tradition, but it is a game that it is tradition to play as a family once or twice (or thrice) a year--passed down through the generations. My first time playing was Thanksgiving 2008 with Nate's Peterson Grandpa. We can't play it every Sunday like Pictionary or Catch Phrase because it would lose its magic. It is a production of sorts; sorting and counting the chips, getting out the board, refreshing our knowledge of the hierarchy of poker hands, getting out the board. We have to play long enough to make it all worthwhile, and also there's the pretend gambling. These once- or twice-yearly games often occur near the holidays because we gather around the table after we eat, and playing Tripoley prevents us from staring dumbly at the ceiling or having to rely on intelligent conversation.
Some people call it Michigan Rummy, which I think is the name Grammy's mother (Grandma Christa) used for it. Grandma Christa was an earnest Tripoley player. She hand-painted a big wooden board (as opposed to the felt or plastic boards we usually use) with a big pretty cat in the "kitty" space. That is Nate's Clark/Christensen side, and his Peterson side also had a big player too, in Grandma Hazel. If you know me, you know those great-grandmotherly traditions are hard to resist so I bring up the game at every few family gatherings to make sure we all carry it on.

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